Parker (left) and Casey (right)
Meet Parker and Casey. Parker was adopted. Both of them are now in Dog Heaven. They lived together, providing many years of companionship, both to each other, as well as to Thomas, who cared for these companion animals. Parker and Casey were Golden Retrievers. It may be believed that Parker died of a broken heart, having passed on just three short months after Casey. Thomas states, “Throughout my life, I had to put nine dogs down.” He strongly believes that for every animal bought and bred, a shelter animal dies. Speaking with conviction in his voice, Thomas states, “Bottom line, go to an animal shelter. Adopt! It will make you so happy!”
“I very much miss them all,” Thomas stated with tears in his eyes, a senior citizen himself, who has lived a full life while having lost so many close animal companions.
When I told Thomas that I was interested in learning more about his Goldens, he immediately lit up with life, surprised that anyone would ever have brought them up again. The conversation came up when I explained that I do vigils where I hold signs on behalf of various animals that are used for “food.” I had further mentioned an article that I posted on Vegan Fierce for a friend who rescued a chicken in Minnesota, USA. Thomas happened to be holding a frozen meal in his left hand as he turned away towards the company break room. I didn’t realize it was chicken until after I had made the comments. Nonetheless, I did NOT apologize as I am passionate about saving lives, yet I do realize what I kind gentleman he is, and a great part of me wished to make the connection that all animals, regardless of species, deserve our respect. As there are different approaches for different individuals, I knew Thomas was not the type that needed an earful. With that said, I asked him if he lives with any animals, and he told me that he used to live with all of these dogs. Within seconds, I could see his facial expression, as if there was a hole in his soul, missing Parker and Casey.
Thomas exclaimed, “Quick story… One week before I had to go to the vet to put him down, he never got out of the car when we arrived at the park. He didn’t want to play. On Parker’s last day, I took him to the same park where both of them used to play. The last day, Parker jumped out of the car and started running! You can’t believe the HAPPINESS I was going through! This was the day of the appointment to put him down! I told the vet what happened and was hoping I had a few more days. The vet said, “He was trying to impress you.” He died with a HUGE smile on his face. God, I miss all my dogs!”
When Thomas told me this story, he was honored in such a way that very few people could accomplish. It was as if the dogs were alive once again. Even the look on his face changed. When we had spoken of other things in his life, though he took a great interest in them, including a very successful career, none evoked such emotion as did the story of Parker and Casey. Although I could tell that he was hurting inside, he told the story with a smile, just as Parker had on his face that last day.
The photos were taken from this original painting that was done for Thomas as he adored Parker and Casey so much to have it made professionally and then framed. When he handed me the frame, it was loaded with dust. I reckon it had been a very long time since anyone spoke to him about the dogs.