Yesterday, I said goodbye to my best friend. I lost something that made a meaningful impact on my life every single day. Anne and I hadn’t talked about it much except between ourselves but Braveheart had been sick for a while and we were running out of options to help him get better. This week, we exhausted all our options but one and we knew we couldn’t let him suffer.

The decision to put your dog down is an impossible one to make. The emotion of it is overwhelming. Even when you know in your head you’re doing what is best for the dog, your heart breaks at the thought of letting him go. You’re losing a piece of your family, a piece of yourself. The bond between a man and his dog is unlike anything else in the world and Braveheart and I shared something truly special. 

I know Braveheart would want us to remember him at his best and not to shed any tears that he’s not there to lick up. You don’t get many opportunities in life to truly say goodbye but we were blessed with that opportunity. For the dog that gave us everything he had up until his last day, this is for you.

Braveheart,

You were my best friend and my sidekick. You were my righthand man, always by my side never to be left out of any excitement. I still have the very first picture we ever took together.

First Pic

You stepped in when I couldn’t be there to help Anne through her first year of law school in a new city. You kept her safe and you kept her from being lonely. You made sure she got up at 6:30am on the dot every single day when it was time for your breakfast. In your own way, you even helped her study.

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I’ll never be able to thank you for what you did that first year. She’ll always remember how you pooped 5 times (a record that would never be broken) within the first 20 minutes of meeting her, all over Emory’s perfectly manicured lawn. You were only supposed to stay with Anne for a few days but after that first night you curled up in the bed together she knew you’d be in our lives forever, even if you were very confused by her massaging slippers.

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When I finally made it down to Atlanta, I had a very difficult time adjusting. I left a lot behind to come to Atlanta: a job I enjoyed, a great apartment in an awesome neighborhood, and all my friends nearby. There was never any question or regret about joining you and Anne in Atlanta but it would be disingenuous to say I didn’t struggle with the transition. Anne and I learned a lot about ourselves that year and our relationship flourished because you kept us grounded. When we were stressed you were always there as a source of calm and helped us put all the petty disagreements into perspective. We became a family that year and we’ll never forget you for that.

On top of that, I  owe you a personal debt of gratitude for everything you did to help me adjust to life working from home in an unfamiliar city. I knew only one other person in the entire state of Georgia when we moved here but having you keep me company during the day I never felt alone. Whenever I was stressed, I would just look over to my favorite co-worker slacking off as usual.

BH Sleeping in the Office

Now that I’m back to working from home, I’m going to miss you more than ever during the day.  I used to joke that “if you could shit inside I’d never leave the house” but in a lot of ways that was true; you got me to leave the house, breathe the fresh air, and experience life with you by my side. You taught me life balance, priorities, and responsibility. You reminded me that there are never enough hours in the day to get done everything you want to but there’s always time to go for a walk.

As much as I loved having you around every day, you weren’t always the calm, snoozing lump in the corner. More often than not you led to more goofing off than anything else.

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One thing I learned: there’s no way to avoid the mid-day kiss attack!

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However, I can say with complete certainty that I’d take a kiss attack over a butt attack any day of the week.

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I always knew when it was time to clock out for the day, never did learn how to say no to that face peaking out from under the desk.

Time for Walks

Atlanta was your home before it was ours and we’ll be forever grateful to Patti at Caring4Creatures for bringing you to us. We made our own memories in ATL since you joined us, like the time you jumped into a strangers car at Piedmont Park just so you could go for a ride. Or the time that you wandered onto the set of The Change Up and Anne stumbled right into Jason Bateman. You even helped us scout some locations for our eventual engagement photo shoot.

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Good to know you eventually learned how to take a good picture, our first attempt at a family portrait was not your best effort.

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As long as it wasn’t raining, you always loved being outside. Even if it was cold, you just bundled up in your sweaters and off you’d go. You look so dashing.

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You had so many things you loved to do outside. You loved to zoom.

You loved your sticks. There was never a stick too big or too bulky for you to want to bring home.

