Have you seen this picture yet? For those of you who don't know the story, a U.S. Navy SEAL from Iowa, Jon Tumilson, was killed recently when his helicopter was shot down over Afghanistan.
This picture from his funeral last week shows his best friend, a Labrador retriever named Hawkeye, watching over him to the very end.
Go ahead and cry. I need some Kleenex myself.
Seeing this picture all over the local and national news has made me think about the faithful family member we have here at the Hoop-lah house. We adopted her three years ago as a puppy, chosen for no other reason than we knew that she was the one. She belonged with us. You non-animal lovers might scoff, but everyone else will know exactly what I mean when I say the connection was immediate.
She loves us all equally and in our own ways. With Riley and Big Dog, she is rambunctious and crazy, egging them on to chase her or play. She jumps, she licks, she fights, she teases, she cajoles. With Carly she is more reserved, reflecting Carly's preference to not be licked or jumped on. She sits with her beside the couch every day after school watching TV. With me, she is my constant companion during the day, at my side or under my desk while I work. Where I go she goes.
And then, like clockwork, she gets up and goes to the window every afternoon, watching and waiting. Because she knows that her day is about to begin. We should all have someone who is as devoted to us as C.C. and Hawkeye.