Friday, July 10, 2009

Mesa Bravo: December 1, 1997 - July 10, 2009

Mesa Bravo, our "Big Boy", died peacefully this evening at home in Mimi's and my arms. He was 11 and a half years old.

Bravo was a grade A racer at three different tracks, Flagler, Derby Lane, and Jefferson County Kennel Club. He won 19 races and finished in the money over 60 times in his career.
He was retired in the fall of 2002 and brought to the Southeastern Greyhound Club Kennel in Acworth.

One Saturday, a friend of ours in the Greyhound Club told me that there was a fantastic boy greyhound at the kennel if I was interested. The next day, I drove up to Acworth after church to help out with kennel maintenance. I walked up to Bravo's run and was immediately face-to-face with a beautiful red/gold-brindle and white boy who weighed about 85 pounds and was tall enough to pet without stooping. I took him out to do his business while his kennel was cleaned and on returning I sat down in the big overstuffed chair. Bravo came up to me and put a paw by each hip and then buried his head in my chest. Bravo had found a home and I had found my "Big Boy."

His transition to the house had some amusing moments. He and Magic our first greyhound got into a territory marking contest that ended with a humiliated Magic wearing a diaper and Bravo in a belly-band.

Weeks after Bravo had acclimated to the house, I was lying in bed on a Saturday morning when Bravo jumped up and plopped down on the bed. He was soon asleep, with his eyes rolled back in his head and his breathing slow and steady. He had never been in a bed before. We stayed like this for about an hour and a half before I had to get up. A little while later, Mimi got in the bed and called to me, "Honey, did you spill a glass of water in the bed?" I had not. Bravo, however, had become so relaxed that he emptied his bladder all over Mimi's side of the bed. Greyhounds are not familiar with our creature comforts.

Mimi gave Bravo to me as my Christmas gift in 2002. Bravo was the most beautiful dog that I have ever seen. He was sweet, smart, and incredibly loyal, always willing to protect his family. In December of last year, Bravo was severely bitten by a pit-bull and his injury was made much worse because he spent most of his effort shielding me from the dog.

He developed bone cancer about two months ago, although it was finally diagnosed in early July. He remained reasonably comfortable to the end.

Mimi and I will shed many tears for Bravo, but the tears will be more than outweighed by the wonderful memories of this majestic, loyal, loving greyhound. We will see him in heaven.

The picture is of Bravo and daughter Melanie, taken when she was 12 and Bravo had just come into our home.


Anonymous said...

I am saddened by the loss of your friend and non-human family member. My late wife and I had a dear friend who rescued greyhounds from Tijuana and Danes from medical labs. Our lives were so enriched by our adopted "guys" over the years and our children grew up being "nannied" by hounds and danes. Those are wonderful memories.

Jim Ryland

Anonymous said...

I know you and Mimi will miss your brave and loving friend.

Adele said...

Bravo, you were the best boy. I hope you had a fun and painless crossing on the rainbow bridge. Please give Dad a slobber, he really loved dogs...I bet he'll let you smoke just like I did. Tell Harwood, Basil, Sandy and Angus we still love them a lot. They'll show you around. Run hard big guy, there won't be any pain in heaven and God will watch over you.

Tom said...

Fr. Robert,

What a moving tribute to your friend Bravo. As one who has said farewell to several rescue dogs over the years, I extend my sympathy to you and Mimi.

Tom McHenry+

whabbear said...

A wonderful blog on the loss of a pet... condolences to you and the family!

Fr. John said...

We can learn a lot from dogs.

The Rev. Robert T. Jones IV, Psy.D. said...

Thanks to everyone for your kind comments.