My dog Dusty passed away at 15 1/2 years old only days ago. I was compelled to write this because I felt that there was more meaning to Dusty's passing than just the end of my friendship with my dog. Dusty lived with my mom for 14 years until she passed away 16 months ago at which time Dusty was basically an orphan, and I took him on. At first for me it felt like such a responsibility I had to take upon myself. As I cared for Dusty I learned he was very special and he became my best friend. I wanted to write the following about Dusty because I think he left something with us, a type of gift, that I might pass upon the world - a gift from a little Cocker Spaniel, just a dog of so many, but one that so many came to love .. and there was a reason ... a reason that hopefully we all can learn from.
If I were to describe how Dusty was different it was because he trusted and loved everyone. He did not bark. He did not bite. If you would have come to know Dusty it probably would have happened while you were walking down Broadway in Vancouver. He might have slowly stepped near you and if he did not get your attention by just touching your leg with his nose, he would look at you with his big brown eyes reflecting his innocence, his trust, all without any judgement of who you might be. I remember once walking him by Cobb's bread and the automatic doors opened and he just looked at the 2 girls working there behind the counter. They looked back with smiles, a reflection of his kind and trusting hello. Whether you were the street person with your guitar outside Macdonalds, whether you were a student in Cartems donut shop, or any person on the street of any race, age, or condition in life - he would only want to say hello. How could it be that Dusty could so simply love everyone, yet want nothing other than a pat on his head or a simple smile, as a gesture of your kindness? I could tell in Cartems where he loved to lay flat on his stomach on the cement, that when he turned away treats, what he really cared about was to be with everyone and just make gentle contact with the students who studied there. Many of them loved to say hello to Dusty because they missed their own dogs that they had left at home, in order to come to University.
Dusty was special because he was innocent, he was trusting, and he knew only goodness. My mom always watched over Dusty and he was never treated badly and he was always cared for with so much dedication and love. He always felt safe and he was never alone. In the 16 months I had Dusty I did the same, and cared for Dusty with all my heart. In return he always watched for me, he always felt safe, and he always depended on me. He trusted me so much. I thank all of you who said hello to Dusty because in the gentle pat or words you gave him, it just told him again how good people and life could be.
This is what I wanted to say about Dusty. It is a lesson to us all. As humans we often distance eachother, we may take from eachother, and we may hurt one another. This does not need to happen but we need to learn to trust and care about one another. We need to be treated as Dusty was, with kindness and care all his life. It should not take an innocent, gentle dog to look in our eyes to touch our hearts so that we might reach out to give our warmest thoughts and trust. Dusty showed us every day that we can learn to trust one another. Countries and people just need to understand that maybe, if we can start by reaching out and trusting eachother, like Dusty did every day, we can create relationships that are based on giving to one another rather than taking from one another. Can you imagine if a child could grow up never knowing fear or need, always knowing he had loved ones and friends watching over him. How could such a child see anything but good in the world? How could such a child do anything but bring good into the world?
I miss my friend very much but I write this for you on his behalf. When any of us spot something in our lives we know is special and is worth telling the world about, we try. Those that met Dusty already know how special Dusty was, but for those who did not meet him, I have tried to share Dusty with you. It was time for him to go because he was old and tired, but what he has left us is the hope that the world can be good. We can trust one another and we can work together to share life and love.
Thank you Dusty.