I grew up with a golden retriever named Sunday, who died when I was 17. I convinced my parents to adopt another dog during my senior year in high school; a mutt who we named Ferris. I left for college a year later, so I only got to see Ferris on my infrequent trips home. I was not allowed to have a dog in the dorms and my post-college lifestyle did not allow me to get a dog. As I moved from city to city, there was a dog-sized hole in my heart.
In 2003 I was living in Portland, Oregon where I met Aaron Renier and his wonderful dog Beluga. My friendship with Aaron turned out to be a lasting one, and over the years I have had the honor of dog sitting Beluga in many different cities and settings. He was everything a dog should be: loyal, fun, energetic, silly and caring. Whenever I spent time with him, that hole in my heart was filled.
Two days ago, Beluga sadly passed away. He was one of the greatest dogs ever to have lived, and those of us who were lucky enough to have known him will miss him dearly, but Aaron most of all. I hope wherever he is now, there is at least a pool full of bones, though I believe tennis balls were his favorite thing to chew into oblivion. Rest in peace, Beluga! We will miss you.