Life With Phantom

Posted by Stephen Wells, ALDF's Executive Director on April 21, 2008

How can I write about my 11 years with Phantom without sounding cliché? Stories of unconditional love, devotion, trust and companionship are part of the fabric of life for those who choose to live our life with a dog. And I love every single one of the stories I’ve heard from people, strangers or loved ones, who have been thus blessed. Every story has so much in common. Yet every one is unique.

It’s that uniqueness I struggle to capture. Not necessarily for anyone else because no one will ever know the bond we shared, Phantom and me — though those who were closest to us have a pretty good idea. I tell our story to keep it alive and because, for all he gave me, I feel a sense of gratitude and debt that compels me. So, I sat at my computer, just hours after I made the decision to let him go and end his suffering, and I reopened a video project I had started months before. And I went through hundreds of photos and video clips on my computer. And I cried and I laughed (Phantom and I shared a goofy sense of humor that I think only he and I completely got). As the memories came flooding back I added and deleted until I felt like our story was adequately told.

So here it is. For those of you who know the joy and pain of sharing your home and your heart with a dog, a cat or any other animal, you will understand much of what is between the lines here. It was beautiful. And, for me, I will watch and laugh and cry and know that I am forever changed by it.

Thanks Phantom! This is for you, and all the animals who offer us so much.


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