Marlie had such a tender relationship with Mitch. It was as if she knew he was sick and cuddled with him whenever possible, contrary to puppy instincts which would have had her running around instead. Yesterday marked 6 months since our son’s passing … and when we arrived at the cemetery Marlie was so .... different. Almost reverent. Our hearts were quiet ... and grateful.

In February, when Marlie visited him at the hospital she was much, much smaller and would wiggle her baby tail, wobble up to him and kiss his smiling face and then lay right next to him. Mitch would then play with her little paws, tickle her tummy and talk to her softly. He loved this puppy – and she seemed to love him. 

On the night of his passing Marlie was especially tender with Mitch. By that evening he couldn’t open his eyes but could squeeze our hands gently to let us know he heard our words. Marlie would lay under one of his hands while he would softly move his fingers as if to pet her. I was so moved by that sweet exchange I turned my camera to them and filmed it. It would only take a few seconds watching that before my eyes became engulfed with tears.

While Mitch was slipping deeper and deeper into the abyss he seemed to find comfort that she was near him – and she never left his side. By the time he passed away, Marlie had crawled to his pillow and curled around his head. I have photos of this, too. It is tender beyond description and still very hard for me to look at. I wonder if Marlie sensed he was slipping away and went to his head to comfort him. I would like to think so … 

What I do know is there were things unspoken between them that said more than words can ever say; and it was curious to see. This little dog, Mitchell’s loyal companion, would have done anything to make him happy and seemed to know just how to comfort him as long as they had each other.

Marlie is full-grown now and Mitch would have loved to see what she looks like. He always called her his little Polar Bear. 

As hard as it is to keep and care for a pet, when I stop and think about the economy of it all, it would seem they pay us back in spades. 

Tender mercy #1,002.