December 31, 2017
When Bethany Croyle lost her six and a half year old Great Dane, Bear, I sent her a private message on Facebook to let her know I cared. After she wrote me back, I asked if I could share her story with my readers. She agreed. Here’s Bethany’s story in her own words.
Last night was very difficult. Ben says that it takes a few weeks to learn new routines, and stop looking for them each time you come home. Let’s hope today is better than yesterday. I’m of the opinion that there’s one special animal that is significant above all the others in a person’s lifetime. For my sister, it was a Great Dane named Stubby. Bear is mine. I don’t know if I will ever get another dog. Right now I can’t comprehend it. But maybe someday there will be another.
He was and is an incredibly special dog.
I understand that connection that happens when they walk beside you through emotional hardship. He picked me at the least opportune time for me to have a dog- much less a Dane puppy. I’d just ended an abusive marriage and decided to move back to Idaho to be near family. So much easier to be a single parent with family around!
I rolled in to town, after five days on the road, and had been crying ever since the Idaho border. My sister met me in the driveway and pushed me in her car, saying “good! You’re here. Welcome home. Let’s go look at puppies!” Such a bizarre homecoming. I never even got in the house.
Bear picked me that day. I almost missed it. After playing with them all, we were loading the puppies in to the truck bed, and he crawled into my arms with his wise, worried eyes. I put him back with the herd. It was hours later that I thought of him again and said, “I’d name him Barron.” That was it. He picked me.
But I was technically a homeless, unemployed single parent. I felt like I was walking around with a scarlet A on my chest, labeling me as abused. I was a mess, and really had no business getting a dog. But he picked me, and I never had reason to regret it.
The next few years had exciting elements to them. I got the bookstore, found a tiny house to rent. However, they were dark emotional times for me. Bear was beside me every day. He went to work with me, slept with me, and was a constant source of comfort while I cried myself to sleep some nights.
The support from everyone has been wonderful. It’s helped knowing that he was loved by so many, and that I’m not crazy for grieving like I am.
Bethany Croyle always wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Deciding that dream was too far fetched, she chose to be a gemologist, gluten free baker, exceptional barista, and bookstore owner while raising her daughter. She’s now chasing her first love and writing fiction in a town where cows outnumber the people. The only things she misses about city life are sushi and designer shoes. Bethany found love again with an Air Force crew chief named Ben.
Mom’s early morning text four years ago jolted me awake. I pictured all five of us kids getting her message at the same time. Her words caused us to stop and remember and to never forget. We lost our little brother, Larry Lynn Doran, thirty-four years ago today. He was driving home from fishing at Navajo Lake up in northern New Mexico when his ’67 powder blue Mustang left the road and changed our lives forever. We will never know why.
Larry was eleven days away from turning twenty-one. Our hope is that he didn’t suffer. He had a caring soul and a quiet sense of humor. Shy as a boy, he was just coming out of his shell and finding his way in the world. Seems like yesterday all six of us kids were together – cheaper by the half dozen – opening Christmas presents or fidgeting and teasing each other unmercifully in church.
At Dad’s funeral in May 2013, I heard lots of sniffles during the slideshow whenever Larry’s photo appeared. Although his physical presence has been gone from this earth for thirty-four years, I feel him sometimes late at night when the wind blows through the trees. Dad and Larry are together now, and our family takes comfort in that.