On my next birthday after I told Amy this, she presented me with an impossibly cute beagle puppy, saying “You don’t live overseas now. You should have a dog.”
That moment was the moment I knew that I would marry Amy.
In fact, the night I asked Amy to marry me, I put the engagement ring on Walter's collar. I expected Amy to see it immediately, but predictably it took her over an hour to notice it while I sweated and waited-making comments like “Walter sure looks cute tonight” and “Walter kinda looks like he needs a good petting” to try to get her to notice the ring.
The breeder named him “Sugarfoot” (because all four of his feet had white fur), but I promptly renamed him “Walter” after Walter Mondale (because it's much more ridiculous). Walter grew, ate our shoes, yelped annoyingly all night in his crate, got what we called “the rips”-tearing through the house at full speed (usually with a toy or blanket in his mouth), slept on our chests like a baby, barked at the kids going to and leaving the school across our street, licked our newborn son's foot, and slept on our bed on many occasions.
Walter shared our lives for 11 years. And like all living things, Walter got old, and Walter got sick. And earlier today
As I sit here writing this with tears streaming from my face, I realize that I am not sad just for losing Walter, but because he was a physical representation of our marriage. He was a constant reminder of the story of us. And now he is gone.
I loved my dog Walter. He was a good dog. And I will never forget him.