Last Sunday, October 23, 2011, my faithful Cape Cod born beagle - Chauncey "Bananahead" Rockwell crossed over the Rainbow Bridge to go take long walks with my Dad. He was rescued from an early life of neglect when he was about 3 or 4 years old. Chauncey grew up in my neighborhood but no one could remember how old he was - going by his puppyhood friend's age, Chauncey was 15 or 16 years old when he left us last Sunday. He came to live with my Dad and me on a bitterly cold day in January 2000, having spent several days outside in sub-zero temperatures until my neighbor stepped in.
Chauncey and Dad were almost inseparable for years and were often seen driving around town with Chauncey sticking his head out the back window of the car barking non-stop. My Dad always said it saved wear and tear on the car horn. When my Dad passed two years ago, Chauncey was already of mature years, so I kept telling him he had to stay with me a few more years. I realized yesterday, when I went to pick up his ashes that Chauncey stayed 2 years and 2 months to the day from when my Dad passed away - there was only about 2 hours difference in time and both of them crossed on a Sunday.
Chauncey (known by some friends as "Shawnie Boy") was a constant source of amusement and companionship. He loved to play keep-away with tennis balls until his arthritis made it too hard, but he continued to love to chase his red kong ball with treats jammed in the side openings around the living room right up to last Saturday night.
His greatest fun (besides chasing squirrels and chipmunks) was running through the snow and tearing apart stuffed toys. The stuffed toys would last less than 30 mins - but he had such fun doing it.
This video makes me smile every time I see it. He took such joy from this destruction, yet except for an occasional pair of shoes or my patio door blinds when he was left home alone, he was not a destructive doggie.
Chauncey was my very first dog and he was a gem and a joy. I miss him every day but it was a blessing that he was active to almost the last hours, that the decision to let him go was clear cut, that I got to say a loving goodbye which, while he was on pain medication, he was still alert enough to hear, respond to and give love back, and that his passing was the most peaceful I could hope for when letting my beloved "little boy, little boy" go be with Dad.
I know you are playing with your buddy Max and having Dad spend hours petting you, going for long walks with him (and my Mom), and running all over chasing "sniffs". Run my boy, run! Go get that squirrel!