This picture was taken over four years ago, a couple of weeks before our dog was put to sleep. His name was Gunner, but we called him Puppy or Mr. Puppy or even G-Dawg. My husband found him one evening outside of a neighborhood grocery store where, we came to find out, earlier in the day a family had been giving away a litter of pups. We think that someone must have brought him back. He was about nine weeks old.
Fast forward seven years when we brought him to the vet because he’d had a limp that wouldn’t seemingly go away. At first she thought that he may have torn a ligament, but it turned out that he had a cancerous tumor in one of his back legs for which there was no treatment. We had hoped we would have up to a year more with him, but he spiraled down very quickly.
In his last months he would come up to me laying his head on my legs and stare into my eyes, exactly like in the photo above. He would sit or lay at my feet, silently communicating with such depth and love in his eyes. I think he knew that he didn’t have much longer on this earth, and he’d just wanted to be very present with me.
Those eyes held such knowing, and time seemed to stand still when he came to me in this way. It melted my heart because it was as if he were saying hello and goodbye all at once. Over and over, that gaze held the essence of life within it, which I can still remember so vividly. Pure, undeniable love is the gift that he gave me in those moments, and I was blessed to share them with him.