A dark cloud has been hanging over the Hall households the past couple of days. Sunday morning, we had to say goodbye to a beloved friend and family member – Doc. 
Doctor Jack Dawg Beethoven Hall, or “Doc,” was my husband Bobby’s dog. Bobby found him several years ago when he was working at a golf course. Puppy Doc was wandering around the course one day, and Bobby brought him home. I didn’t know Bobby or Doc then, but from what Bobby has told me, the two quickly formed a deep and special bond. 

Flash forward about 10 years to when I am lucky enough to meet Doc. Doc was hands down one of the sweetest, friendliest, gentlest, and most loving dogs I’ve ever known. Anytime I would go over to Bobby’s house, he would greet me with nose and head bumps, a million-mile-an-hour tail wags, and his howling “hello.” He always had such a happy expression, like there was no one else in the world he was more excited to see in that moment than me. And he was like that with everybody. Even the kitties. Though no one compared to his Bobby.

After Bobby and I got engaged, his family was kind and generous enough to let me move in with them. I was finishing up my final year of school, and their house was nearby. When Bobby’s family gave me Delilah as a Christmas present that year, Doc had to learn to share the house with a kitty. He had never been around cats before, but as soon as we brought Delilah home, he was as excited to greet her as he always was to greet  everyone. He loved her immediately. 

Photo: Doc & DelilahDoc & Delilah playing the “Get ‘Em” game

One of their favorite games to play was the “Get ‘Em” game. Bobby would take little kitten Delilah in his arms and hold her at eye level to Doc. He would say, “Get him, Deli” or “Get her, Doc,” and the game would start. Delilah would bat at Doc (without using her claws) and nibble on his nose, and Doc would give her kisses and nuzzle her. Doc was probably 40 times bigger than her, but he was always so gentle. He would never hurt her. I regret not ever catching it on video, but I will never forget the “Get ‘Em” game. 

When Bobby and I got married, we inevitably moved out of his parent’s house and got our own place – a small, little apartment. Doc was used to having free access to the several acres of country land that Bobby’s family lives on, and we all agreed that it wouldn’t be fair for him to leave that behind just to be cooped up in a tiny apartment. So Doc stayed behind.

Thankfully, we didn’t move far – just about 20 minutes down the road, so we got to see Doc somewhat frequently. We would even bring Delilah with us, and eventually Sampson and Sophie too, when we visited, which Doc LOVED. 

Photo: Doc & SophieDoc & Sophie on Doc’s bed

In recent months, Doc’s heath began declining. He struggled to get up and down, and he wasn’t eating like he used to. Sunday morning, it was time. Unfortunately, Bobby and I were out of town visiting his grandmother when we got the call that the vet was on his way over to the house. We didn’t get to say goodbye. 

What I would give to have just one more visit. One more chance to play the “Get ‘Em” game. One more chance to see his eyes light up as he played with Bobby. One more chance to be greeted by him. One more chance to say, “I love you, buddy.”  

I take some comfort in knowing that one day I will get to do all of those things again. He is over the rainbow bridge, waiting for us.