If you are reading this post right now, my best friend has passed away. I have had many people call me friend throughout the years, but their words are mostly conditional based upon their perspective of who I was at that point in our lives. Friends come and go, but best friends are forever. I love you Smiley. You have been one of a kind.
Smiley showed up in our lives over 17 years ago, we had a lab named Buddy at the time that looked a lot like Smiley. Davis was in the backyard, I guess he was about three, when he started yelling, “Buddy, Buddy, where you going?”, like a three-year-old would. Buddy was sitting at Sandra’s feet looking at her like you got a crazy kid on your hands. Smiley never left. He was a stray; the best kind of dog in my opinion. The vet said he was two or three years old when we found him. That would make him 19 or 20 years old today. An amazing feat on its own, but it was the way he lived that made him extraordinary.
He got his name because of his mannerisms; he was always happy. I mean bouncing around you like you were at a birthday party happy all the time. He would even show you his teeth like he was smiling. The name Smiley just fit. He learned from one of the best, Buddy, and to this day still crosses his two front feet when he lays down, just like Buddy did. He is the best dog I have ever owned.
Smiley has experienced more in his life time than most human beings ever will. He has hiked on numerous occasions in the Rocky Mountains, swam in the cool waters of Lake Kampeska, and camped in more states than most people will ever visit. He has never met a pond or river that he didn’t enjoy the swim. Never met a person or dog he didn’t like. He loved life and everything about it. Smiley was smiley!
His favorite past time was hunting. He spent his life time chasing squirrels, rabbits, cats, deer and anything that wouldn’t kill him first. I remember one time we were walking down Wells Road when a big buck leaped into the middle of the road in front of us like something was chasing him. It was a beautiful site. Then the buck leaped in one bound took to the other side. Smiley then jumped from the small ledge into the middle of the street like a super hero, looked at us, smiled and took off after the buck. Smiley was adventure.
My friend is lying at my feet as I write, dying. I hate cancer. I called my boys last night to let them know I was putting him to sleep today. I told them I couldn’t put him to sleep when they were here for my wife’s birthday because I loved him too much, but yesterday I realized how selfish I was being. He is in bad pain, he can’t sleep, and he doesn’t eat anymore. My wife cooked him his favorite meal: eggs, bacon and white bread. He only ate a half a piece of bacon. It is time to let him go. He has been gone now physically for a few weeks, but his will to live is so strong. We could learn so much from Smiley as humans. My heart is broken this morning. The tears in my eyes as I write express the pain of losing a family member. Smiley is my best friend.
Smiley will pass away on National Pet Day. Couldn’t be more appropriate, since he is the best that has ever been or will be. There are a lot of people Smiley touched in this world. Many of them will read this eulogy today and learn of his passing. Some may even cry. My boys will be heartbroken for a while. Me and my wife will mourn. Thanks for sharing your life with us. You have been the greatest teacher of love that I have ever experienced in this old world. I love you Smiley, good bye my friend!
They called you an old stray,
You don’t need another dog they would say,
But you were different than most,
You liked to Smile.
Your Spirit was adventure,
You lived life ferociously,
But loved even stronger than you lived.
You loved to Smile.
You stayed in trouble in your youth,
Many wanted you dead.
The neighbor’s garbage was almost your downfall,
But your smile won them all.
You have been around for what seems like forever now.
Your love always unconditional.
For nineteen years my friend.
And your smile now gone.
I lost you today,
You have no more pain.
You are free my friend to run again,
But most important to Smile.
I love you Smiley!