As the Christmas season is here and in full swing, I can't help but focus on those that I will not have the opportunity to spend time with this year.  As with last year, my Dad comes to mind.  We lost him in 2011 and while it has been a while, that feeling of loss never stops when the holiday rolls around.

This year, I felt another loss and while it was not a human member of the family, I still feel the sting that my good friend is not with me this year.

This past June, we lost a long time member of the family in our dog, named Bob.  He was with us for 12 years, being one of the best friends we could have ever had.  At times that I needed him, he was a constant friend that met me at the door and acted like I was the most important thing in the world.  When I had to travel for business, I knew the family was in good hands, or in this case, paws.

Bob was also a lot of fun, although in his own peculiar way.  He played frisbee with us, but only for a couple of tosses when he decided it was our turn to go fetch the frisbee.  You have also never heard a dog actually "talk" the way he did.  It is something that could only be seen and heard, experienced rather than explained.  I don't know how many times he decided he wanted to express his feelings and did this.  And believe me, when you told him something he didn't want to do, he would obey, but you heard about it.

Over the course of his life, he had the privilege of living in 4 different states and putting up with moves all over the place.  He dealt with cold weather, hot weather, tropical storms and other oddities and handled each of them with the same feeling of wonder.  Although, he was not one to put up with too much rain.  I can't begin to tell you how many times he would give me that look that basically said, "No, that's okay, I really don't want to get wet."

In his later years, I would describe him as a rug with organs and that suited him to a tee.  He liked to lay around and sleep and enjoyed just being near you.  Even still, when you mentioned him or just looked his way, he sprung up and found his way to you and, more often than not, put his rather long snout in your lap.  Believe me, that was always a surprise when you weren't looking.

It has been since June and we have had our moments when we have caught what we thought was him out of the corner of our eyes.  By and large, our lives have continued forward and we are okay.  Still, when you lose one of your animals, it does make a difference.  You realize that they always had a piece of you with them and whatever they did, no matter how annoying, you still loved them no matter what.

Believe me, I could tell stories about things that this dog chewed up in his younger days.  It was a list that included laundry, dining room chairs and, believe it or not, baseboards.  Still, I remember him for the look he always gave me every time I looked his way.  It was much like the picture that I took above, one of the last ones ever taken of our friend.

I miss him and think of him this season just like I would anyone else in the family.  And that is just how it should be, no matter whether that family member has hands and feet or paws.