He became a part of our home when I was in grade five. That was twelve years ago. My mom took him in exchange of a fat hen.
He was black all over with only a speck of white on his tail. And I called him Casper – after the very first puppy I had in this life which died in the morning after a storm.
Casper was one of those things that made up my childhood. He used to follow me everywhere, especially when I walk down the river bank. My sister and I ran many miles to make him chase after us. Exhausted, we’d plop down on the carpet of grass while watching Casper cross the stream. It was bliss.
Today, my sister called me up to tell me she’s going to pick up a cute puppy from her friend this week. I joked that it might speed up Casper’s death since he was not well these past few months.
“Casper already died. Tatay buried him yesterday.”
I lost words for a moment. I expected it but it still stings. I’ve watched three of our dogs passed away. But Casper had been resilient. He lost one of his eyes when he fought with a neighbor’s cat. He was almost killed when a truck hit him. But still he held on for many more years. He lost all of his teeth and shrank in size because he can no longer eat.
And now he went on to whatever journey is in store for good friends like him. I will miss how he welcomes me home with his bark and his wagging tail.
I hope he had a happy life. It will be a long time before I can name another dog Casper.