remembering our best friend
May 7(?), 2002 — May 24, 2007
She came into our lives the summer of 2002, and entered our hearts instantly.
She chose us, we chose her — it was a perfect match. She was about 9 weeks old, a sweet rescue mutt with a huge heart and a ton of love to give and receive. On our way home for the first time, I cried tears of happiness as she nuzzled her soft little fuzzy face into my chest and rested her chin there, her eyes gazing up at mine.
We spent a lot of time together in those first weeks — playing, walking, training, napping. Every day for lunch the Amazing M went home to play and walk her. We all developed an incredible bond. Even our 12 year-old kitty seemed enamored by her, after having had us to himself for more than a year since our old pup had died at age 12. He was bigger than her, at first. She was a precious pup, just so special.
To say she served as our surrogate child back then and through the years we tried to bring home a real live baby is not an exaggeration. She was not only our best friend. On her we bestowed all of our parental love and attention for nearly five years — through infertility, pregnancy, loss, depression. She was the vessel into which we poured that love and affection, for better or worse.
The depth at which we felt love for this pure, gentle being was profound. Her presence brought so much joy. Our home and hearts are much emptier without her.
We had become a family, the four of us. Yes, she was a dog. She was our puppy. And we loved her as though she was our child. Even though she wasn’t human.
I can see her warm brown eyes, her long beautiful tail, her gorgeous coat, her hilarious smile, the Seussical toe-fur emerging from between her paws. I can hear her lapping up water with such perfect rhythm. I see her sprawled out on the kitchen floor to eat — she’d lie down, get comfy and dine while reclining.
We organized our days and routines around her needs and pleasures. We planned vacations with her in mind, choosing dog-friendly locations and activities. We explored new places together. We had play dates for her. We met new people because of her. A walk with her was always a wonderful way to enjoy some fresh air and clear your mind.
She attended family events and holidays, knew every member by name and would get very excited to see each one. She adored our nieces and nephews, loved playing with them. She loved, I mean loved, babies. She was always so gentle and protective with the babies, so quick to share a tender kiss if allowed. Seeing her so sweet with a small child brought tears to my eyes more than once. We knew she would be the best family friend to greet our baby one day, if and when he/she would ever come.
She licked my belly when I was pregnant and laid with me on bedrest. She comforted me when I sobbed my heart out in a pile on the floor, kissing away tears from my face and hands.
She brought such joy with her sweet gentle nature and pure, unconditional love. She could brighten the darkest day. She made us laugh often. She was so eager to please in her sweet funny way.
She would dig deep in her toy basket searching for the special little nub of a bone she had whittled away — and be so thrilled when she’d find it at the bottom. She would always pull out just the right toy to entertain herself. I can see her holding a big bone between her fuzzy paws, head tilted in a near trance while she gnawed happily, hind legs splayed behind like a frog. I see her playing with a new “greenie,” throwing it around the room in anticipation before gobbling it down.
Often you could find her digging through the drawers or laundry for socks (she had a fetish). Socks were both a plaything and a security blanket for her. She loved them well, yet never destroyed them.
I can see her in play mode, urging you to join in. She’d even challenge our old kitty to play or chase. Her tail would wag in excitement at the dog park when she’d first spot an old friend, then they’d run to greet each other, as in a slow motion romantic scene in a movie.
I loved the way she’d carry her soccer ball ever so gently in her mouth after kicking it around, and how she’d play with a tennis ball on the hill by our old house, holding it just right so it wouldn’t roll down to the street.
I loved how she’d plop herself down under a tree in the shade after hard play, telling us she was done. Such a good girl.
Greetings were one of her most favorite things. She’d smile and grunt in delight with a full body wag, shower you with love and kisses, jump from chair to chair, run from room to room in excitement until the moment had passed. This routine could bring a smile to your face after even the crappiest day.
She was a wonderful creature of habit who loved her routines and rituals. She enjoyed digging at the beach, hiking on trails, playing at the dog park, camping. But she didn’t care what we did, really. She was so happy just to be with us, no matter what, just to be part of the pack. We spoiled her so. How could we not? She really was the. best. dog. ever.
She was young, just five years old when we lost her without warning almost a year ago. One day last May she simply dropped dead from a heart attack (due to an unknown genetic defect). At least she was at one of her happy places, the dog park. Losing her so unexpectedly was devastating. We had said goodbye to other animals from illness and old age, but this was a shock. She left us far too soon.
It happened on moving day. What we thought would be a celebration was just terribly sad. We were just about to begin our new lives together. But her time was up before we ever got to say goodbye.
RIP, beloved friend. We are so grateful to have known you. Our lives are not the same without you.