July 04, 2008
Cliff and Norm, R.I.P.
Posted by: Chris
It's been a quiet week of blogging for me, and I want to thank Andoni and Kevin for doing such a great job holding down the fort. I've alluded before about having returned early for this trip to the U.S. because of a difficult time for my family. Some of you already know that my sister is very near death after a prolonged period of incapacitation, and these final weeks have been wrenching for all of us.
This past week, I have taken a detour from my family time in Memphis to come to Atlanta, which was my home for most of the 1990s. Unfortunately, grim news followed me. My time here happened to coincide with a visit by the very kind family who took in my beagles, Cliff and Norm, when I moved to Brazil in 2006. They shared the very sad news that Norman had passed away some six months ago, and Clifford had run off two or three months before that.
The news came as a complete shock, somewhat compounded by my not knowing for so long it had happened. (Long story there.) I remain grateful to them for providing a home to my dogs for their final years, and they did their best to reassure me their neighborhood is densely populated and chances are good that Cliff was simply taken in by another family.
That isn't hard to believe, actually. Everyone loved Cliff and Norm. In the 15 years these lifelong littermates were my nearly constant companions at home and at the office, friends and coworkers would come by as much to hang out with "the boys" as to see me. When I began the heavy travel schedule to Holland and then Brazil, there was never a shortage of friends more than happy to adopt them for a long-weekend or even a couple of weeks.
I was a bit of a mess when I said my goodbyes to Cliff and Norm back in October 2006, because I knew I might not see them again. They were far too old to endure the travel to Brazil, and I had no good way of caring for them properly down there. I do know that their final year or so was happy, because the friend's family who took them in loves dogs and has a big backyard with lots of room for exploring.
Still, I feel some guilt about how the boys were impacted by my life decisions, dating back to 2005 when I moved for the first time into a condo setting. Beagles need space because their noses are always compelling them to explore. Our short walks to the park in Colombia Heights couldn't compare to time spent sniffing the winds and rummaging around the backyard.
Of course I hope that Cliff remains alive and thriving, but I will let go of my own relationship to him, and say thanks to them both for so many years of unconditional love and faithful companionship.
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