I grew up with dogs, they were a family fixture. When my wife and I bought our first home, I wasn’t sure I wanted to take on a dog of my own. The barking, the walking, the not being able to be away from the home for long periods… you know, all the inconveniences of owning a dog. Eventually my wife talked me into considering it and as soon as I laid my eyes on who would eventually be named Roscoe, my heart melted and I knew he was my dog. Soon after we took Roscoe home, he needed a friend too. We then adopted Rosie, a Pug/Beagle mix.
Roscoe was great. He was one of those dogs who it seemed as though he wanted to be my best friend, and he was. Where ever I was, he was with me, we were partners in crime. I think one of the best things about him was that even though he was too large to be a lap dog, he didn’t know that, and I liked it. There was something really comforting about having him sitting with me on the couch or laying with me in bed. Always quiet, he would just hang out. After some time, he had two names. He was also known as ‘Buddy’, a description which soon became a moniker. Roscoe was one of life’s great dogs. He was a happy dog. My wife described his demeanor as being grateful for being adopted (we a got him from a rescue shelter). And I think that was an apt characterization, he did seem grateful.
Early January he became ill. He had little interest in eating, wasn’t drinking much, and wasn’t himself. At first I though he just might not be feeling well and it would pass. But it didn’t pass. After some tests, the vet broke the news that his kidneys were failing. We did all we could for the few weeks we had left, but it did little to help him. I made a nice spot for him in the yard of our new home, and when it was time, it was time. I had Roscoe for more than nine years. We lost him on January 20th of this year, not even a month. In the few days leading up to what I knew would be his final ride in the car, I was inconsolable — even as I write this I can’t help but to tear up.
I was adamant that I didn’t want another dog, but I also knew that wasn’t a feeling which would last. My wife, daughters and I weren’t the only ones feeling the loss of Roscoe, Rosie was noticeably not herself. She was obviously feeling the loss of her life long companion.
Who could foresee the impact of losing a dog? Not me. I mean, I knew I’d be upset, and even sad. But I had no idea that I’d grieve, not like this. My wife, wanting to lift my spirits, suggested we get another dog. I wanted no part of it, it was too soon. She was diligent in her defiance and sent me photos of dogs from websites where they were ready for adoption. With each cute little puppy face she sent, I replied “no, not yet”. That is, until one photo. I saw him and knew this was my dog.
I went to pick up the 11 week-old pup who was with a foster family while awaiting adoption about 30 miles away. The ride home felt a bit weird for me. Was I supposed to be getting a new dog yet? Was it too soon? I couldn’t tell. During the ride I found myself talking to him, like a conversation. I don’t usually talk to animals, not like a discussion anyway. I told him “I wasn’t sure why I was doing this so soon, but if you’re on board, then so am I.” Not like he could understand me, but I told him all about Roscoe. “He was my buddy, I need you to be my buddy now, but you’ve got some big paws to fill.”
We named him Archie, he looks like an Archie to me.