The eastern sky was rimmed in orange as I pulled the truck into the pasture. I could barely make out the silouette of the old windmill down by the pond. I could hear the squeaky sound as the fan rotated slowly in the breeze. A multitude of sounds were present, a yip of a distant coyote, the soft mooing of a cow calling her calf. The ever present call of the bobwhite quail.

My companion this morning and for hundreds of other mornings just like this, was my beloved 12 year old English Setter…Katie. Normally, bouncing all over the cab of the truck, this morning she was snoring peacefully next to me, oblivious to our favorite hunting spot. The breeze coming through the window gently caressed her still silky-soft hair.

She stirred and awoke when I opened the door. She sat up and her nose softly twitched as it explored the breeze. I dropped the tailgate of the pickup and spread the old comforter out for us to sit on as we watched the dawn explode over the horizon. I never grew tired of this moment in any of those 12 years. She gave a slight shiver and I wrapped the old comforter about her as she laid down with her chin on my leg,

My mind was lost in the reverie of the uncountable memories of this special place when the sound of an approaching truck startled me. It was Dr Doug, my longtime hunting companion and vet. It was fitting that he and Katie and I meet here one last time. Katie deserved the serenity and dignity of this beautiful prairie. Not the cold sterility of a clinic. I could not bare to look at Doug as his hand touched my shoulder . I nodded my head. He gently went about his business. Katie never stirred from her sleep as she slipped away from us. As she sighed her last breath, my heart broke. The tears rained down as I clutched her to my chest. I’ve never felt so despondant in my entire life,

I never heard Dr. Doug leave. The sun was high in the sky as I wrapped Katie up in the comforter and gently laid her in the front seat for the lonely drive home.

Her earthly remains are encased in a beautiful rosewood box on the mantle beside my favorite picture of her and I, covered in mud from having to push out a stuck truck from a bygone hunt. A silly grin on both our faces.

But her spirit is alive in my aching heart and in my memories which continue to console my lonliness.

O Katie….I loved you so.

Tim from TX