Dear Piper

We knew our time with you would be limited but these goodbyes never get any easier. My biggest wish is that we gave you everything you needed before you had to leave this world. You came into my life when I needed you most and I cannot put into words how grateful I am to have been given the privilege of being part of your forever family. I can only hope that you knew how much you were loved, not just in this house but by so many others that knew you and saw what a truly beautiful soul you were. They say you were rescued but you, my darling, were no damsel in distress. You were the hero in this story.

A Force of Nature

You were a queen, a no-nonsense type of gal with a mischievous streak a mile wide. You didn’t put up with anyone’s crap and you gave zero f*cks. We spent the last two years on your schedule and I loved every minute of it. The alpha goddess in you kept our wild boys in line and I will definitely miss that the most. You threw off our whole routine, took your time, made your own way, and were a true boss. I loved watching you spin around in circles with excitement every morning while we got the day started. And I especially delighted in watching your dad chase you around the house in chaotic Cannonball Run style before you decided it was time for breakfast. Your stubborn and willful nature kept me laughing and I will always smile as I think about how no one was going to tell you what to do or where to go. While I initially believed you were completely untrained when you came to us, I soon realized you had in fact heard the word “no”. Most likely many, many, many… many times. You just didn’t care and I loved that so much. When you ripped the curly hair right off one of my Christmas elves you most certainly understood my tone when I gave you a stern no. I wouldn’t say you stopped so much as you simply spit the fake yellow hair out at me, flashed that bright smile of yours that lit up the room, and walked away without a shred of regret. What else could I do but laugh and love you even more.

Abandoned But Not Broken

Even after being abandoned multiple times, you gave so much love and so freely. No matter how many people let you down your heart stayed open, ready to receive the same love you gave. When you came to us, having just been abandoned yet again, you were afraid, confused, overwhelmed, and desperate for care and kindness. As days and weeks went by you eventually trusted us enough to know this was your home, we were your people. You went from knowing only pure fear during a thunderstorm to knowing you were safe with us. I will always remember that day the wind was howling, rain was beating down on the roof, the sky was booming with thunder, and I quickly bolted to check on you, ready to squeeze you close to my body to ease your trembling. But this time you were not trembling in fear. I found you curled up in your bed, resting comfortably, and probably wondering why your out-of-breath mommy had just made a big commotion for nothing. My heart bursts with joy every time I think about how secure you finally felt with us, how you finally knew we were never going to let you go. Before long you were chasing our wild boys down, keeping them in check. There would be no rough housing without your approval. And all those toys, they belonged to you. You would decide which squeakies, bones, and wubbas would be played with. Your glorious bossiness spilled over into every facet of our daily lives. If we tried to tidy up, you pulled every toy out of the toy chest as quickly as we got them in there. If we were walking out the front door, you were going to stand at the back door. My Way was playing on repeat as your life’s theme song and I was happy to sing along to it, cheering you on.

Leaving On Your Own Terms

You happily trotted along with our crew for just over two years despite your geriatric age and chronic illnesses. I knew your kidney disease would eventually catch up to you, if not your age and severe osteoarthritis. So I thought I’d be prepared when it was time. Of course I was not because there is no such thing. When you decided you would no longer be taking your meds, I thought I knew better. I thought I’d employ every known method to get those medications in you that had kept you comfortable for so long. I set out a plan and you were going to take those meds, eat your food, and feel better dammit! I am so glad I didn’t let my own stubbornness outweigh your better judgement. I am so glad I very quickly realized you were yet again going to do this your way. There was nothing to fight about. Your kidneys were shutting down and you said enough. We spent your last day letting everyone that loved you say goodbye. You got enough kisses and hugs to make up a thousand lifetimes. We laid in bed with you and cuddled you and told you that you are the best good girl ever. We held you close at the vet’s office until we knew it was time to say our final goodbye. I massaged my fingers through your thick blonde fur as you took your last breath. I hope I gave you everything you needed and more. I hope you felt my love and that it was enough. I hope you are running free over rainbow bridge and that you know you are still and always so very much loved here.

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