The first time I met Angus I liked him instantly. We quickly became fast friends; he was a good time guy, funny, always entertaining, affable and up for anything. I had, to this point in my life, never met anyone so uniquely positive and consistently happy. I soon found myself relying upon him to pick me up during times of stress or difficulty; he was unfailingly reliable and good-natured in his performance of this duty. His counsel was always wise and always the same: life is for living, trouble only fleeting. Enjoy what God has provided and show your gratefulness with unbridled enthusiasm. His faithfulness and zest for life captured the hearts of my family as well, and all of us quickly grew to love him as though he were one of us.
He was first and foremost a kind and warm-hearted soul, but inside him boiled the inherent feistiness of a proud and true Scotsman. Though small in stature, he walked with the confident swagger of one much larger and, when forced to take the offensive, he attacked with the ferocity of a kilted warrior. Clearly, this was someone comfortable in his own skin, possessing and exhibiting only the best and most endearing qualities available to the male order and someone with whom I was pleased and proud to stand beside, to call my dearest friend.
Angus’ finest quality was his unquenchable thirst for life. He was up for anything; I can’t recall him ever turning down an opportunity to go do something. A simple walk together, a day trip by car, whatever; his answer to any outing was always the same: Let’s go. Whenever possible, we would ask Angus along on family excursions and were blessed by his inevitable assent and utter joy to be included. We were all the better for having him come along.
After many years Angus began to show his age; a couple of battles with those larger and stronger than he only served to hasten the process. He was nearly blind and deaf, his movements slower and more deliberate, and his personality more withdrawn. He retained his good nature, but slowly stepped back from his role as consoler, entertainer and confidant. Predictably and perhaps selfishly, though each of us still loved him, we sought him out less often and our lives became less entwined.
Angus had always enjoyed the outdoors and in particular the garden behind our house. This past Sunday he went out to dawdle through the yard like he always did, taking time to enjoy God’s splendor – the plants, the flowers, the birds, the smells – only this time he didn’t come back inside. We found him in the garden, lying alone in the deafening stillness of death. How tragic to have lost someone so dear without the chance to have said goodbye one last time; how devastating to have allowed the illusion of seemingly infinite time to postpone an opportunity to show someone how much we loved them; and how painful the sudden finality of death in revealing just how dear that someone was to us.
Farewell, sweet and gentle Angus. We already miss you beyond that which words can express. I, for one and for certain, will never forget you. You were the best dog I have ever known.