by Melanie Gangl
(Eagan, MN USA)
Bug and daddy at the lake Summer '09
Bug was a vivacious yellow labrador who meant the world to my family and me. I was in 7th grade when my dad brought him home. From day one, we all felt a bond with him that will never be surpassed.
He was an amazing dog who seemed to live his life like a cat with 9 lives. He survived being hit by a car when he was just under a year old. The vet told us he had a 50/50 chance and he pulled through. Then there were the times my dad took him hunting. Bug fell through some ice on a pond and was having a hard time getting out. My dad realized that the ice was too thin to walk on himself and stayed on shore and called and called for Bug to pull himself out... and he did. Another time, while they were hunting, Bug got himself tangled up in some barbed wire and ripped his chest open.
In a way, we felt he was almost human. Sometimes I expected him to talk back to me when I would tell him something. He was so funny and we had many great times watching what an amazing and smart animal he was. He used to take it upon himself to remove the rocks from the lake at our lake home. Diving down and coming up with one in his mouth, he'd walk over and drop it on shore and head out for more. He also taught himself how to retrieve the morning paper.
I'll never forget my teenage years when I was going through depression. When I just needed someone to listen, he was always there. He didn't pass judgement or give advice. He just listened and gave occasional kisses.
As I watched the vet inject him today and put him to sleep, I felt sad and angry but I also realized how lucky I am. I'm lucky to have received unconditional love and devotion from someone who was my best friend. He lived an astounding 14 years although the last few months were hard to watch. I'm glad I got to see this wonderful animal come into my life and drift away from it as I don't know that I would have been able to leave this world without him.
He will always be in my heart and I will never ever forget the love he gave me. I look forward to seeing him on the other side of the rainbow bridge. I know that he is running through meadows and chasing ducks and geese in heaven or perhaps sitting on the dock at sunset at the lake where I'll always remember him.