A few days ago one of my best friends in the world passed away. Boomer was 13 years old and had been with my family for much of my conscious life.
Boomer was a surprise and a wonderful gift to my family. He originally belonged to my mom’s colleague, Mike, at the University of Utah. It was time for Mike’s sabbatical and he chose to go off to Asia. My family always loved playing with Boomer when we were at Mike’s house, so he asked us to dog-sit Boomer.
Instantly Boomer became part of the family.
As a border-collie, Boomer had an insane amount of energy because she came from a family line used to chasing sheep. Every morning during middle school I would wake up at 5:30 AM and take Boomer out to our local park and play fetch for hours.
Boomer could become a monomaniac at times. She would fetch a tennis ball for hours on end.
Anyone who has ever come by our house has had boomer paw at their feet, begging for them to throw a stick or a ball. I let a lot of my close friends know about Boomer’s passing away, and this text was probably the hardest to stomach.
Boomer was a very smart dog. Border Collies regularly top the canine intelligence list and are rated to the equivalent human intelligence of a 2.5 year old human. She could read humans extremely well. If you weren’t a dog person, she’d leave you alone. She knew exactly when you were distracted from work and could play with her. I always knew that when I came home from a breakup, Boomer would know what was up and would come shove her nose into me.
I came to love Boomer so quickly I thought she would always be there and was invincible. Boomer was smart enough to know the difference between sidewalks and streets. When I would take her out on walks she would always run to the end of the block and dutifully wait for permission to cross the street.
Once, as a stupid and young teenager, I was in a rush to get Boomer’s walk over so I could go skiing. I told her to start walking across the street before a car had fully crossed. At a normal walking pace, there was more than enough time for the car to pass before I would be fully in the street. However, I forgot how scared Boomer was of streets and would dart across the street.
I watched Boomer run ahead next to me in slow-motion. Her left leg got caught under one of the back tires of the car. It was the day after a huge snowstorm, so she got caught underneath the car and was dragged along as the driver skidded to a stop.
I started yelling for help and calling my parents to ask them to help me since I was only two blocks from home.
Somehow time wasn’t passing properly. My screaming made some neighbors come outside.
Suddenly I realized Boomer was nowhere near the scene of the accident.
I followed the trail of blood and looked up to see her limping towards home. She didn’t look like she was in good shape. For such a small dog she was losing a lot of blood.
I ran after her, unsure what I would do once I got to her. I had no clue how to help.
Two neighbors pulled up in their truck and asked me what happened. They picked her up. One of them pinched the open artery.
My dad came running out and asked what happened. I said “Boomer got hit by a car. They’re taking him to the vet now” pointing to the neighbor’s truck which was driving off.
My dad and I hopped into a car seconds later and followed them to the vet. The entire time I was completely frozen and didn’t want to tell anyone what I had done.
My careless order of “Let’s cross the street Boomer” almost killed my dog.
The next few days were extremely difficult. For a long time we thought Boomer was going to have her leg amputated. Boomer fought that off. Next we were told she would never be able to run properly again. She returned from the vet after recovering there for a couple of days.
She had to wear a dog cone to stop her from licking her injury and irritating it. She wore a large cast which made it impossible for her to walk.
6 months later, Boomer was out running around a field without a care in the world. She was never quite as graceful as before the accident, but boy she was just as fast and worked through her injury.
That day and the proceeding events had a huge impact on my life. It showed me the fragility of life and how we live in a constant state of juggling where a moment’s inattention can end it all.
I fell in love even more with Boomer. I became overly protective and tried to include her in everything.
My sister, Maya, entered the family and the two bonded instantly. The two of them could play fetch for hours on end. A perfect fit. Except for the times when Boomer would sit on Maya:
Boomer was intensely loyal and would go through anything to do whatever the rest of the family was doing. Whether that was wearing Christmas hats:
Climbing up a steep hike:
Trudging through a river:
Or even helping cleanup after I had been TP’d:
Boomer was a constant entertainer and would even drag you in a sled if you asked nicely:
Boomer always preferred people over animals. He never got along with other dogs and would always yelp and run away from moose and deer.
I like to think her fear of streets and wild animals was foreshadowing for what was to come.
A few days ago, Boomer was alone in our yard and was attacked by a wild animal. Her neck was completely destroyed. She steadily walked back home and curled up in her cage. She slowly bled to death and wasn’t discovered by my dad until late that night. Thanks for being there for me through everything.
I miss you so much Boomer.
I wish I’d gotten a chance to take you on one last walk. I’m happy you went on a walk with the whole family last Sunday. You always loved being out in the snow.
I’ll miss you girl.