My Mom surprised my Dad with Brady exactly one year after my Memere (Dad's Mom) passed away. My father has ALWAYS wanted a Golden Retriever. This was also right around the time my Dad was diagnosed with Cirrhosis. At the time we didn't know if my Dad would ever need a liver transplant, but we knew it could be a possibility in the future. My Mom thought it was the perfect time to get my Dad his faithful friend. He couldn't come up with a name for the little pup, and I suggested "Brady." My Dad loved it.
Brady gave me my first taste of having a newborn. I was 22 years old when we got him, and I still lived at home with my parents. Brady slept in his crate in my room. He would wake up twice each night to pee and play! He hated falling asleep alone, which led to me falling asleep on the floor next to his crate, with my hand inside on his tiny paw. Eventually we both had enough of the crate, and he slept in bed with me.
I remember rocking Brady multiple times a day. I thought to myself, if I rock him each and every day, he can't possibly ever grow big enough to not fit in my lap.
Of course, he did grow...he's a Golden Retriever! We called him "the puppy," because even when he was 5 years old, he still had that same adorable face.
When Lincoln was born, I was amazed at how quickly the two of them bonded. Lincoln would lay on him, and he even attempted to ride him a few times! Brady didn't care one bit. He loved everyone. Unconditional love. You don't find that often. Brady was beyond unconditional.
Saturday morning I received a phone call from my Mom that I wasn't expecting for many years. She told me when she came home from work the day before, Brady had passed away. Our sweet, lovable dog, was gone. My Dad's dog, who he hasn't seen in one year, and was more excited to see him when he finally comes home, than anyone else, will never see him again. Lincoln's favorite, even above his own dog, Evy. That sweet puppy I used to rock to sleep every day.
How could this possibly happen? He was only 8 years old. He still acted like a puppy, and was at the vet just last month for his yearly check-up. After everything my Dad has been this past year, how could his puppy not be able to greet him at the door when he finally comes home?
While we weren't there with Brady when he passed, our other dog, Lacey was thankfully with him. Lacey is 12 years old, and he loved her more than anything. If he could have chosen anyone to be with him, she would have been who he would have picked.
We still haven't told my Dad. He's alone in Florida right now, and how can we tell him such devastating news over the phone? My Mom and I are going there on Friday, and we will tell him then. The thought of telling my Dad makes me sick to my stomach.
The night that Brady died, Lincoln went to our refrigerator and was pointing to a picture of him saying, "Brady!!!" I find it ironic, because at that time we had no idea what had already happened.
Dogs aren't just dogs to me. They are a part of the family. And Brady was such a special part of our family. I wish more than anything that he didn't have to go so soon. I wish my Dad had a chance to say goodbye.
Rest in peace my sweet Brady pup. You will never be forgotten. And you will always be so very much loved.