Regardless of the not-so-positive service dog stories I’ve heard about projectile vomiting at a restaurant or refusing to step onto the elevator on the ninth floor, I was not prepared for the number of times the topic of death arises.
Some of those times, I hear the stories of Tommy’s older relatives who pass on, leaving a hole in their partners’ hearts as well as in their ability to move through daily activities. Coming to depend on this furry, four-legged cane carries the cost of heartbreak, for we tend to outlive these gentle giants.
Our time here is longer, and because these special companions provide so many positives in that span, we go through it all again, and sometimes again. A person may have several dogs in his or her life. I’m young (well, sort of). I may well experience several service dogs in my life.
While that is a sobering subject, one that I may never be prepared for, there’s another way to look at the partnership. I have my cousin (whose name is, yes, Tom) to thank for this perspective:
“Even though I have not had the pleasure of meeting Sir Thomas in person, he has grabbed a piece of me just from what I know about his life’s work and the photos I have seen. To have you as his life’s companion seems from this vantage point a blessing all around.”
That little shift of view, that I’m the one human, the one dedicated partner, the one life’s companion that Tommy will have is even more sobering. I need to go give him a hug now. And maybe a bellyrub. And an extra cookie.