I have learned that it doesn't take long for someone or something to make its way into your heart.
For almost a year, I have been spending a few hours a week with a friend's two dogs, Diego and Eva. We have played and walked together, and I have come to enjoy spending time with both of them.
The dogs are siblings, although Diego was 7 and Eva just a puppy when I met them. He was always patient and forgiving of his younger sister, who is full of energy and excitement. When he felt like rough-housing, he would let her "attack" him, and he would fight back, but I never once heard her whine in pain. He fought gently, teaching her in his own way, I suppose.
Monday night I received a text from their owner: Diego had been hit by a car. Blood was everywhere, he had at least a broken leg and they were rushing to the local animal hospital.
The next text I received was that Diego had died.
Needless to say, I was shocked. I was just not prepared for either his sudden death or the fact that I had grown so fond of this dog. I still find myself shaking my head at the realization that he's gone.
But, I am glad I got to know him, even if it was for a brief time. He was the epitome of the old idiom "Don't judge a book by its cover." Diego was stern looking and his bark intimidating, but inside was a gentle, kind dog with a big heart.
He will be missed.