I have, of course, known many dogs over the years and I am grateful to have met each one of them. They all touch my heart in some way and certainly all lift my spirits but, every once in a while, one becomes part of my "being" and stays with me. There is a fondness for some that softens and comforts me and Flint was one of those dogs. He came to us as a pup and I named him Bishop. He wasn't the only pup with us at the time but he was the one that was with me the most. When I worked in my office he sat behind me in the wing back chair at my desk. The picture I posted of him on Petfinder is of him in that chair. He did love chairs. Bishop was confident but humble. He was sweet and considerate. He possessed a quiet wisdom and seemed to know, even at eight weeks of age, that he was especially needed by someone.
People often ask how we let the pups go after loving and caring for them as we do. The answer is one not everyone will understand. It is as if each dog comes to us with it's own master plan of sorts. They are destined for something and it is part of our job as temporary keepers to understand, as best we can, what that is. Some dogs are meant to mend hearts and heal wounds. Some are needed for inspiration and motivation. All teach lessons of some kind and lend confidence and instinct to those in need and some have even greater purposes. Bishop adored me but he also knew he would leave. I can't quite explain how they let you know but they do. Maybe he was looking over my shoulder at times or seemed to be waiting for something but we both knew there was somewhere else he was meant to be. Little did I know then, that I was meant to be there too.
Bishop led us to people who began as friends and in time became family. This sweet little boy showed up on the door step of a man grieving for another dog lost and convinced him all would be fine. Bishop knew his job and he accepted it immediately. He was to lead this man out of his sorrow and move forward with him as only a dog can. When we left the home visit that day, Bishop didn't question my going through the door without him nor did he feel any doubt or hesitation. We both knew he was where he belonged - Bishop had become Flint.
That home visit was ten years ago and Flint had quite a journey over those years. He became a muse for my artist friend Mario and has been painted many times in many settings. He posed wonderfully well and never tired of being the subject of great art. He gave strength to my friend Gail when she was stricken with cancer and spent days struggling with the pain, fear and recovery. He welcomed another MPR dog into the family and guided her through her fear and trepidation. He even let this dog named Bella think she was the boss of him when she needed to feel that strong.
Flint became the heart beat of many and he died unexpectedly a week ago. He too had cancer but he hid it for as long as he could. He didn't want Mario to suffer again so he protected him from the knowledge for as long as he could. He spared Gail as well even though he knew she would have stayed with him through it. Bella of course knew but she too kept the secret because it was what Flint wanted. He was a noble and considerate dog to the end. I can't imagine there not being a Flint any longer and I have cried for his loss many times. Knowing it is not what he would want from us though causes me to dry my eyes, stand up taller and speak out loud my great gratitude for knowing and loving such a remarkable dog. Sweetness and joy my sweet boy. Sharron