Goodbye to a Good Friend

There’s a lot of truth in the old adage that a dog is a man’s best friend.  Yesterday the Hyde family bid a sad farewell to a good friend indeed.

Knight was a mix between a Black Lab and something else, probably a Dalmatian.  We got him in the summer of 1993 when he was almost a year old.

Knight was a part of our family during a season of vast change.  When the family got him, Big Papa Bush was still President.  I was barely 18 and was at Marine Corps boot camp in Parris Island.  My brother Dylan was a sophomore in high school, and my brother Jason was getting ready to go to college in Montana for a year. 

In the 14 years since then, other family pets have come and gone.  Two of us have gotten married.  Dylan is the only one still living in Mount Airy.  Three grandchildren have arrived.

In fact, part of the process of coming of age among the Hyde grandchildren was learning to say “Knight.”  I remember when my niece Jazlyn was just a toddler, and she went to a daycare down the street.  I walked over there with my dad one day to pick her up, and as we were about halfway home, Knight ran over to greet us and when Jazlyn saw him, she called out, “Knight!  Knight!”  It was so cute.  Another time when she was two or three, I ran down the hallway and ducked into the bathroom to hide from her.  I heard her walk by and say with all sincerity, “Knight, where did Nathan go?”

Justin, my four-year-old nephew, learned to say Knight’s name with my dad’s Arkansas accent.  He would actually argue with you over the pronunciation, insisting, “It’s not ‘Knite,’ it’s ‘Knaght.'”

And little Kevin, who turned two yesterday, had just learned to say “Knight.”

We have a ton of great memories of Knight.  He was a noble dog–seriously, he ruled the neighborhood.  He was the community Alpha Dog, and every dog in the neighborhood had to respect Knight’s authority in his domain.  It was so funny the way he’d strut around.  I could go on and on about the funny memories, such as the time he found a ten-pound Hershey bar and ate most of it.  He spent a lot of time outside that night.

Knight was such a part of the family that I often bore his name.  My dad has three separate, distinct sons–Jason, Nathan, and Dylan–yet he often uses the names interchangeably.  The past few years, my dad has called me “Jas–Dyl–I-mean-Knigh–oh-shoot, Nathan!”

Yesterday morning my brothers went to be with my dad and Knight as they took him to the vet to be put to sleep.  I’m so glad they were able to be with my dad, because I can’t even imagine how hard this is on him.  At times like this, there’s no such thing as “just a dog.”  I’m glad I have the lame excuse of being three hours away, because I don’t think I could’ve handled it.  They’ve definitely got more fortitude than I do.

They did something really cool.  I’d never heard of someone doing this before.  Before they took Knight in to the vet, they spoiled him.  They took him to the park and let him off the leash.  They fed him a bunch of ground beef with cheese.  They even let him indulge in some chocolate ice cream.

I can’t even write this with dry eyes.  As we often told him, Knight was “such a good boy.”  It’s with great sadness but even greater memories and appreciation that we say goodbye to a good friend.

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Published in: on May 8, 2007 at 8:46 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Nathan I am so sorry about Knight. Our pets really do become part of the family. You said you couldn’t write this with dry eyes…that’s okay I don’t think anyone will be able to read it with dry eyes either.

  2. Thanks, Amy. Your sympathy is appreciated. My dad usually reads this blog, and I know he’ll appreciate it, too.


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