2009-02-13 / Entertainment/Lifestyles

A Eulogy For Man's Best Friend: Farewell, Amadeus

By Kimberly Lago

Many families love and adore their dogs throughout a lifetime. On rare occasions, a dog comes along who captures the hearts of everyone he meets, leaving a loving impression that lasts forever. One such dog became part of my family.

Bringing the puppy home on a whim, my mother put this six-weekold ball of fur, with a bow attached, into my father's lap.

"What is this?" my father asked. "This is Amadeus," she said.

It was the name my brother and I had come up with on the ride home from the pet store. When Amadeus grew very large in size, we affectionately called him "Monster." Smart and easily trained, he could even understand spelled out words that pertained to him, like B-O-N-E-S and V-E-T. He could also retrieve any one of his toys, by name or color, out of his fire-hydrant-shaped toy box.

Amadeus didn't think he was a dog, he thought he was a person. After all, he had a birthday party with hats and a cake; he got souvenirs from all our vacations; and he got just as many Christmas presents as all the other kids. Why would he ever think he was a dog? From the time he was a puppy, waiting at the top of the staircase, too small to climb down, (which one icy morning landed my father in the E.R. and on crutches for weeks) until he grew too old to see his favorite snack of Cheerios, sprinkled on the floor, Amadeus was truly part of the family.

We took pictures of Amadeus with me on my prom day. One Christmas Dad dressed as Santa, just to have the dog sit on his lap, as if to ask for toys. Amadeus was there to welcome Nan, our Grandma, when she moved in with us, and was always happy to have his "big brother" (my brother) Chris back home.

Amadeus was there for weddings, baby showers, and graduations. He met his human niece and nephew when they were born and welcomed them to the family with sloppy "Monster" kisses.

The worst thing he was ever guilty of was stealing an occasional sock from the laundry and sneaking away with it. Yet, he brought every person who walked into our house one of his toys. He would put his forehead up against your forehead, and look into your eyes; as if he knew what you were thinking or feeling. Sometimes he would use this same technique along with the "Jedi mind trick," to make you get him a cookie. His only real fears included ironing boards and mailboxes. We could never walk past 14th Road. The mailbox on the corner always threatened to roar at him.

Amadeus smiled for pictures. As he trotted along, it was as if cartoon music played along to match the bounce in his step. He would stop to smell flowers, even if they were weeds. He could catch anything you threw to him, even the line drives my brother-in-law Tony would throw. We joked about him having a crush on my husband since we would often catch Amadeus winking at him. You could see Amadeus waiting and watching out the window for Dad to come home from work. He also had to look inside all of mom's shopping bags when she came home from the mall or food shopping. He loved to open presents, which led to people buying him presents just to see him open them. At Christmastime my mom needed to wait until the last minute to put out the presents, or else the dog would find his and open them up. If his were hidden he would just open someone else's. You never had to worry about oversleeping and being late for work, because a cold wet nose would be there to gently nudge your face each morning as if to say, "Please walk me."

"Monster" filled the last twelve years with love and memories, making our family complete. Our hearts will ache to not see him lying down in his usual spot by the radiator, or to not greet us with a smile at the front door. He will be missed in ways that words cannot describe. We always had the unconditional love and loyalty of our all- American golden retriever.

We love and miss you golden boy. "Amadeus Long" - January 5, 1997-January 24, 2009.

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