I lost one of my dearest and most beloved companions yesterday, my dachshund of nearly thirteen years, Bandit. Gasping through my tears, I start to question, “Why do we put ourselves through this type of pain?”
And then I remember…meeting Bandit for the first time as a little girl. The owners brought him over for a few minutes as a quasi test run for my family to see if he was a good fit. I was upstairs taking a bath, so my mom brought him up to me. He leapt up on his little hind legs and proceeded to energetically lick the tub and my plump-cheeked face.
“We want him. He’s the one!”
“Are you sure, Meredith? This one?”
“Yes, yes! We have to have him.”
Bandit and Cosmo
Bandit quickly became a cherished member of the family –homework buddy, Christmas fanatic (I have never met a dog who loved stockings as much as Bandit), night owl TV partner, food connoisseur, my only sibling at home when my sisters went off to college, my comforting companion throughout so many years.
While I know that I will love many more dogs in my lifetime, I honestly doubt that I will ever share the same connection I did with Bandit. We grew up together, from our puppyhood and childhood into adulthood. From elementary school through high school to leaving for college and later marrying the love of my life, Bandit shared in all of my biggest moments, always there to offer his love and bring me back home.
In the end, he passed away peacefully in my father’s arms. Watching Bandit grow older and frailer, I dreaded this day for some time. While a dachshund’s death may seem trivial or small in the scheme of life, God took the notice and care to handle it with His perfect timing.
He chose to take Bandit on a Wednesday, my father’s surgery day/half day, so my dad was able to make it home just in time to hold and pet Bandit during his last breaths. He orchestrated a seemingly random set of events that caused Evan and I to purchase new phones at this time. Late Monday night, I received my new phone in the mail with FaceTime capabilities, so I decided to try it out with my parents. I was able to see Bandit and talk to him less than 48 hours before his death. Finally, Bandit was still able to run and play up until the end – a blessing, especially for such a strong-willed dog.
To the “not pet people” out there, I know that I must sound embarrassingly melodramatic and sentimental, but I don’t really care. For me, Merriment is the celebration of the simple joys in life, and Bandit brought me merriment every single day. He deserves a celebration.