Farewell to a Friend

This past week the K&L Redwood City store lost its head of security after a battle with illness. If you ever checked in with our staff directory in the past, you might have noticed that it contained a number of canine friends, each with their own title and position within the company (we've since taken down these listings in favor of....professionalism?). Billy was for many years the upstairs enforcer who reported to one man only, our customer service agent Sal Rodriquez. I walked by a barking Billy on many a morning, hoping to make it to my desk without interrogation, no snacks on hand to bribe my way past his intimidating force. Sadly, however, his presence is no longer with us. I'm turning the blog over to Sal today who penned this touching tribute to his friend:

I remember when you picked me out of many other possible human parents ten years ago. I remember the warnings they gave me. They told me that if I went home with you that I would have to enroll you in doggy behavioral classes. They told me that you had just gotten in a fight with a toothless old dog. You were about two years old, or so they thought. I smiled and thought, that's just the thing I would do: fight with a toothless older person! I knew we were meant to be together. We went to classes. You graduated with honors because you loved the treats.

Ever since the first day we went for that ride home, you've been my little shadow. We've gone on trips, we've been to the ocean, and you've charmed your way into many people's hearts. Whenever I had the opportunity to introduce you to my human friends, I had to warn them that you were the fastest kisser in the west. That you would be kissing them right on the mouth when they were least expecting it. I was always right. They got kissed! You went to work with me and became security of the office, making sure that everyone passing through was a friend—barking only if there was a foe or someone with an awful beard. When you weren't protecting the office from dangerous thugs, you managed to wiggle your way into being Shaun's lap dog. Probably because he had the best supply of snacks. You guys were bestest buds. There was no-one in the office that didn't like you. I won't "out" the people who you didn't like. Let's just say, you knew how to read whether or not a human was a good person.

At home there was a constant flow of "good job, Billy" because you always knew how to do the coolest tricks. You could dance, shake, turn circles, lay down, roll over, fetch, and accept treats. Treats were where you excelled. You would do anything necessary for a human snack.

We moved recently, so I had plenty of pieces of furniture to put together and you tirelessly watched me put it all together. I don't know what you got out of it, but I loved the company. I would talk to you about what I was going to do next. I said things like, "this bolt goes here" and "I have to place this panel here next", and you would look at me very curiously, like you were trying to get a grasp on how it all worked. If I was changing oil, or brakes, in the garage, you were just as curious. I think you just enjoyed being around me: your faithful buddy. There were no dogs I loved more than you. I trusted you. I was never alone when I was cussing out a tool or instruction that was getting on my nerves. You let me tell you all of my secrets and no-one knows more about me than you.

All of the fun times we had, restful moments we took together, and kind energy you exuded, could not stop you from aging and becoming sick in your old age. It hurt me to watch you helpless. After all you helped me through it was the least I could do to make your passing a safe and peaceful one.

Yesterday, when I watched you take your last breath, my hands on your shoulder and my face next to yours, so I could be the last person you saw in this world, I hope you know that the tears I had were because you made an incredible, loving, lasting impression upon my life. I hope you know it was because I loved being your friend. I hope you know it was because I knew it was going to be hard to do this without your silent comforting gestures. I don't have the same relationship with anyone else and I will miss you like no-one else.

The end has come for this part of our journey. I can only hope that you felt every bit as loved and safe as I felt when you were with me. I will always have our friendship to remember you by and just remember, when you see me cry, when I have thoughts of you, you can know that it hurts like hell to be without you, but I would do it all over again exactly the same. Thank you for being part of my world and accepting me the way I am. I could never in ten lifetimes show you how much you've meant to me.

-Sal Rodriguez

David Driscoll