We all know about time. It just continues at the same pace for all of us . . . tick tock. There are 86,400 seconds, 24 hours, in each and every day. None of us goes through life any faster or slower than others. Time is a constant.
But there are moments in life that really just give you a wake up about how fast life can pass. Moments like when you see a child you haven’t seen in a few years. A child’s growth can be rapid, especially in their younger years when their physical development seems explosive. My grandson, Lucas, is thirteen going on six feet tall. He sprouted up so fast this past year, growing more than a foot almost overnight! It just seemed like yesterday that I was throwing him up over my shoulders into the deep end of the pool. He would laugh and giggle, “again, Grandpa. . .throw me again!”
Now, as big as he is (and as old as I am!), he could probably throw me!
On April 27, just around noon, Keebler the Crazy Dog crossed the Rainbow Bridge. For me, that was another moment where the shock of time passing seemingly in a blink just hit me so very hard.
How had twelve years passed so instantly?
In Fall of ’94, my wife and I bought a small ranch-style house in Elma, NY. As a part of “the deal” she said, “if you buy me a house, you can have a dog.” Now I didn’t think at the time that paying $200,000 plus interest over 30 years was a fair exchange for getting to have a dog, but I can tell you that as of today, I KNOW I GOT THE BETTER OF THE DEAL with Keebler as a part of the trade.
We adopted Keebler the Crazy Dog just over twelve years ago. We adopted him from Joyful Rescues located down in Cuba, NY on a crisp fall day in September. The sun was out, the air was crispy cool, and the Cuba Garlic Festival was in full swing. My wife and I sometimes will take a journey down through Cuba, NY, stopping in and out of antique shops and visiting Cuba Cheese Factory.
Keebler, a short, stubby legged Basset Hound mix, was out on a leash, looking at passers by with a smile on his face. There was no worry on that face, just contentedness at watching the buzz of people at the Garlic Festival. I knew at first glance that he was a very special dog, so adorable with one blue and one brown eye. I just had to give him a forever home. He was THE ONE.
Joyful Rescues had a pretty exhaustive adoption process. After about ten days of background checks we were able to drive down and pick him up. I sat with him in the back seat while my wife drove us home, just offering him a warm touch and comfort to ease his anxieties about the change happening in his life. But he was as chill as could be and took it all in stride.
The Middle Years
Over twelve years, we had so much fun together. My wife and I love to go on little daily adventures. There are so many wonderful places to visit here in NY. Keebler, when he was younger and healthier, almost always went with us. We traveled to Letchworth Park, the Finger Lakes, or to our most favorite place of all, Longpoint State Park at Chautauqua Lake.
While Keebler had short legs, he enjoyed getting outdoors and going for walks. Keebler also loved water. No matter where we were, he’d find the water, whether a creek bed (which to my Grandson’s amusement, I pronounce it as “crick”), or lake shores, Keebler would always wander out up to his chest and just plunk down and sit in the water. He didn’t like to swim. But getting refreshed in the cool water on a hot summer day was a special joy of his.
Over the years, I always thought of Keebler as his own being, his own life. I was just spending time with him. I tried giving him independence, care, security, and so much love. But truth be told, it was Keebler who was really doing most of the giving.
Keebler was an anchor for me, for my grandkids, my wife, and even my mom and our neighbors around us. We all came to adore and love him. But more than that, he came to support each of us in unique ways. My grandkids would literally (and metaphorically) lean on him. Keebler wasn’t exactly a hugger or a smoocher kind of dog, but he was always there to lean on. He was a rock. . . solid, strong, always smiling. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that Keebler was a better Christian than most of the “Christians” I know. Loving. Caring. Compassionate. Forgiving. Thoughtful. There wasn’t a mean or hateful part at all to him.
He was always just a kind soul.
You see, it is Keebler who was the inspiration for Crazy Dog Living. All of the seven tenets of The Way of the Crazy Dog are inspired by the life we shared together. Keebler taught me and my family so many lessons about living life better. So I created Crazy Dog Living as a way of helping to share all of the life lessons he (and dogs in general) taught me and my family and to ultimately help others to live life a little better.
The End of a Journey
Did you ever see the Disney movie “Up!”. The essence of it is that it is the EVERYDAY that is the special day in life and that before you know it, those days can be gone in an instant. If we don’t pay attention, we may fail to realize how precious those days were.
As Keebler aged, his body began to fade, but his heart and soul never diminished. Keebler had hip issues, hearing issues, cataracts in his eyes, “old dog disease” and so may other problems. He got ABS, or what I called, “achey bone syndrome”. We put him on CBD oil, prescribed by our vet, which helped provide him a bit of comfort.
I never thought Keebler would make Christmas this past year (2022). During Summer/Fall 2022, he was really beginning to struggle with old age. But blessedly, he did. And then he made it to New Year’s and Easter Sunday. But as Spring arrived, Keebler’s struggles worsened. He had problems getting up off the floor and couldn’t really roll over by himself. I provided doggy hospice care for as far as I could until it seemed as if Keebler was just too uncomfortable all the time. I gave him “lift assists” when he needed to be carried down the steps to do his doggy business, and back up the steps to resume laying down comfortably on the floor next to me.
Making the call to send your loved fur baby over the Rainbow Bridge is one of the hardest thing a pet owner has to do. I had hoped Keebler would expire naturally, but didn’t want him to suffer. So we took him to the vet on April 27, 2023 and helped him to cross the Rainbow Bridge. We stayed with him that morning until the last light faded from his eyes.
There is a hole in my heart that is deep and wide. And while I know that will heal with time, I will never be able to forget Keebler. In many ways, he was the best part of me, though he was his own being, a constant companion who was there by my side through all my ups and downs.
New Beginnings and a Legacy
Crazy Dog Living was created prior to Keebler’s final walk over the Rainbow Bridge. During our many years together, Keebler taught me so many life lessons and brought me so much joy. The Way of the Crazy Dog, tenet #1, “Be Loving and Kind” is perhaps the greatest lesson of them all.
Keebler was a better practicing Christian than most of the “Christians” I know. Loving. Kind. Caring. Compassionate. Supportive. Genuine. Forgiving. Peaceful. As a Christian myself, I know our animal friends aren’t theologically “saved”. Like birds, bees, trees, flowers, our world is made of many things that God provided for us. He called us to be good Stewards of this world, of the animals and all that is in it.
The thing is, after experiencing life with Keebler, it is clear to me that Keebler proved to be a faithful steward of my family, friends, and neighborhood.
So Crazy Dog Living will continue to do it’s best to share stories of how Keebler and our other fur babies help to teach us lessons on how to live our own lives better. Perhaps one day, I’ll be the best human Keebler expected and desired of me. Keebler’s legacy and soul will continue to live on here.
If I could wave a magic wand, I would want Keebler’s lessons on how to be loving and kind to become more influential and to catch fire. Our world is full of those who are in need of reminders that we all can be better, more kind and loving people. We all want to be loved, valued, and appreciated. We all want to live life with dignity and happiness. There is far too much anger and hatred today. That has to stop. We truly need to un-harden our hearts and learn to become loving and kind again as a society.
Thank you, Keebler, for sharing your life with me, my family, and with those in our little pocket of this world. You’re heart and soul was a gift that will be cherished and remembered.
God bless you, my Crazy Dog! You were the best part of me. May you be at peace.
Until we meet again on that Rainbow Bridge one day soon.