You came barreling into my life with a chaotic crash that turned everything upside down. You were a force to be reckoned with for sure. I was more prepared to take that senior year English essay answer only test about that book I had never read than I was for you. You immediately challenged me and I immediately fell in love. You were funnier than any dog I’ve known and way too smart for your own good. There were very few people you met in your life who’s heart you didn’t steal, and that’s ok because we didn’t like those people anyway.
FOR EVERY ACTION THERE IS AN EQUAL AND OPPOSITE REACTION
You were the best and the worst at all times. The lab in you aimed to please but you were stubborn as hell. You were obedient but willful. Sweet and loving to most and a menacing bully to others (insert names of all fur-fosters, fur-brothers, fur-cousins, and one human nephew). You gave the best hugs and the most painful stomach punches. You were a strong and agile athlete and never met a couch, table, or person you couldn’t jump on top of or leap across. You charged strangers, and even people you knew well, as if to engage in a full force attack only to ultimately sidle up next to them for a head pat. You did absolutely everything I asked you to as well anything and everything you wanted to. You pounced on my last nerve, tested my every limit, and filled my heart with more love than I ever thought I could feel.
YOU RUINED EVERYTHING
In the almost 10 years you were mine you broke 3 of my toes, 2 of my fingers, gave me a bloody nose, a black eye, countless leash burns, scratched my cornea, and caused a 2 day ringing in one ear. You ate all (ALL!) the Halloween candy in 2015. You ate a dining room chair when you were 2 years old. The whole thing. Gone. When we lived in Florida you tore through the screen on our porch to chase a duck and no matter how many times I fixed it you kept tearing through it because you knew you could. Not to chase anything, just to do it, because you could. You scratched the paint off: my new car, several doors, an actual painting, and most of the walls in our rented townhouse. You deadbolted me out of my apartment TWICE! On the very first day we were able to swim in our new pool in our new house in Texas you took a massive sh*t in it. You peed on almost everyone you met for the first 8 years of your life. You opened a kitchen cabinet once (once that I know of) and ate an entire box of Kind bars, the box included. I only solved the mystery as the evidence began to…ummm….reappear. You bit my nephew for trying to hug you, attacked my best friend’s dog for looking at your food, and shredded any toy that any other dog tried to play with.
YOU MADE EVERYTHING BETTER
You made me laugh when I cried. You always helped me look for whatever it was I had lost and sometimes even found it. I’ll never know how you did that. You were my guinea pig for some very questionable dog treat recipes until I got it right. You always knew where the remote control was and would most of the time bring it to me right away without making it a game of keep away first. You were so eager to do anything I asked. Even if you didn’t understand what I wanted you’d do something, anything, to please me. When I said “let’s go!” you hopped up with wild enthusiasm and a “YES! Let’s do this!” attitude, even if we were just walking to the kitchen. You let me dress you up in the most ridiculous Halloween outfits and Christmas sweaters and patiently stayed still for me until I got just the right camera shot. You had mad head balancing skills. When I clumsily and quite often dropped something you rushed to pick it up and bought it to me. I’ll never get to know just how many names of objects you could’ve learned, but if you knew its name and could carry it you would bring it to me. If I was sick you stayed next to me until I was better. When I was tired you slept in with me. When I was sad you comforted me. You let me squeeze you, hug onto you, lay my head on you, throw my legs across you, twirl your fur through my fingers, and I will miss those things the most. You were insanely funny and hilariously quirky in so many ways. The word kerfuffle, for no known reason, made you spin around and bark with frenzied excitement. You inspired me. You made my life more adventurous than I would have ever made it on my own. You made me brave. You always stayed by my side. You made me feel safe. You loved me unconditionally. You were the best one. You were perfect. You were my funny bunny, my Pooh Bear, my grumpy goose, my monkey butt, my mookie moo, my Bang Bang, my love.
I spent your last day and night with you lying on me, your head perfectly nuzzled under my chin. The sound and feel of every breath you took soothed me like the comforting crash of ocean waves. I tried not to fall asleep that night. I wanted to spend every moment I could with you. The weight of your body felt like a warm winter blanket, not the nearly 70 pounds you still weighed. I laid there with my arms wrapped around you, thinking about how people already know their time with their dogs is short. And then I thought about how this knowledge in no way makes it the least bit easier even though we know this is coming. Although your own life got cut even shorter by cancer, no amount of time would have been long enough. We all go into this knowing it’s going to hurt so bad in the end but we do it anyway. The abundance of happiness, joy, and love you bring far outweighs any pain.
It was an excruciatingly silent, and all together horrible drive to your Vet’s office. Fortunately instead of the cold metal table we all think of in our minds, I sat in a welcoming room on a cozy blanket next to you. You laid yourself as close as you could get to me. We cuddled ourselves together as if to settle in for a nice movie like we did on countless rainy days. You fell in and out of sleep as I ran my fingers through your soft coat. You were so tired. I stroked your fur and massaged your ears. You were surrounded by people who knew you and loved you. I kissed your nose one last time. You didn’t feel any pain. I stayed with you, still petting you, long after you took your last breath.
I don’t even know what life looks like without you. But I know my life has been so much better because of you. I promise you when the tears stop falling, I will always smile when I think of you.