A eulogy for my dog

Last Friday, I said goodbye to my best friend of almost nine years. Just a month ago he was hiking and playing, but cancer and brain tumors don’t care.

Everyone says this about their pets, and I’ll say it too – Leo was the best dog ever.

I often joked that he reached self-actualization, but I believe I was right. He would sit outside and seemingly reflect for hours, which is something I’ve never seen any other dog do. An area of our yard was designated as “his corner.” He’d stare off quietly through the fence, nose twitching and eyes alert. Leo always appreciated seeing a good sunset or feeling the breeze in his face.

Leo anticipated nothing and participated in everything. Whether it was a trip to Home Depot, spending the day at my dad’s office building or hiking in a state park, he wanted to experience everything with us. Leo was the constant through life’s highs and lows. He laid next to me on the couch when I was struggling with my mental health, licked away tears during my first heartbreak, celebrated my graduating high school and getting into college.

Humans have built civilizations, caused war, and developed economies. We are at the precipice of existence where we can destroy ourselves, but Leo was unaware of all of this and had this unmatched gusto for life. Every day was his best day. He taught me how to slow down and appreciate the world’s simple beauty.

Leo’s favorite place in the world was the town’s open space and trail system. Some of his ashes will be spread on his favorite trail – the Basil Brook Bypass. His soul will now be freed from his failing body to run forever through the trees and streams, sniffing every plant and chasing geese.

I know for sure that all dogs go to heaven (after all, God spelled backwards is dog). The Book of John tells us, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” All Leo knew was to love and be loved. I hope I am worthy to enter Heaven so I can see him again.

If you knew my Leonardo, you loved him – and he probably loved you back tenfold.