It’s been a little over six months since our goodbye. I wonder at times what life would be like right now if circumstances had been different. I also wonder if you knew it was our final ‘goodbye’?
To some you were just a dog, but to me you were so much more. You were my child, my confidante, my teacher, my trainer, my protector, my constant.
Our relationship was not easy at the beginning; I must admit, I didn’t like you. The day we brought you home, we had to pull and push you up the stairs into our house; we immediately realized you had some quirks. You didn’t like the laminate floors (to be quite honest, neither did I) and ran to the carpet in the living room. You noticed one of our black cats(Sigfried) which you bent down to sniff. I could have told you then that was not a good idea, but you found out on your own when Sig whacked you on the nose. That drew the line between you and Sigfried. There would always be an unspoken respect between the two of you! I tried to lead you to your crate while my husband turned on the TV; you immediately jumped, tail between your legs, and ran into the crate trembling. At the time, it never occurred to us that you had lived your years outdoors in the kennel with other dogs and that you might be fearful of strange environments, not to mention strange people.
Time marched on and our first year consisted of me running down the road after you when you would decide to bolt, emails to and from the breeder regarding our non-existent bonding, and of course, obedience classes. In classes you were a star with me at the helm, but you never obeyed the ‘stay command’. You never ‘stayed’, you would follow me constantly. I decided that my husband would take you to some of the classes, especially the last class. We had noticed you were much more comfortable with females; had a fear of males and you would ‘stay’ if a male commanded you. You won! The trophy still sits on my bedside table ‘1st Place – Beginner Obedience’! You were our ‘star’! The next day I took you down the road to visit my husband who was photographing horses at a neighbours farm. How was I supposed to know you were fearful of horses? We walked up the long gravel driveway, you were a little hesitant, but it was less than 24 hours when you won the 1st place trophy, so I thought, no problem here! Again, you proved me wrong. You took one look at the horses (which were behind a fence), jumped, and somehow wriggled out of your collar. You began to run. You ran up the middle of the road, never looking back. I hobbled after you calling your name, trying commands, ‘come’, ‘stay’, ‘sit’ to no avail. I have to admit, you made my heart stop. I honestly thought you would be hit by a car and it would be all my fault. My husband and neighbours dropped the photo shoot and ran to get in the vehicle while I ran back home. I had no idea where you would have run to. As I breathlessly ran up our driveway, I had to readjust my eyes. Were you sitting on the porch at the front door or was it an apparition and my eyes playing tricks on me? No, you were comfortably sitting on the porch waiting for me at the front door. How could I be mad at you? You ran ‘home’. With tears in my eyes, I realized at that moment, you were ours.
Your compassion, playfulness, and protective nature only grew from there. You would accompany me to the long-term care facility every weekend to visit my Mom, who had Alzheimer’s disease. You seemed to love this part of your life. You would visit not only Mom, but every resident on the floor. You would walk into different rooms allowing anyone to pet you. Over time, you wouldn’t want to leave Mom’s bed. You wanted to stay on her bed lying at her feet. I would have to put the leash on and drag you off. You always made Mom laugh, especially when her words evaporated, and for that I will be forever grateful. As for your unique playfulness, you seemed to delight in puppies and other dogs around the ‘hood’! You were the perfect ‘surrogate’ mother. You played hard and disciplined regularly. You were a ‘gentle soul’, but had a protective quality when it came to me. There was that time on a trail walk when we ran into an individual on crutches walking towards us. You loved people, but this time you pushed your way between him and I, and began a quiet guttural growl. I didn’t know what to think or do, but you took over. You seemed to frighten this individual as I yanked your lead and continued on our walk. I glanced over my shoulder and noticed this individual carrying their crutches and walking fine. I will never know what that person had in mind, but you were there to take care of me and, I fell deeper in love with you.
We only had 10 years together and I guess I thought we would have had more time. Our grooming sessions, your ‘grinch’ paws, your beautiful left blue-grey eye, my fur tumbleweeds throughout the house, the raw roast theft, the quiet cuddles on the floor, the barking at 9 p.m. to let me know it was feeding time, the ‘look’, as if I were the only person that mattered to you in the world… I could go on, but it’s time to let you go and begin a new chapter with another fur friend. There will never be another you! You were an original and I always will have you in my heart.
Loved you baby girl, hope you knew that!