In Memory of Cassius Isley

A Letter to My Boy

Before I actually met you, I already knew you. For two years, I knew I wanted a boxer – male, fawn – and his name would be Cassius Clay. When I finally saw you on June 10, 1998, you were only 11 days old and your eyes were still closed. There were seven puppies, five females and two males. You were the only fawn male. And, when I looked at you, I knew. I said to the breeder, “That’s Cassius.”

Like an expectant, new mom, I immediately started preparing for you to come into my life. I got your crate ready and bought you bedding and toys and food and treats. I even took an old baby blanket from one of my nephews. But, please, don’t tell. That’s our secret.

I watched you grow from a rambunctious, hyperactive, affectionate puppy that ate everything in sight, including my belt, a collar, a pair of pants and a rag doll to a silly, spunky, playful, loving mature dog.

You were always good for laugh. Do you remember the day you kept chasing Jeremy around my office chair trying to give him a kiss? But, he was so afraid that he started to cry because he thought you were gonna bite him. Some people just didn’t understand your exuberant public displays of affection.

Or do you remember when we were driving from Maryland to North Carolina and I left you in the car for a few minutes with my half-eaten tuna sandwich and you ate it? Then, you tried to pretend you didn’t eat it but there was mayonnaise on your nose. LOL. I couldn’t get angry because, heck, you were just being a dog. My bad.

The last month wasn’t easy for you but I pray that I offered you enough love to give you some comfort. Just know that you brought me and so many other people a tremendous amount of joy and I just wanna let you know that there are many things that I’ll miss.

I’ll miss you peeking your head under the covers and licking my nose when you wanted to go out early in the morning.

I’ll miss you lying at my feet while I sat on the sofa.

I’ll miss you running full throttle around the backyard.

I’ll miss your bath time when you thought were supposed to drink the water.

I’ll miss your heavy sigh when I was tired of playing games with you.

I’ll miss your yucky sneezes in my face when I was talking to you.

I’ll miss the funny faces you’d make because of your underbite.

I’ll miss you lounging on a sofa or chair after a long day working to protect the house. *wink*

I’ll miss trying to brush your teeth while you licked the toothpaste off of the brush.

I’ll miss having to share my popcorn with you.

I’ll miss you doing “you know what,” then looking at me and walking away like I did it.

I’ll miss you pulling me down the street because you hated walking on the leash.

I’ll miss you greeting me at the door and almost knocking me down when I come home.

I’ll miss you running into the room to give me a kiss when you “know” I’m having a bad day.

I’ll miss the way you’d quizzically cock your head to side when I was trying to explain human things to you.

I’ll miss telling you to go to timeout and you taking a few steps, then looking back at me to ask “Are you sure?”

I’ll miss you thinking you’re a 60 lb. lap dog and climbing into my lap to watch a movie.

I’ll miss you alerting me whenever anyone dared walk on the sidewalk or the street in front of our house.

I’ll miss tossing popcorn and French fries to you and watching you catch them in midair.

I’ll miss you greeting visitors with a “Welcome!” pant, a “Please hug me” look and that patented Boxer booty shake.

I’ll miss your “I didn’t do it” look while licking your lips after you’d stolen my sandwich or pizza.

I’ll miss telling you to “Please be quiet” when you snored like an old man.

I’ll miss chasing you with the vacuum while you barked and growled at it. But, you kept coming back for more.

I’ll miss you panting behind my head when we went for long drives.

I’ll miss letting you go outside to play and you standing at the door staring at me to let you back in because you weren’t really a dog.

I’ll miss you looking at a cat or a squirrel or a rabbit and not chasing them because, again, you weren’t really a dog.

I’ll miss your Houdini tricks when you’d find a way to get out of your crate or open a door. But, I forget, you weren’t really a dog.

Most of all, I’ll miss looking in those big, brown eyes and feeling all the love that you had for me. You were the sweetest, most lovable companion – EVER. My Champion! And, like your namesake you were the Greatest Of All Time!

So, thank you, my sweet, precious boy, for almost 13 years of protection, unconditional love, wet kisses, excellent companionship and unwavering loyalty. It’s sure not the same without you.

P.S. Now that you’re at Rainbow Bridge, don’t forget to look for Solomon, Silverfoot, Montgomery, Cisco, Sasha and Clyde. Oh and make sure you have Buster take you to my dad. Then, I’ll know for sure that you’ll be okay.

Love and miss you soooo very much!

Your Mom