Yesterday afternoon we said good-bye to my parent’s Golden Lab, Midas. Midas just turned 12 this past spring. He has always been a joy to both my parents the minute he entered their lives. My younger sister originally owned Midas and when she moved to the big city it made sense for this young pup to stay in a home that gave him plenty of room to run plus gave him a home with family he already came to love.
I remember when Midas first entered our lives. He was the cutest golden pup, with a button nose, incredible rambunctiousness and energy, and an eye for mischief. He was quite a handful and this continued to be his monniker over the years. He did go to obedience school for a time but the discipline was something that didn’t come quite easily to this little dog with a mind of his own. I watched “Me and Marley” early this year and it so reminded me of the times we had with Midas. I know my mom would say that I was hard on Midas, that he was not a bad dog. I didn’t know any better — I never had a dog and I expected that he would learn, as we had, the responsibilities of growing up in our family. That meant not barking so loud in the house … which he often did; or jumping up on the table and gobbling up as much available food that he could muster before his collar was yanked away….which happened a lot; and sleeping where dogs are supposed to sleep — on the floor or on their own bed not on my parents’ bed. The latter brought back memories of me passing by my parents’ bedroom late one night and finding Midas asleep beside my dad while my mom lay perpendicular at the foot of the bed. “Odd” I thought, “the dog and the master seemed to have reversed their roles”.
But the real story was that my parents’ so loved this dog that they treated him like gold. Midas was their “boy” and he was given the world. I often smirk when I think of their newly reupholstered living room sofa and love-seat, covered with sheets, newly sewn for Midas. This would be his bed for life. I felt like I was infringing on his territory when I proceeded to sit on one of the two pieces of furniture. When people came over they had to pull the sheets off — an odd site that seemed to unnaturally transform the room into a proper sitting area.
My parents said they disciplined Midas and they almost convinced us that he had changed….well, sort of. Jumping on the table with food on it was Classic Midas. He did it, oh so perfectly, when no one expected it. It didn’t help that my parents did not consistently tie him up. At times he was seated by the table when we all were eating. Despite one parent’s hand on the leash and the other on the utensil, this did not deter this ambitious dog, intent on making a serious food killing….and he succeeded every time. A stern yelling from my dad with a finger waving in front of his nose was not punishment enough. The next time was even more priceless as he successfully pounced after most of the table was cleared. It seemed more acceptable since most of us had already eaten. My mom was able to keep the kitchen clear of food access when they were away from home but once that food was exposed it was “dead meat”.
I know I was hard on Midas but I, in hindsight, found his antics amusing. He loved my kids, and my nieces and nephews. He loved to be pet; and in his later years he was content just to sit by my dad’s chair when he was at the computer. My mom used to say that Midas would be by the window when they left for work and would be at the window when they returned home, with his tail wagging in excitement. It was a joy for both my mom and dad to see him at the end of the day.
And that’s why it was so important for me to write this post. Midas played a strong role in our lives. He was always there for my parents (in my mom’s words) “through harsh times and good times”. He was a constant in their lives who brought extreme joy to both of them. In the last little while, Midas had started slowing down. His breathing was laboured; evening walks were more about walking than running; and going up the stairs was an arduous task. When we finally made the decision to let Midas go it was incredibly difficult for me and my kids. All the memories came rushing back as I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. Seeing my dad, who has always been the strong pillar of the family, break down was extremely difficult to witness. We would never see Midas again at least on this earth.
In the last 24 hours the pain has abated somewhat as my family sat together to share memories and view photos of all of us. It was a great time, something we hadn’t done in a very long time. And I appreciated my parents more in that moment than I ever had. If anything, Midas has taught me so much about unconditional love, loyalty and the simple pleasures of spending “time” with those you love. I told my kids to pray for Midas and my parents in their grief. As my son prayed tonight, he added the words, “Midas, when we are 100 years old, we will all be together again in heaven”. Midas, thank you for what you’ve brought to our lives. We will miss you so very much. Knowing what you’ve given to my family — my mom, dad and sister, in particular has given me a better perspective on life. Thank you and rest in peace! Love Hessie