“Do you want to take Cody home today?”

For a moment, the question caught me off guard.  I had stopped by the vet with Magic to drop off some paperwork on his October heartworm test in Quincy, Illinois, drop off a “sample,” and check on Magic’s weight.

“Yes, Cody will be going home today…”

“OK, we just want to make sure you’re OK, it hasn’t been too long, we know it can still be painful.”

And we waited about 15 minutes for the examination room with the scale to become available.

There is another examination room behind the cashier counter and that room is used only for one activity.  I know that room.  Cody, on January 8th, Tyler in 2003, and other pets of my past have been in that room with me.  There is a large framed print on the west wall entitled, His Master’s Bed…a white Labrador sound asleep on a large bed, a window looking out on a pastoral scene, curtains blowing gently, very peaceful.

A woman, about my age, with curly reddish blond hair stepped out of that room.  She was in full grief, holding an orange cloth over her eyes…sobbing.  I know that room.  I wanted to comfort her but she moved quickly to one of the open examination rooms and was gone.

A gorgeous Border collie mix came in off-leash with his owner, a woman about 30 wearing Adidas athletic warm-ups and a Chicago Blackhawks hat.  The dog, Homer, was quite a gentleman.  His lower body was white and reddish tan ticking, his upper body was gray, black and white ticking…topped off with a large parallelogram of pure black on his back and left side.  He jumped up on the wooden bench next to his Mom and was very well behaved.

And what about Magic?  Magic always receives high compliments for his handsomeness – “my o my what a gorgeous boy, oh’ that dog is gorgeous, oh he is beautiful.  I am so lucky.  And Magic was very good, very respectful.  Just a look and he sits…amazing how that communication works between man and dog.

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Magic weighed in at 46.2 pounds.  I know that Kathy P. and the good-hearted volunteers from Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue (GLBCR) will be thrilled with Magic’s weight – he weighed only 33 when he came into rescue.

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Magic’s progress with obedience, behavior, learning and sweetness has been a joy to watch.  I have increased his off-leash time outside and he really gets it…responds immediately to “Come here, Magic.”  He pays attention, a very sharp boy!  An EXTREMELY sweet boy!

If I have one regret with Cody, I did not drive him out to Oregon to spend time with me on the beautiful beaches, the paths, the pine forests, the cool air, the great people of the area around Cannon Beach.  I believe that a beach in Oregon, the Pacific ocean to to west and fog-shrouded pines to the east, the surf, people with their happy dogs, running free will be a perfect final resting place.  Magic and I will be making the drive in summer…sometime…

“Don’t forget Cody!”

A simple square box, black, Cody (January 8th 2015).  Within, is a brass metal can and Cody’s paw print in plaster.

-Cody and Magic’s Dad

12 thoughts on “THE RETURN HOME

  1. Good morning, Robin
    I thought I had burned off the grief. Guess not. As soon as I held the black box in my hands, had Cody in the car, all those feelings rushed back. It will be a while. Tom and Magic

  2. Tom, I am remembering a trip to my vet’s office, probably near exactly ten years ago. I’d received the call that my beloved Murphy-girl’s ashes were back and ready to come home with me. I made the mistake of stopping in on my way home from work and the clinic’s waiting room was a flurry of activity. When the box was placed in front of me on the counter, I wrapped my arms around it and seemingly froze in a well of grief, unable to move and very aware of all of the people in the room behind me. I’m not sure how long I stood there, probably only a few minutes, but I felt a dog’s head nuzzle the side of my leg and lean against me. I looked down and saw the face of a former GLBCR foster dog whom I’d help transport. That dear boy let me kneel down and soak his head with tears while his person stood quietly. I’m so grateful that they were there that day.

    Love hearing how Magic is continuing to blossom under your fine care….he looks fabulous! His coming to you and Cody is one of those episodes which restore my faith that there are, after all, threads of order to this chaotic universe.

    Deb W.

    • I thought I had burned off most of the grief…until I held him in my hands and he was in the car next to me. Still very tough. A lot of memories. I miss him.
      Tom and Magic

  3. I remember the day Syrus came home. His remains were sealed in a wooden box, certificate of private cremation, plaster paw print, condolence card… and I carried my man home in a blue recycled knit bag with handles. I didn’t have Mandi, yet, so it was a very lonely time. Syrus now has a majestic place on my writing desk as my inspiration for filling the empty space with words he inspired through his death. *hugs* – W

  4. It doesn’t seem to get easier does it? Magic seems to be doing a great job helping you through the difficult moments. I’ve had the privilege of taking Kona to Canon beach just after we were married, it’s a magical place. I treasure a memory of him running down the beach at full tilt trying to herd the seagulls. When we have a tough day I cling to that image, and pray we can have one more romp in that surf.

  5. That is very touching.. You place so many wonderful details in your story that I felt as if I were there. I’m fearing that room as well. As time continues to fly (as it seems to always do) my soon to be 15 year old border collie is really acting her age. As my first dog, I am very fearful and am already starting to grieve at just the thought of losing her.

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