Parker and I have been best friends for a very long time now, in terms of Newfoundland years.  But even a very long time is not long enough.

He’s been my bud through many happy memories and some difficult ones.  We lost his dad together.  Brit, Parker and I spent that week at MU staying together in the van or in the waiting room.  Then he was my soft spot when I lost my dad, and later my mom.  He was there to comfort me when I lost my 42-year-old pony, a legend of his own in my family.  We were together when we said good-bye to Banker’s pal Roadway (a cat), to Shelby, and then to Brit, and to Spot (a cat story).

We’ve taken a lot of adventures together, side-by-side.  The separation anxiety began for him when we lost his dad.  He was very shaken up about it, to the point that he was trembling the following day.  After that, he didn’t want to let me out of his sight.  He would stay at home by himself, but everywhere else, we were pretty much a package deal.  He was with me, or I was with him.  He went with me to visit family, to the Nationals and to places where we could travel by van or Expedition.

On a door in my office, there is a long scratch in the wood finish where I learned not to play hide’n seek indoors, because he nearly panicked when he couldn’t find me.

So, now I’ve learned that his turn to depart is coming, and while I will have other Newfs to hug, and they are very important to me also, Parker won’t be the one I reach out for, the one I lean on, for the first time in a very long time.  We will get through this together, until the end is here.

For now, he is here, next to me, and when I look at him, he is as beautiful as ever, and his eyes are overflowing with that warm purity.  His humor is intact, his toys are still fun (he just pulled the Woody Woodpecker toy between his front legs in his usual comical way), and he looks rather handsome in his denim shirt.  He prefers lying near the fireplace now while the insert is running, but he still enjoys going out in the snow or cold weather for short times.  We will enjoy our minutes and days, for as many as we can share, and I will be especially thankful to have had the time to share with him.

I’ve realized yet one more thing about living with Newfs:

Separation anxiety goes both ways.

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