R.I.P Bullet: February 16, 2009 - April 10, 2019

by Chris Callahan
(Cleveland, Ohio)

Bullet is on the right

Bullet is on the right

Bullet,

I am writing this letter as my final farewell to you. But, it's also part of my grieving process with hopes of providing some additional closure. Understand that I am not closing you, but closure in giving you the hardest, yet the greatest, gift I can ever give you.

No, it's not a cool, new toy. It's not a new frisbee that whistles while in the air. And, it's not a big fat steak and potato dinner like you had last night. This one is a little different.

Actually, it's very, very different. Before I explain what it is, there are a few things I want to tell you.
You already know I love you very much. You are the rock! I am so very proud of you, who you became, and all you've done for me and your brother. Thank you for teaching me many, many things.

Last week I looked up the phrase "unconditional love." I was curious. I wanted to see what was officially written about it. Here is what I found from several sources:

- Affection without any limitations, love without conditions.
- Love which has no bounds and never changes.
- Behavior that increases the fitness and wellbeing of another while decreasing the fitness and wellbeing of that committing the act.
- Increasing the welfare of another, despite any evidence of benefit for oneself.

Bullet, I was astounded by what I read! It was more like revelation. Puppy, this is EXACTLY You! This is EXACTLY what and who you are. YOU are the epitome of what unconditional love really is. You see, many of the questions I have had about you over the years all make sense now.

Questions on why you'd do the things you did. Like, when you were little, and even in some instances now, Evander used to bump you off to the side while eating so he could eat your food after he ate his.

The thing of it is, you let him do it, over and over! You didn't get mad, or fight with him! You allowed it! You also let him push you off to the side and be first out the door, or to see who was at the door and be the first one to greet. You allowed him to work himself in and interfere when you were getting well deserved belly rubs from me, or someone else. When playing in the yard, you'd let Evander get the ball or frisbee first after I'd thrown it. And, you've always faster than him, too!

There were countless other examples where you displayed this behavior. Why, I often asked myself. Why does he let Evander do all those things, repeatedly? Is Bullet a wimp? Is he insecure? Doesn't he care about himself? Why would he never get angry? Why did he never fight with Evander? And you were the Alpha between you two!

But now, after all this time, it's all very clear to me, why. The answer is unconditional love. You gave to him, and others, at the expense of yourself. You looked past your own welfare for the betterment of another. You did this for 10 years, and I really had no idea until now.

Your love had no bound, and it never changed. It never changed! Thank you for teaching me, Bullet, what unconditional love really means. You did this without ever saying a word.

You are the epitome of what it means to love unconditionally. I get it now. My questions are all answered. And, I will forever know exactly what it really, really means with confidence, all because of you. I am so grateful, so thankful you revealed it to me.

Also, thank you for bringing me your brother. You know I adore and love him very, very much. I know he can be a jerk sometimes, but you know it's unintentional. You know he's a unique guy, one of a kind, as Aunt Karla would say, "a special bus boy."

So much do I admire how patient you've been with him. You've been so kind, so gentle, so polite with him and others. You are more than what I could ever be.

Over these past weeks, it has been neat to see and learn how much Evander looked up to you for guidance. You have always been that big brother for him. You are so good at the role. Evander wouldn't be who he is today without you. He has never been as smart and independent as you. You have always given him his cues. This is very, very clear to me now.

After I give you my greatest gift, I promise to keep an eye on him and make sure he doesn't get lost. I promise. And, yes, I will make sure he doesn't sit too close to the fire pit. And I will do my best to make sure he doesn't walk through the sliding screen door in the mud room. Thank you for teaching me this, Bullet, and helping me prepare.

I've had an amazing 10 years with you, Bullet, especially the past 4 to 5 years since we moved. You know, half the reason I moved back was because I wanted you and your brother to be around family, have more opportunity to introduce you and socialize with more people. And, above all, I wanted a big back yard so you can run. You loved to run, but now you can't.

One of my fondest, and funniest, memories of you was how you'd sprint as fast as possible with joy, excitement and smile on your face immediately after taking a poop. It was hilarious! You were so happy, you ran as fast as you possibly could after pooping.

Many people laughed at you, but know that they also related to you - it really does truly feel good after taking a nice solid poop! Thank you for this and the many laughs you've given me over the years.

Those here today, and even those who are not, are here because they love dogs. And they love you. They have been here before, the exact same point we are in now. They have given the same greatest gift that I am going to give to you. They appreciate your companionship, your unconditional love. We understand what having a dog means in our life. They are here to celebrate life. We celebrate your life, and all those past and present.

So this gift I want to give you... Puppy, you are not working right anymore. You don't function like you used to. My heart is broken, truly broken. I have barely eaten or slept, and my stomach is in a million knots. I feel sick, afraid, I can't think straight and I cannot stop crying.

This is the hard part about giving you this gift. But, yet, I'm so very grateful to have a little more time with you. I am so grateful for the time to prepare and make this gift extra special for you.

One last note before I give you this gift, Puppy: Dogs are one of life's greatest gifts, and their short time on earth is one of life's worst tragedies. But the greatest gift of all is knowing when to stop receiving the gifts given to you unconditionally, before it's too late.

That said, Bullet, it's time to go now. It's time to go to your forever place, wherever that may be, so that others can enjoy all the good that you've given to me.

I will miss you so, so very much, Puppy, but I know you'll still be here, with me, with us, in spirit. We will do this together, but I need to stay here.

It's important that I feel you go as you take your last breath, because at that instant, I will know with complete certainty that I received the greatest gift along with the irrevocable privilege of having had you in my life.

Thank you, Bullet. Thank you. I love you.

Go run! Go run!! Go run, Puppy!!!

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