Time to say good-bye to Bono

Watery brown eyes. Terrible breath. Hair that falls out in clumps, yet blows in the wind. An obsession with bowel movements and the next opportunity to eat. Strange sleeping patterns, yet an incredible energy to run for miles when getting the opportunity. An insatiable appetite for ice cream and products made of liver. A need for catching something in the mouth and rolling over for a piece of baked corn meal.

Those characteristics belonged to two of my greatest loves. It may be hard to understand how someone can fall in love with someone who holds those interests, for those who never have. But for anyone who’s ever loved an animal, it’s as natural as breathing, falling in love.

For 14-plus years, I was in love with someone — other than my husband. The beauty of the arrangement was that my husband loved him just as much as I did. Bono was more than just a dog — he was part of our family. In my sisterCrystal’s wedding video, shown to her guests, there she was shown as a child with her “little brother Bono.” He went for rides in the “big truck,” he accidentally swam in the neighbor’s pool, he purposefully went to the elementary school in Elgin to greet Crystal’s teacher, Mrs. Thorberg, and fellow students and he slept at the foot of the bed after he got too old to jump up on it.

Keesha was a new addition to the family a few years ago after Bono’s first wife died. His heartbreak prompted us to find someone comparable in age and interests. We found Keesha — perfect for Bono — and they hit it off right away. But what she brought to the table was so interesting in her own right — she loved to lay outside with the wind blowing through her hair, her vice was popcorn, and she hated the vacuum cleaner. She jingled when she walked — both from her special collar and the dance in her eyes — and she loved to lean against the bathtub while I was in it.

For so may years, our life revolved around feeding time, peeing time, play time, bed time. It had to do with walking on the trails and their favorite poles to relieve themselves. It involved “going for a ride” on Saturdays and sleeping in the camper during the races.

Our fuzzy 50-pounders were so intuitive to our emotions — you cry, they lick your face. We danced in the livingroom, they danced and slid on the wood floor. We slept, we snored, they slept and snored. We ate, they begged for treats. And they always greeted us when we came home.

But as all lifelong commitments are made, they also end because that’s a fact of life. This weekend, we made the horrible decision to call it over. The zest for life was ending, ill health of these 15-year-old dogs was becoming more obvious. It came time for us to decide whether Bono and Keesha was loving life anymore and they weren’t. We had to say good-bye.

For those of us who have loved an animal, you know how real it is. The house is now quiet, and literally a piece of me is gone. The only thing jingling are my keys in my pocket and water dish is empty and packed away for the first time in nearly two decades.

While I feel sorry for myself, my husband reminds me that it was the right thing to do, although it’s hard for him too. I know we made the right decision. It was time.

Through the years, we’ve encountered great people who were great friends to the hairy couple, too — Dick and Janet Lynch who made them part of the family while we took our first real vacation, 4 Paws for treating them so wonderful at the “spa,” and Gloysteins Vet Clinic for being so incredible every time we’ve been there, especially the last. Thank you to the police department for helping with the hunt when Bono was feeling “vivacious,” and to our neighbors for allowing them to visit.

I miss the bad breath and the “liver pate.” I miss the snoring that was almost human. Most of all, I miss the barking when I come and go, and the snuggling and the love. But I’m glad they’re better off and old age isn’t bothering them anymore. Their frustration with growing old is over.

What a great love affair it was . . . but eventually it was time to say good-bye.

 

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