On the Moving Story of a Man and His Dog

I forget, sometimes, how sensitive I can be.

It was a lovely day, and I decided that I wanted to go for a walk for lunch. I wasn’t sure where I was going to end up, but I knew it would be far from the office, and I would probably get lunch whenever I got there.

And since I have a mobile phone now, with a built-in camera, I took pictures of clouds. Yesterday, we had hurricane-like conditions. Today, we had many clouds, the air felt sharper and cleansed, and the colors of the world were more vibrant. I may upload some of these pictures to Facebook later. Or I may not.

Anyway, I reached York Road, and since there was a Chinese place nearby that I visit like once a month, I thought I’d get some takeout and take it back to the office.

So, as I waited while they fixed my lunch, I read Twitter on my phone.

Andrew Sullivan had up a link to an article he’d just posted to his blog, “A Soldier and His Dog.”

I read the text. A British bomb demolition expert had been killed by a sniper in Afghanistan, and his dog partner died of seizure — and, apparently, a broken heart because his master and partner wasn’t there to comfort him — a few short hours later.

Sullivan had a link in the article, but my lunch was ready, so I made a mental note to revisit this when I got back to the office.

Fifteen minutes later, I was back in my cubicle with its view of the rolling hills and the office parks, and I pulled up Andrew Sullivan’s blog.

The first thing I noticed was that the article had an embedded video. My mobile browser (I use Opera Mini 5) didn’t show me that.

I watched the video. It was a news report on the funeral of Lance Corporal Liam Tasker. There was a detail there that Sullivan’s link didn’t mention; the funeral was also for Theo, the dog, whose ashes were repatriated back to Britain with his owner’s body.

I was utterly devastated by this. I have no idea how many tissues or napkins I went through. I had no real desire to eat that lunch I’d hiked to buy. Watching the video was hard enough. Following Sullivan’s link and reading the article there was more difficult. The pictures of the canine mourners at the funeral procession are touching. Watching the video there was wrenching.

It cast a pall over the next hour. I’m not sure the pall has entirely dissipated, either; writing this has, at moments, reduced me to a near-quivering mass. Things get past the defenses — which aren’t that strong or that deep to start with — and they turn me into a wreck.

Moving.

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