It’s been almost three weeks, and my heart still hurts. I will be caught at odd moments with a lump in my throat, my eyes hot and prickly. Coming across his tags on the collar that I washed. Coming across the handful of fur we saved from his brush, carefully placed in a ziploc baggie for who knows what reason except maybe letting go of that just isn’t possible on top of the giant loss of him. Seeing the myriad of pictures that we took of our big, beautiful boy. We washed the giant green bowl stand we always used for him, thinking a visitor might use it sometime. And then at the end of the day, we couldn’t bear it and took it out to the recycling center. 

I wanted to save the things we wrote:

“He is a Great Pyrenees Mountain Dog. He is beautiful. He is white and sleek, broad of shoulder but slim of hip. He had a rough start, skinny and malnourished. He was all legs and bony shoulders, fluffy and awkward. Soft fur that spiked in the rain. Big eyes. Gentle nature. Small, withdrawn. Watching. This big, black nose that he would stick in inappropriate places nonchalantly.

Gentle, playful, such a pleasant boy. He grew, in stature, in importance, in our hearts. He lay on the couch, his muzzle resting on the back as he gazed out the bay window, scanning for intruders into his domain. It’s all his, as far as he can see. Ever vigilant. My heart is breaking.

He tests my patience. He balks at coming back inside sometimes, teasing me by walking up to the door, then bounding away playfully. Usually at 2 am. Effing dog. He drags his back feet when he walks, like a disaffected teenager. He sheds. And sheds. And sheds some more. He sheds more than other dogs weigh. His fur gets everywhere. Clothes, towels, my car, hairbursh, toothbrush, my lunchbag.

He likes to lay in the middle of the narrowest paths through the house, or right in front of the bedroom door. He guards us well.

He never fetched. He had more important things to do, like keep us safe.When he walks up beside you and you pet him, he leans against you in a heavy, undeniable way. Reassuring and solid. I will miss him.

He barks at moonshadows, the possibilities of squirrels and the occasional Jehovahs witness. He protects us from all manner of intrusion. He taught me to howl. When the firetrucks wail their way through town, all the dogs, residents and visitors, follow him in giving voice to the chase, howls reaching deep within, turning my frustration at the noise to laughter at the cacophony and, finally, to a howl of my own; a sweet note of a spirit freeing itself.

He is too young to die. He is too dear to lose. His name is Faolan. And, oh, I will miss him.” ~ Patrick

“We lost our beautiful, gentle Faolan this morning. Leaves fell and we took a walk in the yard. He sniffed everything, making sure the perimeters were safe. I gave him peanut butter cookies to sweeten the chicken tenders I had sauteed for him earlier. We listened to Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, and the breeze ruffled his fur. When it was time to go, he lay on Katie’s comforter and we stroked him gently. He fell asleep to Someone to Watch Over Me, which came on randomly on my Pandora. It seemed like such a perfect song for our beloved protector. And afterward, getting into our car, a little tuft of white fur swirled up into the breeze as if his soul was flying free. I imagined Faolan on one of his runs through the neighborhood, when he would lead me a merry chase, his mouth stretched in a doggy grin. Sleep gently, my beloved Gaelic wolf. There is a Pyrenees sized hole in my heart. We’ll see you in the Summerlands.” ~ Lorna

“Tell him how much I love him, how he makes me smile and laugh, how he dries the tears expertly. Tell him he is beautiful, with a soul unforgettable. Tell him how much he means to me, all that he can rest and play and wait for us. Tell him he doesn’t have to protect us anymore; that’s our job now.” ~ Sarah

“Rest easy, Faolan.Thank you for everything.I love you.12/25/07 – 10/3/14” ~ Katie

Faolan and Katie