Oliver was an old soul - he was also fourteen. You know those dogs that when you look into their eyes and they look into yours, you just know. They have this wisdom of all these things they want to tell you ... and you get to be there with these old souls and walk with them for a while ... until it is time for them to continue their journey ... knowing they've changed you in ways you can't quite express, but know, without a doubt that you're changed.
Oliver was one such character. I think I fell in love with him the first time I met him and his brother Stanley (Stanley is young and boisterous and full of puppy kisses ... I adore Stanley ... it's hard not to laugh at his bounciness). I think Oliver kind of tolerated Stanley in the way a big brother does with just such a puppy.
I get to walk Oliver and Stanley intermittently based on their parent's schedule. I had the gift of seeing them both last week, starting Monday - they were both so happy to see me and I them. It was like a love reunion as I fed Oliver his treats while he lay on the couch (Stanley was right in there too).
On Saturday, Oliver's dad let me know that Oliver had died. Oliver was such a great dog ... I am going to miss him so much ... and am grateful I got to spend his last week with him ... feeding him treats, on the couch, as I always do.
I think this is the hardest part of being a dog walker ... saying goodbye.
Imagine ... I am driving down the road and I glance to my left ... I see a car with the window rolled down in the rain. I see a beautiful golden retriever with their head in the wind, ears flopping behind, loving every moment, as their person drives the car.
This was the pure joy I saw this morning, in the car beside me, as I was driving to my first dog customer on what was an otherwise very rainy and very cold Vancouver day.
I drive all around East Vancouver to my customer's homes, each day. And each day, I get to see some amazing sites and some amazing people and some amazing animals and their people. Today made me smile ... that big smile when you know, without a doubt, for that puppy, there is nothing more important than that moment ... of having their head out the window ... not caring about the rain drops and the grey skies all around, that all that is important is the joy that comes from that feeling ... and I got to be a part of this little one's joy, for just a moment.
[BTW ... I know all the reasons why this is actually not such a good idea for our furry friends for so many reasons - I still couldn't help but feel the joy this little one was experiencing riding in their person's car :) ]
Happy first week of the new year ... wishing everyone a wonderful year ahead of "pure joy" moments like these.
"No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as much as the dog does."