On Wednesday, November 7 I drove to Missouri to visit relatives. My standard poodle Kobe was in the back seat, snoozing away. I listened to Rush’s broadcast and heard him talk about Mark’s book “Rescuing Sprite”. There’s a pad of paper in the car console that I keep for notes to myself, so I scribbled the book name to make sure I wouldn’t forget it.

My 12 year marriage is ending. I don’t want it to end, but it seems inevitable. I was finally telling extended relatives about the situation and knew parts of this trip were going to be difficult. In the last five months of separation from my husband, Kobe was the one thing that got me up off the couch. Early morning bike runs, afternoon walks, visits to the park, going on errands and drives in the country. Kobe was always there, always happy.

Kobe stayed at a kennel while I visited relatives. It’s a fine kennel, part doggy daycare and part kennel. He didn’t hesitate to walk away with the attendant when I dropped him off. I said the code phrase “Be a good boy”. That phrase means “I’ll be back for you”. Kobe didn’t just walk, everyone remarked on his dancing, bouncy step. That’s the last time I saw him, when he pranced away with the attendant.

On Saturday, November 10 I received a phone call that Kobe had developed bloat and died before he reached the veterinarian. I’m devastated. Kobe was alone in the kennel for only 1 ½ hours, but that was enough time for him to succumb to bloat when it developed. He was alone, and I wasn’t there when he needed me the most. It was a long drive home and dreadful to contact my husband and explain what happened. He loves Kobe too.

Days later, Marks’ book arrived from an online bookseller. As soon as I opened it I remembered it, but didn’t recall ordering it. It took me three times to look at the invoice before I realized my parents had sent it. Thank goodness for thoughtful parents, family & friends. I finished the book by the next morning.

The house has been so empty. Two rowdy cats don’t fill it. I’ve been waiting for Kobe’s ashes to arrive in the mail. Today is my husband’s birthday and I successfully resisted the urge to call him and talk. I returned from counseling tonight to find a box waiting on the front step. Kobe’s ashes have arrived home.

Robyn from IN