AMOS of Tranters Creek 11-18-1997 to 06-11-13
by "Tex" I. K. Gilmore
(Washington, NC, USA)
Tex & Amos on the swing
It’s just been over a week since we lost our beloved Golden Retriever, AMOS. I can’t even begin to explain how much he meant to me and my wife, Diana. His hip dysplasia had recently gotten so severe he could hardly walk without falling down and we had to make this dreaded decision. The vet told us we had no other alternative due to his advanced age. He was 15 years 7 months old. He died resting peacefully on his favorite bed at his home and in my arms. This was the hardest thing I have ever had to endure and my heart is completely broken. Two days ago, I went to get his ashes and returned him to his home, where he will always be.
You would be right if you said he was my best friend…because he was. He was a friend like no other and I will never be the same until I meet him again. I already know he’s waiting on me just like he did every day after work. I’m sure he will be there to greet me when I cross the rainbow bridge and what a reunion that will be.
The story I am about to tell you is not for everyone. If you have never experienced the deep love for a dog or do not believe in divine intervention, you need not read any further. However, if a pet changed your life and you understand that God teaches us about his infinite love through our pets, read on.
It all began in December 1997 when our neighbor, Patti and her daughter Allison, brought a furry golden little ball of love over to our house. She sat him down in our doorway and he immediately peed on our carpet at the doorway entrance. His name was AMOS and he was to be a Christmas present for her husband Glenn. We kept him a short time so he would be a surprise for Glenn on Christmas day. Little did we know that AMOS had marked his spot when he peed on that carpet and made his mind up that our house was to be his forever home. I’m not sure what happened, whether we imprinted on him or he on us, but a bond developed that could never be broken. We did not know it at the time, but God was working in a mysterious way to bring about a great blessing to us.
We watched AMOS grow up and he visited us frequently. We were next door neighbors and he considered our yard his territory. Glenn did not mind so we played with him, petted him and fed him, our mutual love growing for him every day, even though he was not our dog. But it was clear, we were his people.
AMOS was a neighborhood wanderer and getting into some mischief so Glenn tried to keep him contained by putting up an electronic fence around his property and ours. AMOS was very intelligent, the fence did not have much effect. The pain of the shock collar was overcome by a quick charge through the electronic boundary. Once across, he would merely wait on the other side until someone shut the current off. He did not mind, because he was free again to roam. What a pup!
Glenn’s next step was to build him a fenced in kennel. He disliked it so much he climbed up the 6 foot high fence and escaped the kennel, choosing to sleep on our back porch or in the pine straw around our pine trees. There were many nights I would take him over to his kennel only to find him right back on our porch again in the morning. He only wanted to be close to us. Obviously the kennel was not working any better than the electronic fence so Glenn had AMOS neutered when he was about 2.5 years old. Glenn thought it would calm him down and reduce his wandering. It did not have much effect.
We continued to give AMOS all the attention and love we could, knowing all the while he did not belong to us. We took care of him when Glenn and Patti were gone. We always kept a good supply of food, water and tennis balls for him. Our love grew with every passing day as his love also grew for us.
In June 2002 AMOS got into some trouble. He occasionally showed an aggressive attitude toward cars, motorcycles and bicycles. He charged a neighbor on a bike causing him to fall off. This person threatened to sue Glenn and Patti and they decided they needed let AMOS go. Thank God they offered him to us since they were going to give him to an elderly lady in their church if we did not take him. God knew how much we loved AMOS and so did Glenn and Patti.
God found a way for AMOS to become our dog after 4.5 years of being his people. Glenn and Patti were happy that we wanted him and gave him to us with the understanding we would be responsible for him. From that moment on, our lives changed. The excitement and joy we had then cannot be matched. Our house became a home and our love for each other multiplied a hundred fold. The “Golden Years” of our lives had begun.
