We bought our first house with him in mind.
He was born less than one week after we were engaged.
We drove 6 hours, one way, to pick him up…I had to drive the last hour so Ryan would not speed.
His biological mom’s name was Jo-Jo.
His biological dad’s name was Fast Eddy.
He was a grumpy old man as a puppy.
We got married when he was 10 months old.
We used to run across creeks and hide behind trees to make him learn to swim.
More times than not, when he would throw a fit about getting into the car (usually in the middle of nowhere Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas or Nebraska) we had to get in the car without him and drive down the dirt road, with him in hot pursuit, just to get him to decide to get into the car with us.
He taught us about tough love.
He introduced us to people and places we never would have met or seen without him.
He took us on adventures I will never forget.
We ran through high mountain parks in snow-thunderstorms together.
We “got turned around” (you are only lost if you are never found) after dark on logging roads in Idaho together.
We woke up with a snow covered wall tent at 10,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains more than once together.
He traveled from coast to coast with us.
He stayed at Hotel Monaco in Chicago (even took a bath in the tub) and Super 8’s all over the country.
He swam in rivers and lakes from New York to Colorado to Oregon.
He chased birds where most will never get a chance, or be good enough, to chase birds.
He stopped me from walking in on a burglary in progress in our home.
He taught me patience.
He taught me unconditional love.
He taught me to be a mom before I was a mom.
He couldn’t hear.
He couldn’t see.
He was in pain.
For the last week he barked each time he had to go out to go potty because he needed help standing up to go outside.
Last night, after he barked for help I slept on the floor with him.
His last night with us.
This morning, I carried him outside so he could go potty.
He was stubborn. Always.
He didn’t want to have to be carried outside to go potty, but his body was failing him.
It was time to let go.
Fourteen and a half years.
Our family won’t be the same without him.
Rest in Peace, Grand River Hoji Ben.
home is…knowing all dogs go to heaven.