We lost Henry today. He was almost 12. This is the most representative picture I could find of him, Christmas 2008. Timid, scared, doleful and confused. He tried to bond and be affectionate, and succeeded for the most part, but just beneath the surface there was always the traumatized puppy that crawled, bewildered, into my lap at the pet store, unwanted and abandoned. Life sometimes isn't very fair. It usually isn't, actually. Henry was in many ways a symbol of that. Floppy and gangly, and dumb as a box of rocks. His previous owners named him 'Duke' and tried to toughen him up and lead him around with a chain. That plan failed miserably and at less than a year old he was a surprise return to the adoption center staff during a pet store adoption day, where we first saw him. Third shelf, huddled in his crate. Wondering what just happened, a situation he was usually in. I asked to see him, and was told he was not for adoption, that he would need to be reevaluated. I asked if he could just come out of the crate and play with us, and the adoption folks agreed, and he made straight for my lap when I sat down on the floor. We brought him home the next week.
Henry just wanted to be loved. Actually, I don't think he knew what love was. What he really wanted was to have a full belly, a warm place to flop down, and people somewhere nearby, comfortingly close, but yet peacefully distant.
I hope we provided you with that warmth and comfort. You were a good boy, Henry. We will always love you.