I adopted Hambone from A Forever Home about 7 years ago when he was 10-years old. He would have been 17 next month. Hambone was the silliest, sweetest long-haired dachshund and basset hound mix. In those 7 years, he has been with me through 3 apartments, the purchase of my first home, my dad’s death, my grandma’s death, many successes, many failures, and everything in between. He taught me so much about patience, guilt, forgiving yourself, thinking about the future, and, most importantly, unconditional love. He has seen me grow so much, and he had a lot to do with it. No matter how much I felt I messed up in a day, how much I hated myself, how much I fussed at him for misbehaving, whether I was gone for 5 minutes or 5 hours—he was there, tail furiously wagging, a gift in his mouth (usually a shoe—sometimes socks, gloves, blankets, and even a 3-lb barbell once), greeting me with love, always. Always happy to see me. I know I am fortunate to have gotten so much time with him, and it has been one of the greatest honors of my life to have loved and been loved by him. He was diagnosed with kidney failure in January 2021, and then we enjoyed a wonderful remission period. However, he told me it was time to go last night, and I knew I had to be merciful with my last act of love for him. He passed very peacefully this morning. We had beautiful weather as we helped him cross the rainbow bridge, surrounded by the people who loved him most.

We are here before our dogs are born, and we continue after they are gone; they must think of us as timeless, immovable, like mountains or gods. I can only try to live up to the person Hambone imagined me to be. Hambone, if love alone could have kept you alive, you would have lived forever. Rest In Peace, my beautiful, silly boy. The best nap partner, the worst guard dog, and the most loving companion I could have asked for. We both came into each other’s lives right when we needed it.

He is survived by his adoptive golden retriever and chow chow mix sister, Casserole, who is also a senior rescue. Adopting Hambone inspired me to continue adopting seniors.