My Angus

by Frank Nelson
(Stephenson, VA)

When I brought Angus home he was ten weeks old and weighed 55 lbs. As a teacher, I was always getting calls from parents asking me if I wanted a kitten, dog, or some type of insect, snake, hamster, rat, or gerbil. Angus was one of those phone calls.

A mother of a student had what she called an "Oops" litter of five Chessie-Walker Hounds (Chesapeake Bay Retriever and Walker Coon Hound.) When I went to their house, I was greeted by four pups, each one trying to outdo the other trying to get my attention. Yet over in the corner, all alone and looking so forlorn was this one young pup that just stole my heart. My student's mother, seeing my reaction, told me that they would be better if they were to be taken in pairs. I almost took her up on the offer, but decided on this one pup that had stolen my heart.

When I reached the house, my wife looked at the dog and said, "I hope he is grown." We named him Angus because he looked like a small bull, but with the personality of a happy child.

Angus and I grew old together. We became each others best friend, and at times as friends often do, had our disagreements. Fully grown at 110 lbs, Angus was a presence, a protector of the family, yet a friend to whomever came to visit.

As time passed and he started to become a little less agile, a little less spry, he would just sit next to me and look at me with eyes that seemed to say "What is happening?" In the end, when he could no longer walk without a limp, or without pain, I would lay with him on the floor, cradle his head in my arm and go to sleep.

When it was time to put him to sleep, I placed him in the truck next to me and he put his head in my lap, looking at me all the while as we rode to the vets. I stayed with him until he passed and then sat with him for another half hour. The vet, who had seen him grow and seen him through the years stayed away until I was ready to leave.

I truly hope there is "A Rainbow Bridge" because I so miss my friend.

~ ~ ~

Dear Frank,

You made me cry. Some days I think the words to the Rainbow Bridge poem seem somewhat childish and sentimental but I do truly believe. After all, we are not the only beings with souls and certainly not the only beings capable of love. I'm so happy you had that bond with Angus. Bless you both.

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