Our big sweet doggie-friend passed away this week.
Since Sunday night, we have missed hearing his footsteps on the wood floor downstairs, his paws scratching on the door asking to be let out, his friendly furry face greeting us when we come home, his presence at the front door guarding the premises, the crunching noises he made when he ate, his handsome weight causing a creaky noise on the stairs, the sound of his tongue licking his chops, his nose sniffing our food to see what we’ve got… and all the other usual sights and sounds and activities you miss when someone you love is no longer around.
It’s been hardest for me in the mornings when I walk back from the bus stop after my daughter leaves for school. My usual routine was to take him out for a walk around the neighborhood. He would hear me approaching the house and step up to the front door to look at me through the window, excited to have another chance to roam.
There is no one waiting for me there anymore.
It’s strange not to hear the constant opening and closing of doors, too, as he liked to come in and out several times before deciding where he wanted to take a nap. Lately, it had been on his outdoor bed, basking in the unseasonably warm weather under the glow of bright sunlight.
He went by several names in our house. Previous to being our dog, he had lived for a few years with a family that called him Codie. They gave him up to a shelter when their family (apparently) broke apart. When we claimed him there, he had been given his original name back, Muncie. So we, too, called him that… and variations of it:
Mr. Muncie Bear
Mr. Beary Bear
Puppy the Bear
… among others.
As his misterly names reveal… he was best known by us as a gentleman.
And he had a theme song. All of our pets do/did.
His went like this:
Muncie, Muncie, Muncie Bear
The doggiest bear in the whole wide world
You’re a dog, you’re not a bear
You’re Mr. Muncie Bear…
And you’ve got fur for hair!
(The last line is sung with bravado. And the entire song is embellished with clapping to the beat, until the last line when you add jazz hands.)
Mr. Bear was a good, sweet doggie who never complained about anything… and he probably could have complained about a lot of things if he had found it important to do so. Instead, he just stayed calm and cool as the voice of reason in the house.
We had him for nearly 5 years and loved him every second of it.
Here is a description his foster mom had created for him in his younger years: Meet Muncie.
This is the description of him that made my daughter fall in love with him in 2011: Muncie at FOHA.
And this is the story I wrote for FOHA’s newsletter in 2012, describing how we found and chose Muncie to be ours: Mr. Muncie Bear Story.
We still have Kitty, of course. She knows her buddy Muncie is gone, but doesn’t quite know where. We have found her sitting in or staring at his usual places this week… as if emphasizing the fact that he is not there… or that she is looking for him.
We had gotten him for her in a way, too. The first year she joined us (she was found on the side of the road by someone when she was just about 5 weeks old)… she didn’t put on much weight. We knew she needed a friend. It was either time to get another cat or take a chance on a dog. My daughter fell in love with Muncie, so we chose him… and very soon, Kitty’s health began to improve. She needed him as much as we did.
He was our “man about the house”.
My last memory of him is watching him run toward me into my arms on Sunday morning with a smile on his face — all the way back from the field across the street, after a good long walk with my daughter. She had the honor of spending time with him as he made his last rounds along his stomping grounds. And I had the pleasure of holding him in my arms for a snugly hug.
Just hours later, we lost him.
It is hard to let you go, Mr. Bear.
We have loved you very much.