“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” ~
A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh
Even the brightest Comet 💫 eventually burns out, and on April 10th, we had to say goodbye to ours.
Every dog is special but Comet was that once in a lifetime pup that was absolutely perfect for us in every way.
He was one of the factors that brought J & I together and spent a good, long 13 and a half years making us laugh and feel so much love.
Rest easy, my fuzz bug. Run for miles. Eat all the chicken and marshmallows you want.
Love you forever and always.
This is the message that appeared on my Facebook page the night we had to make the most difficult decision of sending our sweet Comet to his forever sleep.
As a writer and a dog mom, I could write an entire novel about just how special this pup was to us, but I’ll try to stick to his “rescue story” and share some happy memories that I can dedicate to our little “fuzz bug.”
J rescued Comet from a shelter in December of 2007, when he was only about a year old. At the time, J was still living with his ex-girlfriend and trying to salvage a relationship that had been going south for years. Despite his adorable face and sweet nature, J’s ex was not Comet’s biggest fan. In fact, after only a few weeks, she gave J the ultimatum that changed the course of his and Comet’s life — “It’s me or the dog.”
J promptly chose the dog and moved back in with his parents. Three months later, J and I met on a blind date set up by mutual friends, and the rest is history.
I instantly fell in love with Comet, but he made me pass a few tests before he’d let me get close to his daddy. I distinctly remember him not-so-subtly leaning against me on the bed or the couch so I didn’t get to close to J. But after a few months, Comet seemed to sense that I qualified to be in his and J’s life, and he and I became fast friends.
Some of my favorite Comet memories . . .
The first time he got groomed, the groomer went a little crazy and shaved him down as far as possible without making him completely bald. He looked so ridiculous we almost peed ourselves laughing so hard. (after that, we found a new groomer who did a much better job).
After J and I closed on our house, J brought Comet over to explore the new place and he was NOT impressed. Uncomfortable with any change, Commie hated the slippery hardwood floors and had to teach himself to walk on them, which was hilarious to watch. He also wouldn’t poop in his own yard for weeks for some strange reason.
There was also the day that he followed me up the steep attic stairs to explore this part of the house for the first time, and once he was up there he was too scared to come down. I had to scoop him up and carry him down, which he did NOT like, and right before I set him back on the floor, he promptly peed all over me.
J & I made several attempts to get Comet comfortable with water. We drove him an hour north to Lake Arthur and three hours north to Lake Erie, and while he loved the sandy beaches, he would not go anywhere near the water. He was hilariously wary of the waves in Erie.
Comet did, however, love going on long walks on the many trails in several parks in Pittsburgh. Even as recently as last summer, his twelve-year-old arthritic body dragged us up and down hills, through wooded paths, and racing down gravel walkways. Comet loved sniffing every square inch of the woods he could get his nose on and every little creature he saw piqued his interest, especially the deer he spotted on an adventure through Panther Hollow.
He also made the long, 500 mile drive with us to the Outer Banks of North Carolina in 2017, and had an absolute blast. While he was not a fan of the ocean, he loved chasing sand pipers and seagulls and trotting along the sand and traveling with us from the Corolla Lighthouse to Ocracoke Island — even accompanying us on a ferry. He did manage to get surprised by a rogue wave in Hatteras, which drenched his recently-groomed fur with salt and sand, and solidified his decision to steer clear of any body of water for the rest of forever.
On more than one occasion, strangers stopped their cars while Commie & I were walking just so they could compliment how handsome he was or ask what breeds gave him his debonair looks (spaniel & retriever).
We took Comet with us one year to cut down a Christmas tree, and a little girl there asked if she could pet him. As she approached, he started grumbling excitedly, at which point the girl’s eyes lit up and she smiled and said in total awe, “HE TALKS?!?!?!” I’m pretty sure I left part of my heart on that cold, muddy hillside.
Commie had this weird ability to burp like a human — loudly and frequently. Neither J or I have ever met a dog that burped like this so often. It happened several times a week and usually at completely inappropriate moments.
His favorite people food included chicken, frozen broccoli, and marshmallows, and the mention of any of these would turn him into the giant great white shark from Jaws.
Just look at those viscous toofers —
Unlike most dogs, Comet had absolutely no fear when it came to fireworks or thunder. He was, however, extremely wary of empty cardboard boxes, rustling plastic bags, or the sound the toaster made when it “popped.”
He also had a habit of sometimes sleeping with his little puppy tongue sticking out —
As lovable as he was, Comet did not like it when he wasn’t the center of attention. If we tried to watch a movie or a hockey game, he’d rest his head on our laps or on the edge of the couch until we pulled our attention away from the screen, and also regularly ducked his head under my elbow while I was sitting at the laptop writing.
He was also quite vocal anytime J & I hugged, and occasionally nudged our fingers apart if we were holding hands.
Commie’s favorite toys included a couple of god-awful, completely destroyed stuffed animals — an unrecognizable tiger, an Oscar the Grouch, and Big Bird. He was also obsessed with his “bally,” a plain, yellow rubber ball with a squeaker in it that he took everywhere.
Over the last couple of months, J and I began to wonder if we could get Comet to howl like the wolf that we knew lived deep, deep, deep, deep, deep inside him — and after some coaxing and some specially selected YouTube videos, it worked! The very last video we caught on our phones of him letting out an “a-wooooooo” still makes us laugh.
Though our hearts are broken and we already miss him so much, we are incredibly thankful for all the love and laughs over the years.
Commie’s passing happened at home, in his own bed, surrounded by his family. He went to sleep peacefully and quietly, and after all the sobbing was over, J & I shared a pizza and a couple of beers, complete with a toast to our little fuzz bug. It was odd to feel a sense of relief that the worst was over and to have full bellies after a week of barely eating out of worry and stress as we did our best to care for our sick pooch.
That night we watched a couple of funny episodes of our favorite YouTube channel, Good Mythical Morning and promptly sent Rhett & Link a Tweet thanking them for making us laugh during such a hard time. They replied personally, and thousands of people responded to Comet’s photo, making us feel warm and fuzzy despite the circumstances.
While I never thought I’d ever thank the vet that had to put our sweet Comet to sleep, I absolutely must express my gratitude to Laps of Love, the home veterinary service that helped Commie to cross the Rainbow Bridge. I believe they are a national company, and I highly, highly recommend their services to ease your pain if you find yourself having to let go of you own sweet fur baby. My review is below:
To help us heal, J & I are busy saving all of Commie’s pictures and videos to Google drive and planning an elaborate shadow box memorial. I’m going to get a paw print tattoo in his memory at some point, and we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of his urn & ashes. We plan on sprinkling some of his remains under his favorite tree in our backyard and taking some more of him to the Outer Banks whenever COVID-19 is over and we have the opportunity to go. The rest will stay with us forever.