On Saturday, the big three, Sidney, Buddy, and finally Moose were reunited at the Bridge.
Sydney was the first to arrive, a victim of complications that developed after a series of seizures. Buddy, who had battled IMHF for years, appeared last year. Finally, Moose's strong little heart gave out at the end of last week.
There lives together were like a blissful summer day. Eight years ago, it was midday, and the joyful afternoon seemed endless. The idea of these three pups no longer being on the mortal side was unimaginable. But age and disease came as the sun began to set. Now that night has fallen, they are gone.
They did make sure their mom was not left alone. More than a year ago, they arranged for the irrepressible Toula to fill their mom's heart with love. While the cute little dog has fulfilled that mission, no new pup can fully take away the heartache of a missing angel.
It was difficult for Moose to be the last leaf on the tree. He missed his siblings terribly. It was his job to stay with his mom for as long as possible. He had to beg, borrow, and steal heartbeats along the way and used his extra time to tutor Toula. The Big Three had created the model for how dogs should interact with their parents. Moose couldn't succumb to illness without having made sure Toula had these methods down pat.
All dogs, at some point, must pass the torch to a new generation. A dog's time on Earth is a blink of an eye. Every pack makes their humans better and then relinquish their spot to a younger pup who will work on further improving their imperfect humans. The Big Three's glorious run as Momma Michelle's babies has concluded. Now it is time for Toula, and whatever dog may follow to continue their work.
Moose was of two minds as he approached the Bridge. When he took his final mortal breath, and then seconds later emerged from the River of Life, his heart ached as he thought about how much he would miss his parents, family, and Toula.
But he had also yearned for those long summer days when he could play, walk, and bark with his siblings, then sleep in the warm sun next to them. He had visited them in his dreams, but being with them on the immortal side would be for remarkable.
Sydney was the first to see her brother. Dogs are supposed to wait at Hobo's Landing on top of the long stairway that rises above the Bridge. But, dogs are emotional creatures and Sydney, and then Buddy, did as all many angels had done before them when seeing a loved one. They scurried down the steps, tackled their beloved siblings, and gave 1,000 kisses.
I waited for their reunion to end with the hundreds of angels the trio had befriended during their mortal lives. We did not rush them. Literally, we could have waited for an eternity.
Finally, the Big Three climbed the stairs. I administered the angel oath, and we all gave Moose a big cheer, then we had a welcome banquet in his honor. The siblings smiled through all the courses.
That night, and every night since the Big Three have gone into their mom's dreams and played with all their energy hoping they will make so much noise their mom will remember their visit. During the day they are either playing together, running together, chewing on bines together, or sleeping together. They are never apart.
Because they know that is the way their mom wants them to be. Together.