I have been silent lately because my world is not quite the same as it was before.
There is a hole in my heart and in our family. And I am grieving.
The day that I had been dreading for 14 years finally came. Humor me, I need to do this. (Or skip this post, up to you.)
The day that I met this boy, I fell in love:
Merlin and me, June 24, 2000. Instantaneous love.
I actually knew I loved him before I met him – I had dreamed a few months earlier that we had a dog named Merlin. I woke up and told D that when we got our puppy, he would be Merlin. The day we picked him up at Chesagrove Kennels in Lithia, Florida, there were four boys to choose from. I stood in the little pen and asked them “Who wants to be a Merlin?” and this little brown fur ball – already clearly the smartest of the bunch – came bounding over. We were his too. He chose us.
We drove to spend the night at a beach house in Tampa with D’s brother and his first introduction to the ocean. Ran right in, tumbled in the surf, looked shell-shocked for a minute, then went back for more. Water dog from the start.
We called him Merlin Magoo, for some reason, and that became his AKC name – Chesagrove’s Merlin Magoo. We also called him Magoo Bear (because he looked like a bear cub when he was little), the Great Googly-Magoogly, Merman, Merdog, Mister Magoo, Mertle, GooGoo Bear, Boo Boo, and so on. I was fortunate enough to be called the Mermom.
I know I sound like a lunatic, but he wasn’t our dog, he was our first child (and only son!), and we spoiled him rotten. He returned the favor by being the smartest, most loyal, most protective, really funny, really stubborn, and amazing boy. I’ve mentioned him here before, and he was just so protective, of me especially. When we would take walks alone, he would ever-so-subtly position himself between me and whomever might be walking toward us down the street. 8 times out of ten, that person would cross the street to avoid the 100-pound ferocious Mer who would have licked them to death. When D would go out-of-town, he wouldn’t sleep. Every noise or car passing, he was up and barking.
D would come home and he would pass out for days.
Some things you should know about Merlin:
From the time he left the crate-training, he slept on our queen sized bed. This got really fun when he took over half the bed, and not the foot of the bed half. This only stopped when his hips got bad and he couldn’t jump up and we missed it so much. The above is his effort to help me clean out my closet by guarding the clothes on the bed.
He loved to swim and be on the boat. We had to physically restrain him when the boat slowed down so he wouldn’t leap overboard. He couldn’t wait to be in the bay. On more than one occasion, we stopped mid-channel so he could swim for a few minutes before we continued on. He also loved puddles on the golf course, and fountains. Oddly enough, he wouldn’t walk on wet grass after rain…
He loved beer – only Heineken (spoiled, remember?) and would knock over beer bottles to drink the spillage.
When beer wasn’t available, water from the fountain would work! Miss F and Mer at the park, October 2007.
As a puppy, he would get so tired and hot from walks that he would plop himself inside the bottom little ledge of the fridge for a little rest and coolness.
Fallen palm fronds were meant for tug-of-war and he would carry fallen coconuts home in his mouth for blocks so he could rip them apart on his Merbed at home. He never actually slept on the bed, it was just for shredding coconuts or eating watermelon rinds, pumpkins, or rawhides.
He was our adventure leader, always showing us the way on hikes and walks, here and in North Carolina. Running ahead and coming back impatiently for us.
He would give me “Mama hugs” when I would squat down and he would ram his head into my chest and knock me backwards waiting for a full body rub. I miss those.
Mer and Miss E. This photo may be less about affection and more about the fact that E got there first and Merlin wanted his couch back… :)
He was so gentle with the girls as babies/toddlers and never got cross when they got a little too grabby. He simply got up and left. He also left the room if he tooted. He would look at his rear end, as if to confirm, and then he would get up and leave us to deal with the unpleasant after effects.
He knew so many things. Sit, stay, heel, shake, twirl, back-up. I also taught him how to poop on command as a puppy. Best command ever.
He got carrot cake on his birthday every year and it was my pleasure to make it for him.
He cleaned the dishes every night as a puppy by standing ON the dishwasher door, until he got too big and it broke. :)
There are so, so many more things, just every part of our life for the last 14 years has included him and everywhere I turn, I go, I do, I see him. And I cry.
It was inevitable. He was failing. It was time, but it went too fast and I would never have had enough time with him.
I love you Merlin.
May 2, 2000 – June 27, 2014