Losing Our Beloved Dog Silence. Dead silence. Just over three weeks ago we unexpectedly lost our beloved Australian Shepherd Buck. We were all completely unprepared for how much his loss would impact us. Buck was 7 years old and a big ball of fluffy. Two days before he died my 18 year old son was petting him and playing with him and I said, “Boy are you going to miss that dog someday.” He said, “I know, right?” I don’t know why I said it. In the moment I was simply keenly aware of the bond between that dog and the boy. We had no idea Buck was so sick. We knew we loved him, but we had no idea how much “life” he brought to our home. When we came home without the dog I was overwhelmed with the knowledge that the unconditional love giver was gone. All five of our boys went to the dog for hugs when they were sad or down. Buck was a hugger. He would wrap his paws around your leg and use his neck and head to engulf you in his fluffy hug. It’s been a hard three weeks. Lots of tears. Lots of hugs. Lots of big sighs. I never bonded with a dog before Buck. Our boys never bonded with a dog before either. We learned so much from our fluffy friend: unconditional love prancing makes everyone smile smart dogs understand your language it’s fun to play hugs and cuddles are never outgrown love is the core Here is a tribute from our son to his dog… There are different types of friends. There are friends who you talk to every once in a while and are able to catch up with immediately no matter what has happened. There are friends who will do everything with you: goof off, go to the movies, read books… Then there is another kind of friend, the one that adores you despite your flaws, the one that gives you hugs at random intervals, the one that constantly wants to play and hang out with you and your family. In fact, this type of friend is so loving and so close to you that he or she is a member of your family. My dog, Buck, was a beautiful example of this kind of friend. For the past seven years we laughed at his goofy and energetic attitude, his loving cuddles, and his passion to stick with his pack in any situation. Yesterday, Buck was being as ornery as usual: giving us hugs, pawing to play, and running around the house (which always drives my mother crazy). At around lunchtime he came up to me and gave me a paw and a look that said he wanted attention. As usual, I couldn’t refuse those gentle brown eyes. Then dinner came and Buck threw up his dinner. He wasn’t doing well, that was clear: shaky body and pink rings around his eyes. So naturally we brought him to the vet. Once we arrived, he started to act better out of mere excitement, tail wagging and all. But of course we knew he still wasn’t feeling himself. A couple of X-rays later, we discovered what made him feel this way: a tumor. Oh the irony! Out of all the people in the family to love on the most, out of all the dogs my family could get, we got one with a tumor and he was sure I was his master. We were the tumor buddies without even knowing it. But different from my situation, Buck was in pain and there was very little we could do about it. With one look at those X-rays I think we all knew what was coming. We talked with the vet, who was very supportive and understanding. She agreed it was probably the best and most loving option. He was brought in, tail slightly wagging when he saw us not understanding my our eyes were getting teary. We had a couple minutes to say our reluctant goodbyes. He walked over and laid down, putting a weak paw in my hand as I lay next to him and looked into his beautiful eyes. Then, when we were as ready as we were going to get, we called over the vet. Buck peacefully passed away last night at around 10:45, knowing that we loved him very much. Though I am still saddened from watching one of my best friends pass, I am more thankful than I thought I would be. This experience made me remember all of the little things, the little memories that we love about our dog. We wished we had named him “Prancer” because he would constantly do just that whenever he played or got excited. Buck would sneeze whenever he got excited about something. Buck would smile by curling his lips away from his front teeth whenever he got nervous or really excited/relieved. The goofy dog would shake his butt whenever he relieved himself. He drove us all crazy at times, but he still loved us and we, him. But the best memory I have of him is his love for my family and me. He adored us no matter what and was always there to make us smile when he tried to love on us. This dog was a hugger: he would walk up to me, sit down at my feet, and rub the side of his head against my leg. What I am getting at is that Buck was a beautiful example of the type of people we should be: people who love everyone around them and have a passionate love for their Master. Everyone agreed that Buck considered me to be his master, something I tried not to openly agree to because he was such a wonderful family dog. You see, we could all learn from Buck. He loved his family, was excited and loving to any new person he met, and he adored and wanted to please his master. My friends, we are called to do the exact same thing. We are meant to be like Buck: loving everyone we meet, loving on our family and the Body of Christ, and following and adoring our wonderful Master, Jesus Christ the One True God and the Creator of Everything. To you who believe, I challenge you to love as my dog loved my family. I challenge you to not be afraid to show your love and passion for Our Perfect Master. To you who do not believe, know that I am praying for you and know that you are missing out on the greatest Gift anyone can ever give you: Salvation. God is Our perfect and loving Master and He sent His Only Son, whom He loved, to pay the penalty of our sins. Jesus Christ died on the cross for this purpose and rose three days later as a promise of eternity with Him if you accept His gift. Also know that I do love you, despite your imperfections and flaws because you were beautifully and wonderfully created by God. And above all else, know that God loves you and me more than we can possibly imagine. Thank you Jesus for Buck’s life and love that You fabricated into his being. Thank You for showing Your love and life through him. Thank you Father for the past 7 years. Even though he was taken sooner than we wished, thank You for loving Buck enough to let Him pass before he went under more pain. Lord, thank you for Buck. And though my good friend has passed on, I am very grateful for the spirit and example he left in our hearts and minds. I love you buddy and I miss you very much! Preview of the Heart of Homeschooling God’s Way Master Class. We need to STOP measuring success by grades, achievements, awards, and worksheets.