I stepped away from blogging for a few days, as during that span I attended a memorial service and the then the funeral for Father Al Dash. The retired Catholic priest was 74 years old.
Father Dash conducted a blessing of the animals service every October in my hometown and rescued ex-racing greyhounds. We met him back in 2003 through a fellow animal-welfare advocate, who also rescued greyhounds and also advocated for an end to the cruel industry that is dog racing.
We had also rescued a greyhound named “Dash,” so there was a real connection there with Al. Dash passed away last summer and now Al is no longer with us, after an extended hospitalization. My wife and I really took the news hard.
For several years, we met Al Dash for weekend breakfast meals at local eateries. When the weather was cool enough, he always requested that we bring along our Dash. After the meal, he’d give Dash a large dog biscuit. By the time the blessing of the animals serviced rolled around in 2010, our Dash was unable to attend due to his declining health. So Father Al blessed him from the back of our car one morning.
Last fall, Al had to say goodbye to what would be his last two greyhounds – Willow and Captain – who passed away about 10 days apart. They were older dogs and led a great post-racing life with their special guardian.
On both occasions at the local veterinary hospital, my wife and I shared hugs and so many tears with Al. We knew we needed to be there with him. It was such a sad time and the veterinarian and the staff members were all in tears as well.
But now, we take some comfort in knowing that Al Dash has been reunited with loved ones and with our Dash.