February 21, 2024by Hoy Grimm1

A New Home

We stumbled across him at a specialized dog breeder in Middle Tennessee in late 2011. We were there looking for a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier puppy for our daughter as a Christmas gift that year. As we entered the parking lot, I noticed an energetic dog in a fenced area. He sprinted up and down the fence line to greet us. While inside talking to the breeder about the new litter of pups she was selling, I enquired about the dog outside. She explained that he was found alone somewhere in Alabama after tornados wrecked a town. Rescuers recognized him as a Wheaten Terrier, and they transported him to our breeder. As a breed specialist she could best find a suitable home for him.

We finalized plans to buy a puppy from the new litter for our daughter. The breeder was adamant in her belief that adding a dog to one’s family was an important long-lasting decision. So much so that she wouldn’t allow a puppy to be a Christmas present. This meant that we would need to wait until after Christmas to get our new puppy. She detailed her views, and we made plans to return at a later date for our puppy, Phoebe. All the while, the plight of that rescued dog pacing his enclosure outside captivated my mind. After a conversation with my wife, we enquired about giving him a new home. We completed a thorough application process and later returned to bring Biscuit home before that Christmas.

Biscuit’s first Christmas with Erin and Addison

Part of the Family

We were now owners of a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. While we chose this specific breed because of my daughter’s severe allergies (Wheatens are hypoallergenic and don’t shed), we still had a lot to learn about them. As part of the terrier family, they are very energetic and playful from puppy stage throughout life. This made Biscuit a great companion for our teenage son. Google wheaten greetin’ for an example of their gregarious personalities. Biscuit and eventually his companion, Phoebe fit in with our family like they were always meant to be. Maybe it was because they paired up well with our son and daughter or because they matched their teenage energy.

The storm & separation trauma that Biscuit lived through in Alabama resurfaced every time a thunderstorm passed through. He would shake nervously as we tried to calm him until the storm passed. When it did, his sunny, playful disposition returned. Over time Biscuit developed a serious heart condition. His cardiologist at UT warned us that dogs with this problem don’t last much more than 18 months. That was 5 years ago. With my wife’s devoted care, Biscuit beat those odds and that storm passed also.

Biscuit possessed an unusually tender disposition that made him welcome as a member of the H.A.B.I.T. dog program at U.T. veterinary college. My wife brought him to events where a calming, wet nose and a cuddly personality were needed to reduce stress or provide comfort. He loved being the center of attention in those moments. At home, my son played piano, and Biscuit loved to sing along to the 80’s rock songs that he heard emanating from our family room. He was particularly fond of Billy Joel (Piano Man), Styx and Journey.

The End

At 14 years old, Biscuit developed the age-related health problems typical to older dogs. Failing eyesight and hearing were the most obvious symptoms. Our energetic Wheaten wasn’t acting like a terrier anymore. One evening recently, my wife explained that she hadn’t seen Biscuit wag his tail in a long time. For Biscuit this was obvious and painful evidence of his decline.

As I ponder these circumstances, I am drawn into my personal views on life here and eternity later. When I think about heaven and hell, I try to imagine what each would be like. If my eternity is filled with joy, I can form a quick image of that outcome. The opposite outcome requires more consideration. In observing Biscuit’s decline, I developed a picture of what would torment me: a place where I cannot see, cannot hear, cannot smell and cannot end the “aloneness” of it all. A place of never-ending isolation would be an excruciating existence. We are made as communal beings. Relationships are the primary feature of our existence. To exist in a vacuum void of interaction would be a hell worse than any rise in temperature.

In this sense, we understood how Biscuit’s loss of senses (among other issues) robbed him of any quality of life. After consulting with his doctor, we understood that it was time to say goodbye.

My son who spent nearly half of his life with Biscuit by his side, courageously asked if he could take him to the vet’s office alone so he could say his goodbye and to ensure that Biscuit would not be alone in that moment. My wife and I said our goodbyes and my son carried his frail body to the car. As I watched my son drive away my emotions bounced between the heartache of that moment and on the joy that he brought to everyone who knew him. I found out later that in the car, my son treated Biscuit to a final playing of “Come Sail Away” and our sweet boy mustered the energy to rock along like a year-old pup. It was a final precious memory of his beautiful personality.

The Lesson

I don’t know where our pets will spend their eternity. I pray that when we journey off to our eternal shores that we will be reunited with them. We are all sad, but we have no regrets. Biscuit gave so much to everyone while he was here.

I pray that your life is filled with meaningful, sustainable relationships, even if they have fur and a tail. I pray that you feed the relationships around you with love and attention so that you have no regrets.

Whatever. Wherever. However.

Don’t go through this life and miss why you are a part of it. Get into relationship with your Creator and His creation.


Hoy Grimm

One comment

  • Janice Sims

    March 22, 2024 at 7:37 am

    Thank you for the special remembrance. Biscuit was a happy and beautiful part of a special family.


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