Tribute to a Friend

Last night we lost a dear, dear friend. Echo managed to escape from the house without being immediately noticed, and was hit by a car on the road. When I saw her laying there on the shoulder, she was still warm and soft. It was evident that she was killed instantly, and I am grateful that she didn’t suffer.

Echo was the sweetest little dog imaginable. As Oddler aged, my children became fearful that he would die (he’s still with us), and we decided to get a pup for the kids to grow up with. Not a working dog, not a dog for Mama – just a friend for the kids to love. After reading through several different sites listing the top “family dogs”, we decided to get a beagle. Oddler is a coonhound, and we wanted one that looked like him. We visited the Humane Society first, then looked at several different litters. I gave my input, but wanted to let the kids make the choice as much as possible. In the end, they chose Echo.

Echo was so tiny when we brought her home at 10wks. Even full grown, Echo was 15lbs, about the height & length of Juno at 8wks. Echo’s only job on this farm was to be a friend, and she filled that role with gusto. She loved my children well. She snuggled with them, played with them, put up with their games and enjoyed their walks. She was dumb as a bag of bricks and never learned more than a simple “sit”, even after obedience classes and lengthy efforts at training. She never even came to recognise her own name, or respond when being called. It didn’t matter, though – Echo didn’t need to be smart. She just needed to let the kids love her, and they did.

Echo could be frustrating for me to deal with sometimes, but she was very special to all of us. We assumed she would be at the kids’ sides as they grew, a friend for all stages of childhood and adolescence, someone to snuggle with when feeling sad and to confide in. Someone to share secrets with and a cute face to brighten dark days. You know, all the things a child’s dog is good for. My children are heartbroken over Echo’s death.

The older two children helped their daddy lay Echo in a box for this morning’s funeral, and placed her little dress-up outfit inside with her. Two-yr-old Robin didn’t understand. He looked into the box at his little friend, and suddenly he knew. “Mama,” he said, “Echo broken. Not come back anymore.” We all started crying again.

This morning, a hole was dug in the gardens and Echo was laid to rest. The children helped to dig the hole, placed the box inside, and covered it over. We placed field stones around the perimeter of the little grave and will be making a special headstone to mark the place where Echo sleeps.

She was only with us for one year, but she was loved well and we gave her the best we could. I hope she is alright, wherever she is now.