Old Man Joe and His Dog


The Old Man was moving slower these days as a myriad of age-related difficulties combined to impede his progress…image

It wasn’t anything that could keep him from his daily ritual though, quite the contrary. It seemed to make him all the more resilient and determined to get up get out, to accomplish his mission which was he said, to meet with his other equally senior friends at the local coffee shop.

But we knew better didn’t we, that it was the way he loved his dog and yes, his name was, you guessed it, Fido.

Makes you smile doesn’t it? Joe and Fido.

Those of us who knew Joe knew it was because of Fido that he was up and about at all. At the not so tender age of ninety-three there wasn’t much that could get Joe going these days. I mean, he was pretty darn old after all.

Joe was one of those increasingly infrequent finds now, a WW2 veteran who fought and survived the D-Day invasion of 1944. As Joe thought back to that time so many years before, when he was trying to literally sink down in the sand on Utah Beach. Shells flying over head, machine gun bullets chattering across the beach… tat tat tata tat. Towards the end of the day Joe was amazed to find that he was still alive and as he peered through the cloudy haze blanketing the beach, he saw a ghost-like apparition coming towards him. Was he startled? You’d better believe he was, but quickly regained his wits when he realized it was just a small dog. A little dog that was scared sh… that is, scared stiff, and looked as though he was starving to death. So our friend Joe just scooped up that puppy right there and they became fast friends, bosom buddies you might say.

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“Us two, why we were inseparable”, Joe would like to say. For a little while anyway, until after a few days the fighting progressed to a point of intensity that they were separated and never saw one another from that day forward. But Joe had thought about that little dog over the years and when he did, it never failed to bring a smile to his face.

And life goes on, doesn’t it?

Joe was old now but he was still “sharp as a tack” as the saying goes. After returning from the war all those many years ago, Joe met and married Agatha, his wife of almost sixty-five years. How he missed her now. “Sixty-five years is a long time just knowing yourself much less another person”, Joe once said, and in this case Agatha being his soul mate as he liked to echo what his children called them, yes soul mates. Too bad that his children were gone too, taken in a freak accident at a family picnic a few years back. Sad, very sad.image

But Joe kept on plugging along, one day after the other, one hour at a time, one moment at a time. And now, Joe found that he was down to one breath at a time, just one breath.

The time arrived for Joe’s final breath, this time, his one last breath.

Oh, but Joe wasn’t alone when he breathed his last, no he wasn’t alone. You see, Fido was there with him with a paw in his master’s right hand, his muzzle in the old man’s face as if trying to infuse him if he could with his own stale, warm breath.image

This dog loved his master and yet in his own infinite sadness at the loss of Joe and finding himself ultimately alone, he knew it was time. Yes, it was time for Joe to go, to leave this earthly body and move on to other things, better things. After all, isn’t this what the Good Book says?

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Yes, the wisdom in his own heart told Fido this was so. He had to let go, to let go of Joe.

So as he faded from existence, Joe kept his eyes on his faithful companion.

His spirit quietly leaving his body, I swear you could see a tear drop from Fido’s eyes. I mean, I never heard of a dog crying before, but this day, this old dog shed a tear for his master.

Fido shed a tear… a tear for himself and a tear for Joe.

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~ by Vinnie on July 11, 2015.

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