Remembering a special, old gentleman

Published 7:28 pm Friday, August 11, 2017

A little over a year ago, I visited the local shelter with a friend to meet an elderly border collie that was housed there.

He was a lovely, dignified old gentleman with the sweetest face I’ve ever seen. He bore his incarceration with grace.

I christened him Sean Connery, and learned his story. That sweet, sweet fellow had been abandoned in the shelter’s overnight drop-off, hopefully by a kind person who saw him wandering, or after his person had passed away, and not by an owner who’d grown tired of him after fourteen or so years of friendship.

No matter how he got there, no one had come for him, and it had been weeks.

Hubby and I gave his people an extra two weeks to come before we brought Sean Connery into the Hagebak home.

He was sweet and humble from the start. He seemed to enjoy the air conditioning and the relative quiet.

He loved going out with the other dogs, and as time went on, he started showing an interest in playing with toys. He always made sure to come to me or hubby for some pets and hugs.

Often Sean Connery sat with me, his head on my knee, just being. He was deaf as a post and couldn’t hear our kind words, but I felt like he knew we were saying them.

He loved us, but he never gave us his full heart.

His eyes would linger on the door after we came through it, just in case the person who lost him and had surely been looking for him, walked in behind us.

Sean Connery was gravely ill one day when I got home.

He was paralyzed. His elderly body was giving out, and an old injury flared. There was no hope, even after steroids and consultations.

He was a Hagebak just a day shy of three months, and I saw that while I held him and told him that he was a good dog and how much I loved him as he breathed his last, his eyes were on the door, just in case.

There was something special about my elderly gentleman. His gentle spirit and kind eyes moved people.

During our brief time together, I heard many time, “There’s just something about him.”

I hope that when he looked past me in his last moments, it was to see the smiling, welcoming face of the one for whom he searched. I like to think that they’re together again, herding celestial sheep across the heavens.

Pepper Ellis Hageback is a resident of LaGrange