16 years ago a woman I was dating begged me to take a young puppy from the shelter where she worked. She told the story of how he was to be euthanized because no one would take him. They couldn’t find a home for him because he ran from everyone, he would not let anyone close, and he was terrified of people. The rest of story was that someone had hurt him, badly. I thought I was doing him favor, I believed I was being of service. I bestowed the honor of naming him Jack, after a great man in my life who had passed on a few years earlier. Jack was allowed to be who he was, desperately wanting love and attention, crippled by fear. It took 2 solid years before he trusted me enough to allow his belly to be rubbed. Throughout his life he never lost his fear, he did grow to trust that he was safe with me, and that I was not going to hurt him.
Every single interaction we had through his life, I would patiently let him go through his ritual of shaking with fear, and barking until he felt comfortable enough for me to touch him. I thought it was I who was being of service to him Today I am 10 years sober. The math points out Jack was with me 6 years before my current sobriety date. The darkest period of my life. Jack loved me unconditionally when I wasn’t very lovable. My faithful companion throughout. I now have a better idea of who was being of service to whom. Today perhaps I was of service. Jack was tired, life had become hard, and painful for the old man. When the vet administered the sedative, Jack relaxed. Maybe truly relaxed, without fear, for the only time in his long life. Rest in Peace my sweet companion. There is a very special place waiting for you.
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