For the ones that seemed like they might be too big, you channeled your inner beaver and went right to tearing it apart.

We knew you only wanted to gnaw on the sticks or play tug, but you indulged us when we wanted to play fetch. You were so good at it and I’ll always have fond memories of you coming over the hill at your favorite library.

I remember when we taught you to swim. You were terrified of going in the water. I had to wade in chest-deep at Lullwater Park while Anne coaxed you to “get ‘im.” At first you didn’t realize how to use your back legs so you kicked frantically using only your front paws. Not gonna lie, you looked pretty silly swimming vertically through the water but after a while you became a pro.

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We took you back to Lullwater on your birthday last year, sporting your birthday bandana.

King of the Pond

You were our ticket into the Brown Dog Party, introducing us to your girlfriends Lola and Amelia.

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The Brown Dog Party happened to have some pretty cool owners themselves, always looking for a good time. You were, of course, never left out of the adventures, like sneaking into the pool after hours. We couldn’t get you to swim but it wasn’t for lack of trying.

Swimming Pool

Lola and Amelia aren’t the only pups that are going to miss you, your cousin Cookie will miss her running buddy most of all.

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You always loved going on road trips, whether 3 minutes up the road or 600+ miles from Atlanta to Virginia. You were my co-pilot, my wingman, and my trusted companion. No matter how long the trip was, I always had my big guy right there next to me.

Braveheart Sitting Shotgun

Sometimes, you even got it in your head that you would take a turn at driving. Too bad you never learned to drive stick!

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Our trips would take us all over the place and whenever we could we brought you along for the adventure. You were one of the guys during Bros Weekend 2013 in St. Augustine, running along the beach and swimming in the ocean. When we hit some golf balls into the ocean at 3am, you ran right in after them and brought back the ones that didn’t go too far. I didn’t think it was possible but you found a way to sniff them out. You were my tag team partner during Beer Quadrathalon even if you did tackle me during one of my record-breaking runs.

You kept me company at beautiful Lake Rabun when everyone went for a hike and I had to work.

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You trekked to the Outer Banks and basked in the warm sun and sand.

Anne & BH in NC

Brett & BH in NC

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And you went in the ocean for the first time.

You were Villanova’s biggest fan and learned from your daddy that there are No Sleeves on Gameday!

No Sleeves BH Game Day

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Your Villanova pride went beyond Wildcat basketball, following in my footsteps as an Ultimate player.

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You took to the game naturally, of course.

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Here is indisputable proof that you are truly the dog of an Ultimate player. I’m sure you would have skied me on this one.

Good to know you also learned the only true use for a Tony Romo football.

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Anne never cared much for baseball until you became one of of the poster dogs for Bark and the Park.

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When I would do my video projects, you were always right there by my side. You were my trusted dingo in the Australian Outback.

You were there when we recreated the 2007 Superbowl game, where one of our favorite Giants’ fans got really into his team.

You were always at my side, even when you had no idea what the hell I was doing.

You did leave something to be desired as a dance partner, but I suppose when I dance like that you had every right to try and make me stop.

We’re especially going to miss you a lot this Christmas, we know it was one of your favorite holidays.

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What are we going to use for a tree this year without you?

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BH Christmas Tree

You were with us when we put up our custom stockings; your name was too long so we had to pick one of your many nicknames.

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I’m sorry you never got a chance to meet Santa, I promise we’ll keep an eye out for him again this year.

Looking for Santa

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If we do ever find him, we’ll make sure to give him one of the Braveheart-inspired Christmas cookies, custom-made in your likeness.

Christmas Cookies

Christmas wasn’t your only holiday though, you loved showing off your American pride on the 4th of July.

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And we can’t forget Halloween. I’ll never find another cowboy quite like you.

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That said, for my sake I hope I do find another doctor that is a little more qualified.

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At least I’ll try and find a doc that doesn’t fall asleep on the job.

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 I won’t be one to begrudge you your sleep though, you look so damn cute when you curl up in a ball.

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sleepy BH

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Or stretch out for your naps.

