It's a heavy, soul dragging loss. Bear was my brother. He cared for my parents and my children. He would lay his great big brown head on my lap and leave it there. I can feel his warmth and his comfort still.
He never spoke a word to me, except to say "home" or "hunger" in his deep, chocolate lab baritone.
I think my father must have been calling him. He went outside last night and walked all the way to the dairy farm and never walked back. There was a man in a car who didn't see him in time.
It's no one's fault. Accidents happen.
And I am grateful for his life because we were blessed with a family dog that was more than just any family dog. After I was attacked by our neighbor's dog, Bear was the only canine I could trust. He helped us prepare room in our hearts and our home for Ozzie.
He helped us launch Knees and Paws by being the canine actor in our first commercial.
Bear earned a special certification as a therapy dog and visited people in hospitals and nursing homes.
He comforted us and grieved with us during Dad's cancer and death.
Bear was there when Elliot got on the bus for his first day of First Grade.
He was my mother's closest companion and now her house will have miles of space that can never be filled.