Glenn gave us his kennel, dog box, water and food bowls. He already had a good supply of dog toys and food at our house. We built an overhead shelter for him inside his expanded relocated kennel. We soon found AMOS still disliked his kennel, again climbing out to be closer to us. He wanted to be on the porch or in our house. Amazingly…AMOS stopped wandering. He had travelled only a short distance over a long time to finally find his home.
For the next 11 years our lives were enriched beyond belief by this Golden angel sent by God above. We took him everywhere we went and he loved it. Goose Creek State Park on the Pamlico River, at the ocean under the piers at Atlantic Beach, Red Wing Cottage near Beaufort and any Bo Jangles restaurant were some of his favorite travel destinations with us over the years. We completed an addition to our home in 2004 and added a large deck which quickly became a favorite spot for Amos to hang out under. It was cool, shady and the sandy loam under it was perfect for him to enjoy digging in.
When we traveled out of state to see family, Glenn and Patti took good care of AMOS until we returned. Our absence from AMOS created great anticipation of getting home to see him again and these reunions were so wonderful. Trips were usually only a week but seemed like an eternity without him. Seeing his brown eyes light up, petting his golden locks and feeling his soft mouth and whiskers on our hands were so wonderful upon our return home. He was patiently waiting for us and so eager to meet us when we came home though the gate. His tail wagged so fast, it would hurt when it came in contact with you.
I nearly wore out the sockets of my arms throwing tennis balls over the years and how I loved buying him squeak toys and playing with him every day. The breed was really in him. He would retrieve anything you threw. He always preferred play time to feeding time. He had a bed in his kennel, one on the porch and one in the house. He basically had the run of the place and we built our lives around him. The love we got back was impossible to measure. He was totally devoted and loyal to us and it showed in so many ways. When we were sick, he would lay by the bed and not leave our side. When we were sad, he would be our comforter and cry with us. When we were happy, he shared our laughter and love. He truly was a part of our family and always will be. We had no children, but if we had, we could not have loved them anymore than AMOS.
AMOS was a fighter and you could never count him out. Overall, he was a very healthy dog his entire life. He survived being cured from heart worms shortly after he became our dog and a bad gash in his side from a dog fight (we think) that required stitches. In May 2010, we fenced in the entire back yard to protect him as he was getting older.
AMOS and I used to set on the bench glider in the back yard and swing. We enjoyed it though each season and had many good times together on that old swing. Even back then, I used to think about the day when we would lose him and cry. The poem written by Kipling “The Power of the Dog” really sums it up. We can’t stop the advance of time and that time is shorter for our pets than for us. But I gladly gave my heart to this angel, knowing full well that it would be broken someday when he returned to heaven.
That day came on June 11, 2013 at 2:40 PM when AMOS got his wings. I was with him all the way, just like he had been there for me. For many weeks I spent every free minute I had with him because we could see the end coming. God was merciful to us. He let AMOS live a long life with us and filled it full of love. I held him tight until I could no longer hear the beating of that strong and faithful heart. His brown eyes were still looking at me even after his spirit had left his body. The tears I cried could not be contained in my handkerchief and they flowed down my face like a waterfall. I sadly helped carry him to the vet’s mobile unit on his favorite bed and gave him one last caress and kiss, his eyes still open and fixed on me. It was as if he was telling me…I will always be with you and never leave your side.
On June 17, 2013 I went to the vet’s office to pick up his ashes, collar and bed. AMOS always rode behind me in our van, frequently looking over my head, nuzzling my arm with his nose and putting his paw on my shoulder as if he were guiding me while I was driving. I put the urn with his ashes in the back seat behind me, put the collar around the urn and placed them on his dog bed. We made our last trip, coming home…this time together. All the while driving through the tears, I sensed that familiar paw on my shoulder once again. I wept unceasing.
My grief is only equaled by my love for AMOS. My very soul has been diminished and cannot be made whole until I can be with him again. I know he is patiently waiting. I always told him that if I went away, I would always come back to him and find him no matter what. This is a promise I always kept and one I intend to keep. One day my eyes will meet his eyes again, and we shall be reunited, forever. Amen.