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Sleeping wasn’t just a hobby for you, it was an art form. Your ability to nest using whatever happened to be available at the time is unrivaled.

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To be honest, I wish you were a little less nest-happy it would certainly have made folding laundry easier.

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No nest was ever quite the same as the real thing; you never missed a chance to weasel into our bed.

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By all means, Braveheart, make yourself at home.

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Sometimes it didn’t matter what we did, you were not giving up your spot on the bed.

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When it came right down to it, you were really able to sleep anywhere.

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At the end of the day, there was no more desirable sleeping position than right in there with your family.

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Sleeping w: Brett

BH & Anne Sleeping Off the Raiders Naptime

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Didn’t even matter if I was playing video games, when the opportunity to sleep with your family was there you never passed it up. It’s OK though, I could always say my restricted movement was why I was so terrible at Xbox.

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Except for the Wii, we know you always hated the Wii.

You were right though, we shouldn’t be wasting our time with video games when we can make up our own games, like turning the apartment into an obstacle course.

Or throwing your favorite toy to see how high you can jump.

Or convincing you that you really can dig to China.

You always loved your toys and unlike any other dog I’ve ever known, you never got tired of them. You would cycle through one by one until we played with them all.

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You will always be our silly goose, even if you did get stuck playing “the floor is lava” when we moved in to our new hardwood floors.

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You got people to think differently about rescue dogs, showing them that all a rescue needs is a home where he can love and be loved. That’s all you ever wanted. I will watch your All a Rescue Needs video anytime I miss your big, goofy face.

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You were my partner-in-crime planning my proposal to make our family official. We’re going to miss you a lot on our wedding day, a day that embodies everything you ever wanted: love, trust, and family. I’ll keep your dog tag in my jacket pocket, right over my heart.

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Your help with the proposal even earned you celebrity status in the local paper. Extra! Extra!

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Your love was infectious and I will miss staring into your big brown eyes. That’s one of the things I’m going to miss the most, your big, expressive brown eyes in your oversized head, right in front of your squat little nosey.

Hey guys, is that cheeseburger for me??

We miss you so much Braveheart and we want so badly to have you back in our lives. It physically hurts to think about waking up without you groaning at the foot of the bed. I miss all your nicknames: Goose, the Sir, Mr. Brave, Johan von Stinkerson, Wiggleson McButt, and countless more. I miss making up jingles about you and singing them as I cooked dinner. I miss the way you cocked your head to the side when you knew it was time for your walks. I miss your uncontrollable excitement when you would see your friends, your whole body wiggling until you just couldn’t keep it in anymore and had to leap into the air to release the energy. I miss the noises you made when you slept and watching you twitch as you chased things in your dreams. I miss the way your momma looked at you with pure happiness and you how you looked right back. I miss your bald ears and your speckled belly. I miss the way you smelled like cornchips. I miss the way you were always there to listen, never judgmental no matter what we were going through. I miss that, even with all your great qualities, you were kind of a dick. Anne and I aren’t perfect and neither were you, you had your own personality flaws and your own way of doing things. You were honest and true to yourself and helped us be the same.

We knew what you loved, what you hated, and what you would merely tolerate for our sakes. We would hold you while we cried, cuddle you when we couldn’t sleep, and argue over the best way to care for you because no matter how little we agreed on we agreed that you should have the best of everything. You came with us everywhere, our constant companion and friend. You touched so many lives and we feel blessed to have had you in our lives in such a meaningful way.

Losing you left a giant hole in our hearts but I know before too long the sadness will go away and it will be filled with all the great memories of our time together. You brought our new family closer together helped mold me into the man I am today. Your momma always said you would outlive me (by 50 years, in fact) so we will carry you in our hearts always and you will live there forever. We miss you more than anything and saying goodbye to you was the hardest thing either of us has ever had to do. We know you’re looking down on us, wiggling your nub of a tail and making your honking sounds for our attention. We will never forget you and everything you mean to us.

I love you buddy.

Snyder Family Photo - Brett, Anne, Braveheart

 

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