I don't have as many memories of him, as I do of our other dogs. This is, by far, the most intense memory of when he passed away.
I'm around 8 years old, the same age as my son is now ... it's early in the morning. I'm sitting at the kitchen counter eating a bowl of honey nut cheerios. The big yellow bus will be pulling up soon.
I hear him whimper. At first, I think he is dreaming. His legs are twitching. The whimper turns urgent. Scared.
Seemingly, out of nowhere, Dad appears and collapses onto his boy's shaking body, and just holds him.
Something's wrong. Time feels like it speeding up and slowing down all at once.
Everything is a blur.
"I'm here, I'm here. I got you boy. I got you. "
And then, everything is still.
My Dad starts sobbing, I hear my brother crying off in the other room. My mom is now on the floor with my dad, her hand on his back ...
This was one of those pivotal, childhood moments where something inside me clicked.
I didn't cry over losing Henry, although I am crying now at the memory.
As a child, I couldn't quite comprehend that deep feeling of loss, not like this. But, what I could comprehend, was how much Henry meant to my dad and to our family.
I could comprehend that our dogs are not just pets, they're our family.
I treasure this photo of me and Henry. It's a little faded, out of focus and torn on one corner but, you know what? I don't care. It's such a perfect moment.
A formative moment. One of many childhood moments, that ultimately brought me to where I am today.
His name ... was Henry.