We'd never considered ourselves dog-people, having had some nine cats during the course of our marriage. But Woody was the Perfect Dog. Never was there a more gentle animal in God's creation. His main joys in life were eating, chasing his Frisbee at the park, and just being with us (not necessarily in that order). He was loved by small children, and he loved them back.
A devoted companion. Always smiling. He only showed impatience when we didn't keep the biscuits coming in the evening. Unconditional love is suppose to be a Christian virtue. But while we humans, who claim to know God, often fail to display that virtue, the gentle spirit of a Golden Retriever put us all to shame in showing how easily love can come, unconditionally.
Woody was a big dog, largest of his litter. We've read that big dogs aren't suppose to live long lives. We believe Woody lived beyond his expected lifespan. He never experienced the doggy joys of retrieving ducks in early morning hunts, but as he was afraid of guns, and wasn't a "morning person," preferring to sleep-in, that's a joy he undoubtedly didn't miss. His joys were simple. And what joys he received from being a part of our family, he returned a hundred-fold.
I don't know the eternal fate of dogs' souls, but it seems right to say, "Godspeed, Woody." You are greatly missed.