A Christmas without Sherlock
This Christmas marked the first Christmas without Sherlock. My beloved little beagle left us on July 10, 2014.
It took me a very long time to find the words to pay tribute to the beautiful story of his love and his life. What do you say when a piece of your heart slips away from you? It is particularly hard because Sherlock was the last of our original three: Taco the Golden, Mozart the Cat & Sherlock the Beagle. Those three were our first little family and quite the trio. Taco & Sherlock were the very best of friends and it brings me much comfort to know that the same day my heart was breaking, Taco was jumping for joy because he finally has his buddy back. They are no doubt having quite a blast in heaven, which I imagine to look a lot like Grandma Hunt’s farm.
This Christmas, I gave Andrew a book I made about Sherlock, and at the nudging of my dad, I am sharing it here for those of you who knew Sherlock or knew how very much he meant to me.
I spent so many hours rounding up every photo I could find of Sherlock and that process was both wonderful and terrible. Poring over photos brought back floods of memories and the inevitable tears at the thought that there will be no new memories made. I worked in secret and poor Andrew came home on more than one occasion to find me clinging to one of our dogs, tears rolling down my cheeks. It took a lot to convince him I was fine and not having some kind of spontaneous breakdown.
As hard as the process was to sort through photos of Sherlock and write down the words of his life, it was a blessing to remember him in detail. To remember his silliness and playfulness and giving nature. Dogs are such special creatures. Their arrival brings such joy and their departure such pain. This is the unavoidable truth of dogs – their bright light of love shines only for a brief while and when it goes out, we will hurt and we will cry and we will feel as though the world can never be the same.
But we are the better for it. Always, always, always … we are the better for it.
Here is the link to Sherlock’s story: Sherlock the Sheriff
In case you have difficulty opening that, here it is :
Sherlock the Sheriff:
The True Story of the Greatest Sheriff Who Ever Lived
In a time not that long ago and a place not that far away, a sheriff was born.
And not just any sheriff mind you. The world’s greatest sheriff … who just happened to have four paws.
This sheriff was named Sherlock and he was every bit the brilliant investigator his namesake implied. He could always find the biggest stick, sniff out the tiniest crumb and know the vacuum was coming long before you did.
Sherlock was a smart little Sheriff. He knew the path to greatness was paved with learning. And learn he did.
He learned all he could from his chief deputy, Taco. Important things, like how delicious waffles and pancakes are, how to ride in a car like a gentleman and how to look noble.
He even learned from the cat. Mozart taught him the fine art of napping (and that cats will frame you for stuff if you’re not careful.)
He learned from his parents just how good it felt to snuggle and that even when he screwed up, they still loved him.
Sherlock learned and learned and learned. He learned so much, in fact, that he began to teach.
He taught new brothers and sisters how to play …
… and where the best spots for napping were.
When foster dogs visited, he taught them it was okay to trust his parents and that, yes, of course they could sleep on the couch.
When his best buddy and deputy Taco went to Heaven, Sherlock taught his parents that dog love always ALWAYS lives on and even on our darkest days, we still have tennis balls.
You see, Sherlock’s greatest love in life was a tennis ball. The dirtier and rattier the better. He took great pride in getting his tennis ball to a state worthy of being called ‘Rotten Ball.’
For Sherlock, that little ball held joy and fun and possibility. Even when that ball was at rest, Sherlock knew that at any moment, someone might pick it up and send it flying high into the air so he could run, run, run.
Sherlock lived every moment to the fullest, whether he was running his fastest or sleeping his deepest.
He taught those around him important lessons:
1. There is ALWAYS something to wag your tail about.
2. When someone you love is hurting, comfort them.
3. Live with your whole heart – don’t hold back. You never know when a tennis ball will bounce its last bounce.
As Sherlock grew older, he met many villains. Villains that might have defeated him. But Sherlock was a sheriff after all and he knew how to be brave and strong.
Evil knee operations didn’t keep him down. A nefarious heart murmur couldn’t stop him. Even a dirty rotten slipped disk that paralyzed his back legs couldn’t hold Sherlock back.
As Sherlock overcame each obstacle with his special brand of joyful determination, his spirit grew.
In fact, his beautiful spirit grew and grew and grew, until one day it was larger than the world could hold. God whistled to Sherlock to come home.
As Sherlock trotted off to heaven, he paused and looked back over his incredible life …
… at the adventures and love and laughs and peanut butter kongs and squeaky toys and neighborhood walks and snuggles in bed and visits to Grandma Hunt’s farm.
He looked at all this and saw that it was indeed a very good life. He wagged good-bye without sadness for he knew that he will see his family again someday. And in the meantime, he had a lot of catching up to do with his chief deputy, Taco.
Thank you, Sherlock, for loving so deeply and without bound. We carry your spirit with us always. Have fun with Taco until we see you again.