Eleven years ago, give or take a month, I graduated from high school, my brother was seven, and my parents adopted a two year old dog, who came with the name Josie. She became my “roommate” for the year after graduation that I spent at home, finishing my Associate’s degree at Columbus State. Once she got the point that I didn’t want her sleeping on my head, she settled down to curling up by my side at night. Eventually, I moved out of my parents’ house, but could always expect an enthusiastic greeting at each homecoming. Three weeks ago, Josie came to visit me for a week to keep me company for the few days that Jason would be gone on a business trip. During that time, I was able to get a few photos of her enjoying the freedom of our fenced-in back yard (something that my parents don’t have), begging for treats, and being a dog-shaped rug (one of her favorite pursuits). I’m glad that I did, since that was the last time I got to spend time with her.
On Saturday, my father shared the unexpected news that Josie had not been doing well, and they were taking her to the vet. A few hours later, he called again to inform me that Josie had been worse off than they’d known and that the most humane option had been to let the vet put her down. I’m not sure if that fact has fully sunk in yet for me, since I’m not home. It might become more real in a couple weeks, when we visit for my brother’s own high school graduation, and discover that we have to clean up our own dropped crumbs rather than calling for Josie. Regardless, I’m thankful for the years of knowing Josie, in all her thoroughly laid-back yet strong willed and friendly ways.