Goodbyes Rather Stink

I’m not very fond of goodbyes. I had my share of them earlier this week leaving family and friends in Minnesota. They inevitably mean it will be too long before saying hello again. I thought I was done with goodbyes for the week/month. But this morning, we said goodbye to our Great Pyrenees, Poe.
We are so very thankful to the kind soul who brought this sweet boy into our lives a year and a half ago. While on summer vacation with her family in a small rural town in the mountains and on a lake, she saw this hound chained to a shack, untended, for a week. She went against the instruction of the local authorities to let him be and squooshed him into her car to come back to Atlanta and called a local Great Pyrenees rescue. Only a year and a half ago, which is undoubtedly not enough for one who has stolen our hearts.

Poe had a rough start in our household, trying to unwittingly take the Alpha spot away from Dylan. Repeatedly. And repeatedly, Poe was put in his place and thence sulk for several days until his feelings (and sometimes wounds) would heal. In time, he came to learn it wasn’t smart to push the canine infrastructure and sitting on command meant he could earn a little lunch meat. Unless there was a good treat, he wasn’t going to sit on command. Stubborn boy.

He was my velcro boy, always keeping me company and leaning against my leg when he could. During the day while I worked, he was always under my feet while I sat. He took up as much space on the kitchen floor as he could in the evenings while I cooked and then would follow me to the living room to lay close after the kids went to bed. Poe loved car rides and would normally sit as close to the shotgun position as he could from the middle of the minivan and leaning between the two front seats. He loved to play in the mud and I think he found a bit of amusement in scaring the UPS and FedEx delivery guys, or the carpool volunteers at school with his deep, hefty bark that escaped when he would throw his head back and point his nose to the sky. He was a gentle giant, who let our littlest cat clean his face. And he was a pillow to our kids’ heads on movie nights.

Poe was also our wagging tail boy. His tail was always swishing and he always appeared to be grinning at us. He was a kissy boy, which thrilled my honeys to no end. Pyrs are typically not hounds that give kisses, so this made our boy quite unique. He was a boy of many nicknames, most of them bestowed upon him by our boy child. Poe Pea. Poliloquy. Poe Genarious. Slow Poke. Pokey. Pokemon. And many, many more.

While the veterinarians had said they thought he was a young boy and now just around three years old, Poe always acted like an old man. In the evenings, he was slow to rise from the floor and make his way upstairs. Yesterday morning was like any other. He ate his breakfast and went outside. His tail was wagging when he came back and stood at the door to be let in. Then he took his normal spot underneath the table by my feet while I worked. He moved less than normal, but it wasn’t eye brow raising. I knew he wasn’t feeling well with some extra panting and when he skipped dinner. I made a mental note that I’d take him to the vet in the morning to see what was going on. When I came downstairs this morning to make coffee and school lunches, he had passed.

I wish I had slept downstairs with him.

I wish we had more photographs of our boy. Now, that’s all we have. And it doesn’t seem like enough. These are my favorites that I pulled off my phone.

This is the first day we met our boy. His teeth were so straight, any orthodontist would be exceedingly proud.

Bringing him home with two happy kids. He hurt our ears barking at the garbage trucks we passed.

He always needed to be close to me. So in photographs of the other troublemakers, only his back could be seen.

The boy liked to roll over on his back to look up at me. I loved how his ears would flop down. They were the softest.

He loved to play in the mud. And he was quite good at it. I think he was rather proud of his transformation from white to brown.

In the beginning, Poe started a lot of fights with Dylan. It was rare for these two to be so close without giving each other the stink eye and then growling. This was the first time they were amicable so close together.

Such a dirty boy. He’d sit and wag his tail. Scratch at the door. And look at me, like he was wondering why I wouldn’t let him in the house.

Whenever I was cooking dinner in the evenings, Poe was in the kitchen with me. Taking up as much floor space as he possibly could. The others would sometimes join in. But he was my constant companion. I had to stand on the kitchen counter to take this picture to get all of him and the other two.

Ruby likes to back her hindquarters into others. She and Poe were best friends. They had so much fun playing and running around together. Seeing parts of her flopping over Poe was pretty normal.

Even though he didn’t cover his entire body in mud, he still managed to get it on his forehead and snout. I never saw him playing in the mud, but I imagine he had a fabulous time getting dirty.

Always my copilot. Always.

It didn’t take him long before he learned to submit to my need to grab and gently shake his snout. He got to the point he would shove his snout into my hands, just so I could get my fix.

His crazy grey stripe down his long back.

He was my leaning boy. He loved to push his head sideways into my thigh or side.

He liked to cross his paws. Sometimes just his front paws when lying on his tummy and his front legs extended in front of him. And sometimes all four would be jumbled up when lying on his side.

This was taken just a few weeks ago. He was so. very. good. with our kids. He put up with dress up time and rough love and tight neck hugs.

He made our house a bigger mess with muddy paws and white tumbleweeds of hair that he shed hourly. He was loud and hurt our ears barking at emergency sirens that had the nerve to come within a mile of us. And he was the biggest, fluffliest sweetheart I’ve ever had steal my heart.

Although the house has been filled with tears and wishes that he could come back, our home feels very empty today.

I wish that he was still with us. To wag his tail and let me grab his snout.

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