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Keeper's Life: Only The Good Die Young

Posted by Joe Antle on March 26, 2020 7:30 PM EDT
Joe  Antle photo

A few months ago, I had the great fortune of getting to write a great comeback story.  Our beloved Grand Dog, Keeper, was on an amazing road to...

...recovery from a mysterious life threatening disease.  I had written a tribute and had saved it until the end came.

Amazingly, and joyfully, the end did not come.  At least then our lovely duck tolling retreiver Grand Dog was safe, eating well again and playing.  We didn't waste much time trying to figure out the miracle of his recovery.  We prayed and thanked God for it....but somehow we knew that even though it was a miracle, there could still be something awry.

And there was.

It's hard for me to put into words the grief that my daughter and her husband feel right now.  In a world overrun by fear and uncertainty and a new virus that has been called and pandemic and which has stolen so much from so many people in such a short time, losing Keeper may be even more painful.  Good people and good dogs should not die young...from any disease or any malfunction of the human condition.

Yet, they do.

Below is a link to the blog post I wrote a little while ago, celebrating the great Grand Dog Keeper and his awesome recovery. 


It's hard for me to even look at it and read the words.  But somehow, thinking about the valiant way Keeper fought to retain a little more life than fate had dealt him comforts me.  My blog then was a celebration of the unconditional love of a great pet.  Framing it as the thing it was, a renewal of a life that has brought so much joy and now, great memories into ours.  Now, that he is gone, I cannot muster the right words to give Keeper the tribute he deserves.

But my son-in-law can.

And he did.  

Following are the words that Emmy award-winning local broadcast multi-media journalist Philip Townsend wrote about his beloved friend, pet and first mate, Keeper.  Phil's skill in video story telling, making heroes from the stories of local average people who have done great things transfers easily to the written word in his Instagram tribute to his beloved Keeper.  Our beloved Keeper:

"Keeper represented so much moer than just a dog to us.  He repreented huge periods in our life-our first apartment and house together, marriage, new jobs, cross-county moves and, most recently, our first child.  He's been by our side for it all...happy, playful, sweet and orange.  He was family in every sense of the word".

"Sadly, for the last few months he fought a severe. complicated case of inflammatory bowel disease that vets now believe progressed into lymphoma.  It feels incredibly premature to us because he's only 7, but we hd to say goodbye lst night".  

"I take comfort knowing he's no longer in psin but selfishly wish we could have had 7 more years with him.  Thanks to our dear friends @scottyrob_yo and @jen330 for having this amazing portrait done for us a while back.  We'll chrish and love you forever, Keeper.  See you on the other side!"

The reason we need to find ways to improve everyone's health and to free up the resources to find solutions to the unfortunate "good ones who die young" is to avenge the premature deaths of great people and great pets.  Imagine we can become healthier as a society, how much resources can then be invested in solving the mysteries of poor health through no fault of the afflicted.

Well, COVID-19 is still raging forward, and many men and women will die from chronic illnesses and substance abuse addiction.  Fear and uncertainty abound.  But it's Easter and the promise of life everlasting brings new HOPE.  And we all know that "HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL".

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