It was late 2013 when I drove past a little dog head with big floppy ears attached poking out of the long grass in the backwoods of Florida. My girlfriend at the time said we had to go back and get him, so we did.
He was timid at first but friendly, and came right up to us when we approached. We took him home and fed him. I was reading a lot of Salinger then, so I named him Holden.
Over the years, he and I grew up together — me through the rest of my 20s, and him into old age.
We traveled up and down the east coast, hiking cities and waterfalls; camping among canyon coyotes or highway trucks.
We developed our own language — I knew his wants and needs, and he knew where we were going and (of course) when we'd eat.
He'd snuggle close and keep watch in our tent. I'd pet his nose until he fell asleep. He'd be my morning alarm clock. I'd make sure he never got separated from the pack.
Throughout it all, he had many other humans raising and caring for him over the years, through friendships and relationships. They all gave him the love he deserved, and helped make him into the wonderful companion he came to be.
From Florida to New York City, he experienced so much, and was a part of so many lives.
Last night, a friend said Holden was lucky I stole him from the woods that late October day — and that I've served him well.
But he did just the same for me in our 10 years together, right until his last breath. We were both lucky to have found each other, and I'm so thankful for all the time I had with my sweet boy.
A growing collection of photos on Snap.as: Adventures with Holden.