By Megan Minkiewicz
A lifetime ago I met a yellow Labrador retriever named Noah who forever changed my life. He was young and I was single; we made a good team.
To say he stole my heart is an understatement. For nearly 14 years he was my shadow and constant companion. While Noah chose a career path different than the one he was prepared for as a Guide Dog puppy, he followed the path for which he was meant.
Every decision in my life was made considering how it would affect Noah, from moving in with a boy, to marrying that boy, to buying a house, to moving to Oregon. He helped me raise four other Guide Dog puppies, served as attendant in our wedding, and traveled wherever we went. I can honestly say I don’t recall a day when Noah didn’t hop in the car to go somewhere with us. We were his whole life; Megan & Alex, peppered with whatever current puppy we were raising.
Losing him has been the most painful experience. Losing anyone you love is devastating and we can never be prepared as the circumstances can never be predicted. I did not wake up Tuesday, January 19, 2010 and think it would be our last day with Noah. Yes, he was a senior citizen, but he was Noah and he was going to live forever. I had pushed the inevitable so far from my mind I never saw it coming. One moment he was fine, wrestling with the new puppy in training, and gone the next. Noah lived life to the fullest every last second, and that is Noah’s lasting legacy - one we can all strive to attain.
I continue to learn from my heart dog as I stumble through this unfamiliar territory. I have learned to be more compassionate, I have learned I cannot control everything no matter how hard I try, I’ve learned we have an amazing family in GDB, I’ve learned how to grieve. I’ve learned I will never be without Noah.
Every dog is special. Some just take hold of your heart a little more.