Last Tuesday was a terrible day for Charyl, me and our animal family.  Our wonderful dog, Goliath, a Great Dane, died tragically from a gunshot wound.  He had chased a deer into the woods and never returned.  We’ll never know what actually happened but we know that Goliath was never a threat and was, in fact, very frightened of guns.

Sadly, we recovered his body and buried him by the fence line near the barn where he spent so much time with us.  Through our tears, we remembered all of the special times we had with him.

When we adopted him nearly a year and a half ago, he was a handful.  At first it was a real challenge.  He had to learn to live with all of our other animals, dogs, cats, horses, even birds and a ferret.  The rule around here is if you want to stay you have to get along.

Goliath, we quickly learned, picked things up fast.  Oh, he always chased cats and growled grumpily at the little dogs, and he loved to bark and chase horses. But he always did these things while wagging his tail.

He quickly learned that getting too close to running horses was dangerous.  If he caught a cat, he merely licked it and set it free, and he would actually let the little dogs push him around.  That’s what he was – a big pushover.

I knew from the beginning that he was a lady’s man; I was merely his buddy while Charyl was gone.  When she went to work he would look dejected and sad, but he would perk up when I went out the barn.  Oh boy, he knew he was going to be able to run with the ponies. Afterwards, he was my companion, lying on a large comforter beside my desk while I wrote.

I must admit that writing with Goliath at my side was sometimes quite a challenge. Oh, it wasn’t because of his size or noise, but because he was frequently gaseous, causing me to take frequent breaks. If I could have heated the house from Goliath’s output, I would be a millionaire.

Often in these situations when the evening weather was nice, I would let him out on the deck.  He would patrol the fenced in yard and notify any unwelcome critters, be they raccoons, possums, or coyotes that his farm was off limits.

Before midnight on Charyl’s work days, he just knew that it was time for her to come home. I would let him out and he would stand by the locked gate waiting.  When I went out to let her in, he was ecstatic, and he would try to climb in the truck to greet her before she could exit.  She would always come in the house with love marks of slobber.

He loved truck rides, playing with his sidekick, Molly (a jack/rat terrier), and just barking at the fence line, always letting the outside world know that Goliath was King of the Farm.

While Charyl loved him at first sight, it took time for him to “grow” on me, but he won me over in quick fashion.  We loved him and we miss him. He will always remain in our hearts.

— James from Hawthorne, FL