September 12, 2022 eblast:
For an all too
brief while, Little Tony Soprano had a big brother named Seven.
Maybe he was more like a grandpa.
was very old, actual age unknown. But ancient in Tony's opinion.
He coughed a lot these last few weeks. And
he startled easily whenever Tony accidently bumped into him.
Although, I suspect they weren't accidents. Tony doesn't do anything
What self-respecting wiseguy-in-training doesn't like to test their boundaries?
But Tony also likes
the nearness of those he loves.
He lives in a fascinating world filled with sounds, smells, and touch. That's how
he sees. Perhaps even better than we can.
I guess this is why I've taken on the role
of Narrator to Tony's unfolding story.
And I began that narration on our way home for the first time from the shelter this
But that first chapter was really no different than what I've narrated for every dog I've had the privilege
to take home to the repair shop.
I introduce myself, explain why this is the start of something special for both
of us, and so forth and so on.
They may fall asleep but I carry on anyway and I always tell the new guy or gal
a little bit about the beagles awaiting us at home.
So with my best Mary Poppins voice, I told
Tony about Seven and how he came to us at the end of February.
I told him how he revived my aching heart
after losing Cy and Lionel the month before.
And how he miraculously survived obvious neglect and eventual
abandonment. And sadly, I told him how his little partner, a senior female beagle, did not survive after they were both rescued
while wandering astray in a rural area on a cold winter's day.
I went on to say
how Seven had been in such poor condition and terrible health but slowly grew stronger and brighter at the shelter thanks
to the love and absolute adoration of his caregivers. So adored was he that I actually felt guilty for whisking him away from
his devoted entourage, each one present to say goodbye on his Gotcha Day, wishing him well as though he was royalty.
told Tony that I named him Seven for every day of his mandatory claim period that he remained unclaimed until he could be
released to our waiting arms.
It occurs to me now that it turned out his name also stood for
every month we spent adoring him as much as his caregivers at the shelter did, until heaven whisked him away from us this
I went on to tell Tony that Seven was much more than an old man with a bad cough
and too many health issues to mention.
I smiled at the memory when sharing with Tony how he would run
wonky like Forrest Gump, determined to prove to his new family that ain't nothin' gonna slow him down now that he had discovered
the joy of walks, taking the lead, beaming blissfully, tail in the air, ears flying.
Those joyful jaunts
were always followed by equally beloved beauty sleeps and loud snores, all the while with that smile on his face as though
he was having the best dream ever.
Maybe he was dreaming about meatloaf.
Had I known how
much he would grow to love his meatloaf on account of his need for soft food due to his horrid teeth that Cushings and a heart
condition prevented us from fixing, I might have named him that.
But the name Seven
stuck just as his memory always will deep within my constantly broken rescuer's heart.
As Queen Elizabeth
once said, "Grief is the price we pay for Love."
On Saturday, Tony (being a puppy in need
of constant supervision) accompanied us to the vets with our beautiful Seven who had lost his ability to run like Forrest
Gump, now cradled in my arms. That's when the new-guy-in did something just as beautiful. Reaching out to find his wise old
grandpa whom he so loved to bump into intentionally, Tony ever so gently, careful not to startle, kissed Seven goodbye.
beautiful as that kiss was, I felt such sadness that Tony had to experience a loss like this at such a tender age when everything
should be sunshine, rainbows and squeaky toys. But perhaps he learned something important. Perhaps he now sees, in the very
special way Tony sees things, that our love for him will last a lifetime. Just as it has for every beagle we've paid the price
to love that came before him and for every beagle yet to come.
a candle for our Seven tonight. It seems Heaven must be lit up so brightly this year.
All that missed beauty lighting up a beautiful place
just beyond our reach.