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  • Writer's pictureDan FitzPatrick

And Then There Were Two


Warning: Some sadness ahead.

 

Logan is gone, and Bear and I are left to carry on without him.

 

Logan warned me that this day would come, and now that it has, I am beginning to realize that he had been preparing me for this moment for some time.  But that has not made it any easier.

 

Bear is almost a full year old now, full of energy and bursting with unbridled curiosity.  I have come to see the world and life with our human family afresh through the eyes of that rambunctious little black and white canine companion.  Bear is confused, now, over Logan’s absence, and concerned about the obvious impact that it is having on me and on our humans.  He is looking to me for guidance, as I had done with Logan for so very many years.  In my heart, I worry that I am not ready.

 

Then Logan’s words of many months ago return to me:

 

“Cadbury, you are about to embark on what I hope will be a very long, and I know will be a very rewarding, journey as the older dog, friend and mentor to Bear.  This is a role that will seem strange to you at first, but I am confident that you will ultimately embrace it and find it to be one of the most satisfying roles you will ever play.”

 

“But I am not ready,” I had protested at the time, “You have been the one to give me wise advice and counsel. I am still in the learning phase; I do not see how I can teach Bear even a fraction of what you have taught me over the years.”

 

“None of us is ever really prepared for life,” said Logan (I recall him smiling at the time). “It comes as it wills, when it wills. We have no choice but to greet it with whatever skills and talents we possess. We are called upon to do our best with what we have, at the moment and in the moment. If we simply do that, all will be as it is meant to be.”

“The time has come, your time has come, to be for Bear what I hope I have been for you. Embrace the challenge. I promise you, whatever effort you put into it will be rewarded many times over.”

 

Logan had then continued, “When I came into this family myself as a puppy, my older dog, Charlie, had already lost his older dog, Buddy. And I had lost Charlie before you arrived. Charlie spoke to me of the emptiness he experienced when he was alone, and of how my arrival (and yes, I was apparently just as annoying as Bear) gave him a new sense of meaning and purpose. I experienced that sense of emptiness and loss when Charlie died, and later found true joy in helping you along your journey of growth and discovery.“

 

“The gift I have been given is the chance to meet and get to know Bear, and to know that your transition from younger dog to older dog will be easier, as you will be spared the pain of loneliness, even for the very shortest of time.  That warms my heart and gives me comfort.”

 

At that moment, my reverie was interrupted by a nudge from that very same Bear of whom Logan had been speaking.

 

“Cadbury,” said Bear, who has now learned to speak and frankly never seems to stop talking, “what are you thinking about?  You look like your mind is very far away from here.”

 

I looked down (not that far down, as Bear has grown to be almost as tall as I am) into that ebony black face of his with those big, bright brown eyes looking quizzically and expectantly into mine, and I knew instantly that the time had come, ready or not, to take up the mantle of elder dog, for better or for worse.

 

“I was thinking of Logan,” I said, “and how pleased he was that you had come into our family.  We both miss him terribly, and that is actually a good thing, because it speaks to the positive impact he had on our lives.  He wouldn’t want us to forget him – we couldn’t anyway – but he would want us to focus on the here and now, to take care of each other, and especially our humans, who as you can see are also deeply feeling his loss.”

 

“Would now be a good time to take some toys and go out to the yard and run around?” asked Bear.

 

“Yes,” I said with a short laugh, “but since I am so much older than you, I get a head start.”


Logan FitzPatrick

2009-2024


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