They say that dogs are a man’s best friend.

If that’s true, then losing one is the equivalent to losing one’s soulmate.

It was twelve years ago tomorrow that we brought home a puppy from a National Turkey Federation event.

Today we put him down.

Thor was a yellow lab that we won at the banquet’s fundraising auction. In hindsight, he may have been acquired due to a few extra cocktails that helped spur our bidding…although it is hard to resist a roly poly ball of yellow fur regardless of one’s sobriety.

Ironically, despite acquiring Thor at an event that promoted hunting, Thor was afraid of guns.

And fire.

And stair steps.

In fact, he was a big scaredy cat.

However what he lacked in courage, Thor made up for in loyalty. He was a gentle giant whose soul purpose in life was to make our family happy.

And his faithfulness was unparalleled.

It’s unfortunate that humans lack the devotion of a dog. I truly believe the world would be a better place if we possessed that same unwavering commitment.

Throughout his twelve years with us, Thor saw three other dogs in our home. He saw multiple cats. He even saw a guinea pig.

Thor witnessed family milestones like graduations and job changes. He was able to move with us from town to an acreage where he could run without the confines of a leash.

It was heartbreaking that when we took him to the vet today, we had to dig out that old leash. It hasn’t been used for years. Yet Thor wagged his tail eagerly, remembering those long ago walks through town.

Unfortunately a brief glimpse from the past was not enough to save him.

Thor had grown weak. He was incontinent and had stopped eating. He was full of lumps and tumors and was plagued by constant painful ear infections.

However despite his health issues, Thor remained loyal to the end. The vet said Thor lived much longer than he should have with these ailments, and that he believed Thor continued to hang on for us.

It’s difficult to witness someone or something that you love suffer.

It is even more difficult to end that suffering.

There is a saying that all dogs go to heaven.

I certainly hope so.

I hope Thor is up there chasing those tennis balls that he loved to retrieve in his younger years. He would play tirelessly until our arms were sore from throwing the ball.

I hope he is chasing rabbits and squirrels. Perhaps doing the doggy paddle–as only a lab can– in a country creek

I hope he is reunited with our chocolate lab Toby, the loss of which Thor never recovered.

And I hope that he has already found a new buddy like our remaining dog Barkley, who never left Thor’s side and is now searching our house for his missing pal.

Our daughter posted a video of Thor on Snapchat today. It was set to the music of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from the movie, Toy Story.

There could not be a more fitting song.

Through infinity and beyond, Thor will remain one of the good ones.

We will remember his devotion and loyalty, and be assured that unconditional love is possible.

Thank you Thor for the dozen years you shared with us.

Twelve years ago at a turkey federation auction, we bid on a fuzzy yellow puppy

What we won instead was a devoted family companion and friend.

And now we’ve come full circle.

In the words of that long ago auctioneer…




But never forgotten.

Thor twelve years ago when we brought him home.

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