After 12 years of loyal service as both a wonderful pet and an always at the ready under the table vacuum, Lenny the Wonderpug has left us. Lenny loved naps, anyone who would stop to pet him, babies, rides in the truck, and any kind of food as long as it wasn't bananas. If a banana fell on the floor (and with 4 kids...a whole lot of bananas have rained down over the years), Lenny would suddenly become a snobbish connoisseur of all things fine floor dining and, much to my exasperation, would choose to eat everything within a one inch radius of those foul, under-seasoned bananas.
For 12 years, Lenny has been a (pudgy, heavy breathing) constant in my life. He was the roly poly runt of the litter way back in that trailer in the Everglades. He was there to snuggle a newborn Amelia...something that became a tradition with each brand new baby. He was there as an anchor of snuffly familiarity for both me and Amelia through the divorce. He went up with Jake a few weeks before I moved to Georgia in order to cover the floor with dog hair so I'd immediately feel at home. (In all, he moved 7 times in his 12 years of life and he took it all in stride.) He was waiting for us on the front steps when we brought Eli home and he laid on the floor next to my side of the bed and stayed there (despite a kitchen full of people and possibly dropped labor lasagna) after Silas was born. He shuffled along next to me as I tried to walk after Quill's cesarean. He's been patient with every child who used him as a pillow and showed his excitement to be a truck dog with a tail wag that rocked his whole back half.
He's been the always snoring lump right where you really need to stand for over a decade and I'm ashamed to admit that I've been more frustrated with him than not in his final years. He handled his own aging better than I did...I was too impatient with him and I saw his decline as a burden. I didn't pay enough attention to him or make the time I once did for him. It's a regret that I didn't really understand until these last few days when it was obvious that the end was near.
I've been making myself feel better by trying to believe that I made it right in the end. On his last night, I fluffed his bed and helped him into it. I scratched his ears and told him how good he was. That we loved him and we were grateful for the time he gave us and there would never be another Lenny Lou.
I hope he knew that he was loved.