Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Good Dog, General

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” - Josh Billings

This week my family said goodbye to my brother's dog, General. He may have lived with our parents, but General was Thomas's dog all the way! 

In 2002, when Sis and I came home for Thanksgiving break, Mom had a surprise: We were going to Water Valley and picking up an English Labrador Retriever to surprise Thomas. He'd been talking about getting a hunting dog for ages. I'm glad I didn't have to keep that secret for very long. 

We left him in Thomas's room and when Thomas and Dad came in from hunting we all stood on alert outside Thomas's door. He came out and said, "Is this a joke?" Why would we joke about that!?! Who would do that!?!

Needless to say, they were a dynamic duo from Day 1. General slept in his bed until one night Thomas had a dream where General was growling at him and told Thomas it was time he slept somewhere else. After that, General slept nearby, but not in, the bed.

He never went through the typical chew-on-everything-in-the-house like so many labs. He took on T's laid-back attitude and never caused a fuss about much. I may be romanticizing this bit as I was away at college for his puppyhood, but it seems that General just fit right in and we soon couldn't imagine home without him. 

T is telling me to quit taking pictures of his puppy!

Thomas spent hours working with General to turn him into a bird hunting dog. We were all so impressed with both of them. If Dad and/or Thomas wasn't planning on taking him hunting, they'd have to go about hiding the preparation because General would get so excited. And then they'd feel too guilty to not let him tag along.

Besides bird hunting together, General also watched over Thomas when he water skied at Lake Sardis. General would stand at the back of the boat and bark the entire time Thomas was skiing. He didn't do that for anyone else. It was a little insulting!

When Thomas went to Ole Miss, it was so hard on General. He'd wait for days at the end of the driveway looking for T's truck to pull into the cove. I think that was harder on my mom than having an empty nest! For everyone's sake, General joined Thomas for his last few years at Ole Miss - and was quite popular among the residents on South Lamar. He'd take himself on a walk and some cute girl would take him back. Thomas's roommates loved him! 

And in more recent times, he's been the perfect playmate to Mary Thorne. This precious girl loves a dog. I took these pictures last summer. She was trying to copy everything he did. 


I don't think it gets any cuter than a baby in pajamas and old dog. 

And this duck hunting dog even had a soft spot for baby ducks. My parents had two baby ducks for a short time a few months ago, and they thought General was their mama. They would just waddle around after him. 

I know it's such a blessing to have a dog love you and to love a dog. It's so hard when it's time to say goodbye. But I truly believe all dogs do go to heaven. 

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