I have been composing and re-composing this post in my head for the past 24 hours. Every time I get a few sentences in I start to tear up.
The Weltons and the Burls lost a member of our family this week.
Here is the thing. If you know me, really know me, you know that I am not a pet person. But Woodson, he wasn’t a pet. He was my mom and dad’s “grand-dog”, he got presents to open at Christmas, he had the biggest personality (those seriously expressive eyebrows), and one year when he got scared and ran away during our fire-work show, it felt like we lost a child. When he was found the relief and joy was palpable. Because he wasn’t a “pet” he was Josh and Darla’s best friend, he was the whole family’s friend.
When I was 20 I got my first taste of traveling abroad, and after that I try to leave the continent at least once a year, and I have succeeded! Well considering that I have lived abroad since age 24 it’s been relatively easy. Josh and Darla’s home is a great location as they live 30 minutes away from a major airport. I visit them for a day or two in the amazing Detroit area (and I say that because I actually do like that city) and they graciously take turns waking up early in the morning and driving me to the airport. Every year.
And every year I always stay in their guest bedroom, knowing that every night I am there Woodson will come push his nose past the door in the middle of the night and jump up into the tiny single-sized bed with me. Darla would try to shoo him away, but I always said, “It’s okay, he can stay!” And I actually meant it (which shocked me sometimes). Every year never fail, Woodson found his way into my room, and up on that bed (even after Darla made him get down, I would wake up and he was back up on that bed). We had our annual cuddles, and though I would leave him months or a year at a time, he never forgot our routine. He never forgot me.
And when he got sick from canine degenerative myelopathy and couldn’t get up the stairs easily or jump on that high bed, we had our cuddles in the living room, on the couch.
I am going to miss that guest bed room without him, I am going to miss that couch without him. I already miss Woodson terribly. He was a great friend. Rest in peace Woodson, the family misses you.
Our last selfie. I took more pictures of Woodson this Christmas, but they are currently on my external hard drive that is broken. Praying that I can get all of my data off of it. So I borrowed some amazing pictures from others to share:
My nephew with Woodson, photo by Amie Burl
Photo by Matt Trombley