Yesterday we said goodbye to our sweet boy Malik.
I think unless you are a dog person, you can never understand the connection people have with their dogs. Sort of like how I do not understand the people that have snakes, rats, mice, etc. (What is up with those people?….Yuck!)
Anyway, Malik was our protector. He loved us fiercely, He was our first introduction to the beautiful Anatolian Shepherd breed. In 2004, we went to check out fainting goats at a farm in north Alabama. When we arrived we saw Malik in the pasture and were mesmerized. Never had we seen an animal so large! And he was just a puppy she told us! The owners had him in a pasture to guard their goats. She let us know quickly that he would kill anything and everything that set foot in that pasture near those goats. She said she awoke often to dead things in her pasture. You were not going to get by Malik, that was for sure.
We left that day more interested in this new found breed of dog than we ever were in the fainting goats. We ended up contacting a breeder near Attalla and bought a male puppy from him.
Shortly afterward, we received a call from Malik’s owner. Her tone of voice was very grieved as she told me of how her husband had been diagnosed with Alzheimers. They decided that it would be too much for her to care for her husband as well as all the goats and other animals on their farm. She was looking to sell Malik to a family that would provide him with a good home. We jumped at the chance to add him to our family and within days we brought him home. The owner assured us that he would take right to our goats and guard them well.
Boy was she wrong! That crazy dog would NOT stay in that pasture with our goats for ANYTHING! Every time we put him in, he would climb right back out. Over the fence, over the barbed wire…that boy wanted out! And where did he go? To our house.
He stayed as close to us as he could get. Every time we put him back in the pasture, he was quickly right back at our door. To tell the truth, he never bonded with our goats. He bonded with our family.
When I would arrive home and get out of the car to unlock the door and take my things inside, I would return to the car to get Ellie and he would be standing beside her door. He would stand up against the door and you would have to force him to move so you could get her out of the car. When we went on to have other children, he would stand by their doors as well. Seeming to know which side of the car they were on. When Ellie was a newborn a neighborhood child commented on what a cute baby she was and reached up to touch her while she was in my arms. Malik was standing between us and the little boy and before I could speak, Malik bit the little boy right in the crook of his arm. No one was going to touch his baby.
Once David was playing in the front yard with a friend and they were chasing each other back and forth, screaming and yelling. As soon as David made a sound, Malik was right there. We had to make them stop “playing” for fear that Malik was going to hurt someone while protecting David.
Just the other day, Ellie and Ethan went outside for a swim and I brought Ruby Kate outside in her high chair with some Cheerios. Malik walked right up to her…she was just at the right height to meet his head. He got nose to nose with her and was so gentle. Never licked her. Never made a sound. Never even took one of her Cheerios. She just reached out to pet him in between Cheerios and he was so patient. He eventually laid at her feet and kept her company.
Bryan always said when I would leave the house, Malik would lay where my car was normally parked. I can’t tell you how often I came home and had to wait for him to get his big tail up out of my parking spot!
I will miss seeing him there.
I will miss that my two littlest children will probably never remember our sweet boy.
I will miss him waiting for me at the bridge when we had been gone all day.
I will miss the looks on the faces of our delivery men when seeing Malik. Most of them will probably not miss him.
I will miss the way he just pressed up against you as you were walking together. He would almost knock you over, he would press against you so hard.
I will miss that deep, strong bark. A bark that let you know he meant business and that he was NOT playing. That bark often sent people quickly back into their cars and forced them to call our house so we could walk them in!
I will miss the safe feeling I felt, knowing he was right outside watching over us.
Malik’s name meant “majestic”. And that he was.
I’ve never really had any thoughts on whether dogs go to heaven or not. Don’t know that I have ever really even thought about it. I do know that heaven will be perfect.
What could be more perfect that meeting my Savior face to face and having Malik waiting in my parking spot when I get there.
Until next time,