White Dog jumped on Steve's chest and handed him a card. He hugged her and started to set it aside saying, "I do not think I am going to celebrate much today." She insistently pushed the card back at him and growled when he again attempted to set aside. It was from Quinn.
"Dearest Dad," it began.
This is not the birthday I had planned for you and the last thing I would ever want is for you to be sad and grieving on such a special day. One thing being part of the White Dog Army taught me was to take every opportunity to celebrate life and the bonds of love that make it rich.
From the first day I felt your gentle touch and looked into your eyes, I have given you my heart and soul; I have felt the warm alive feeling inside of me that made me certain of your same commitment to me. For the first time in my life I became a part of something wonderful...a network of such amazing giving and sharing. I knew I would never be ignored or abandoned or afraid again. I was part of a miracle from the moment momma laid eyes on my scrawny matted deathrow photo until the very moment at the end when I found peace wrapped in the arms of my family. You know that I will be a part of that miracle always.
Someday you will join me. All bodies eventually fail the eternal soul. Until then feel me with you in spirit and love...blessing you with a gentle breeze, kissing you with the precious rain, reminding you in the sparkling stars that shine on your nightly walks with the Army. I am ever at your side.
I will not ask that you not be sad...I know humans feel such pain when it is time to part. But I do thank you for being so compassionate and brave to give me release. Look to my brothers and sisters; give each other comfort. I will live forever because you all took me in, accepted me, and loved me. Please when your mind is clearer and your heart starts to heal consider giving this incredible gift to another dog in need...a second chance to an unloved would be the greatest tribute.
Remember dad, I am the Mighty Quinn, the Miracle Boy. You saved my life and gave me a forever life filled with more than I ever hoped for. See the connection, dad? It is LIFE...in all of its complexity and wonder and pain. It is an amazing thing.
Celebrate it! Celebrate yourself today for your part in the wonder...
And feel with every fiber of your being that I am celebrating you! I wish you a birthday free from tears and full of love...Your Q-Man