The day was cold, overcast and rainy — the perfect kind of day for sad news. I knew that the text message was inevitable but it still took me by surprise. Fritz was gone. I’m not going to lie, the tears came.
I first met Fritz a little less than two years ago. He lived at the end of the road next door to my parents and I would see him out in the yard when I took our dog Boone for a walk. He would sit out in his yard and bark whenever he saw someone coming his way, it didn’t matter if they were walking, jogging or driving.
The first time I met him, I was a little intimidated. Fritz was a very large, fierce-looking German Shepherd. His human assured me I had nothing to fear and I soon realized what a gentle giant he was.
Fritz sat in the yard and barked to greet friends coming his way. His legs didn’t work as well as they used to so he often struggled to stand and walk. But, somehow, he always managed to come and greet Boone and I when we walked his way. Though his body wouldn’t always cooperate, he was determined and, according to his human, a little stubborn.
Boone and Fritz became good friends (as far as I can tell). Fritz was patient and tolerant of the rambunctious puppy and Boone learned that he needed to be gentle with his friend. When Boone went too far, he got a stern, well-deserved “ruff”! They mainly enjoyed laying in the grass together, enjoying the sunshine and watching for visitors.
I’m so glad I got to see my canine friend one last time. He was at the end of my parents’ driveway. I told him the streaks of gray in his dark coat looked like the frost that was on the ground that cold morning. I scratched him under the chin, looked into his dark eyes and whispered “I love you Fritz”.
I don’t know what happens to our beloved pets when they die. I don’t know if there really is a rainbow bridge or a special place in heaven for them. I don’t know if we will see them again. What I do know is that the God of the universe who spoke the earth, humans and animals into existence is powerful enough and compassionate enough to take care of them and comfort us when we have to say goodbye.
Godspeed noble Fritz. You will be missed. You were such a good dog, well-loved by your humans, your neighbors and especially by a little dood named Boone.