A few months after moving to London our neighours – the Spellers – told us they had a dog. I was very surprised. In the five or six months we had been living next door we had never heard so much as a whimper, let along a barking dog. All I could do was take their word for it. About a week later I was out BBQing some prime rib, when I heard the sound of his nails against the wood of the beck next door. “Here boy,” I called, while peering through the little holes between the fence palings. I heard the intake of air as he propelled himself to stand and look over the fence. His head, the size of a small watermelon was now smiling above me! “Wow,” I said out loud. “You are not a dog, you are a horse!”

A cross with Mastiff and Great Dane, big boy Oden was happy to say hello. When we shared the first of the prime rib together we bonded as friends. Since that day Oden never misses the chance to say hello whenever he and I were back yarding. I once BBQed turkey burgers and put on an extra for Oden. I gave it to him on the spatula over the fence. It was a 6 oz burger – he took it like an Orthodox grandmother graciously and reverently receiving communion on the tongue. The only difference being he devoured my supplication in a instant. Eventually I got myself some good dog treats to keep by the door so that I could say hello on a daily basis. Prime Rib was reserved for special occasions. 

It was so mild today that I thought perhaps Oden might be in his back yard. So I grabbed a dog biscuit this morning and slide the patio door open… had a look.. he was not there. This afternoon the Spellers let me know that Oden had to be put down on Thursday. He had cancer and it was time. He’s not my dog – but my heart broke. I loved that dog. I can only imagine how hard it was for the Spellers. I have been blessed with terrific neighbours. They have incredible children. And they provided me a loyal friend in a big dog named Oden. I will miss him terribly. He was a gentle giant.

Lord Almighty God,
Oden brought sunshine to us 
and was a vital part of our lives.
Having to put him down has created a void
in our hearts that cannot be filled.
We do not question the will of God,
but ask Him to be merciful in our loss. Amen.

God Bless you Shawn and Maria. You are in my prayers.