I first met Hooke when he was just a few weeks old. He was born in Maine and was the largest of 7 puppies. I took him home with me when he was about 5 1/2 weeks old. He was so tiny he fit in the palm of my hand. At first, he was afraid of everything - from the refrigerator hum to any loud noise. He would stay right by my side, but as he got older he became much more adventuresome. Even though he was a small dog, only about 17 pounds at full weight, he commanded fear in many. His growl was as genuine as his kisses. Hooke was my constant companion throughout his life and brought me as much joy and heartache as any mother could get from her child. I was as proud as I could be when he buried his first bone and I felt anguish whenever he was sick. He was not the family pet - he was mine. His love was constant and unconditional. His consistent presence brought meaning, purpose and comfort to my life, especially during times of failed relationships, family problems and job changes.
We moved many times over the years and Hooke was able to adapt and even flourish in his new surroundings. He was not a dog that barked very often, mostly he woofed and each time his little body shook. He was always a bit grumpy, wasn’t fond of children, (he referred to them as "rambunctious little creatures.") and he was smart. Being mostly Poodle, with some Cocker Spaniel added (for cuteness) he knew many tricks. When he was young he would leap right up into my arms and he was able to walk on his back legs for long amounts of time, especially if a tasty treat was being dangled above his head. When he was in trouble and banished to another room, he would tiptoe to where I was to beg forgiveness, which I always gave to him. In his later years when he had slowed down considerably, he would love to lie against me enjoying my touch as much as I enjoyed his. His health declined pretty steadily over the past year and it was hard to see him having trouble doing the things he had done so effortlessly earlier in his life.
Making the decision to end his suffering and therefore end his life was one of the hardest decisions I have made, but I have found peace knowing that his discomfort is over and he is no longer suffering. On his last day while watching the trees shed their leaves and the sun getting low in the sky, I was able to hold him as he left me. I will always be grateful that he chose to spend his short but meaningful life with me.
In the ‘wise beyond her years way’, my 5 year old niece Chelsea said to me the night that Hooke died "He’s still with you Auntie, he’s invisible, so you can’t see him but he’s still there with you." He is and always will be. If I just close my eyes, I will feel his kiss on my cheek licking away my tears.
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