The last several days have been filled with a great deal of stress.
A co-worker’s son was involved in a very serious accident. We have been involved with a new project at work which has called for many extra hours.
In addition, my extended family and I had to say goodbye to a faithful friend who had been with us for more than 12 years. Our buddy Moonshine passed away on Friday, Oct. 24, after a short battle with cancer.
The news of his illness was sudden and our loyal companion — always at attention, always waging his tail — was taken from us much too soon. It was a heartbreaking moment during a time when I certainly didn’t need any additional stress or heartache.
Before I go on I must answer the question that no doubt has already gone through your mind. No, he was not named for the old-time backwoods alcohol, which is still joked about in these parts. Rather, my better half Pam named him for a clothing store located in downtown Athens.
Pam has always had a knack for creative names for our pets. A recent friendly Tom cat which took up at my home was given the name “Mr. Puty.” She got it, not from the old Sylvester and Tweety cartoon, but from a commercial for NetFlix where a man said he and “Mr. Puty” wanted to watch a horror movie. Since I am a horror movie buff, Pam tagged the cat Mr. Puty. The friendly ladies at the vet office got a good laugh when I told them his name when he arrived for his first check up.
But back to Moonshine, whose name was certainly just as unique. He was born in the spring in 1996 to a stray who had arrived one night after getting lost. Moonshine’s mom (named a less unique Katie) is actually still with us. The jokes about her “outliving us all” are told often.
Moonshine was one of seven born early one spring morning. He was just a little thing then, small enough to hold in one hand. He was never a huge dog, but he captured our hearts and was one of two dogs we kept from the litter. He eventually became a house dog and that only made him even more like family.
He had never had any serious medical problems. However, a slight cough and some wheezing led to a trip to the vet office which discovered his cancer. While I hoped for a miracle, we were told he didn’t have much longer. At first, Moonshine didn’t really show any symptoms of the illness but it didn’t take long for him to start getting tired more easily and eventually it was evident he wasn’t going to be with us much longer.
He passed away early Friday, Oct. 24. Pam was glad he was at home when he did. Better to do so around those he had always known than around strangers. It still seems odd for him not to look at the door when I walk through. He was always looking for a treat and eager to walk outside into the back yard, if only to immediately want to come back inside a minute later.
I can’t believe more than 12 years have gone by since he first came into our lives. That in itself doesn’t seem possible. However, in looking through pictures in recent days I found myself remembering all sorts of things I hadn’t thought about in years. Moonshine will always be in our hearts. Pets have a special way of doing that. I’m thankful for the time we had together and thankful he never wanted for anything. I will miss him. It’s just that my heart is a little heavy right now.
Chris Bridges is an editor with Mainstreet Newspapers. E-mail Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.