You were a real trouble maker when you were little. I can’t even tell you how many pairs of shoes you destroyed. Then there was the time I came home to find you had shredded an entire Sunday tribune. You hated being in your crate and followed me constantly. I remember pulling you up onto my chest and the two of us napped as your puppy scent filled my heart. I couldn’t stop looking at your crimped ears.
My favorite days are the long summer ones. I think they are yours too. We head out to the dog beach on Lake Michigan the sun glinting off the water. Your whines betray your excitement and anticipation. You can barely contain yourself and the minute we hit the sand you are off and running. I have to admit that even though I act annoyed when you roll in the sand I still think it’s kind of cute.
I don’t know if you know this, but when you pant it looks as if you are smiling. You have a clear and open heart and you have brought joy to many people in this world. You have always been there for me when I can’t sleep. Coming to crawl up in my lap as best you can and share the middle of the night banana that I have just peeled. You are a foot warmer in the winter (and a bed hog too). I am so proud that you are a member of our family and I’m sorry that I dress you up in stupid costumes.
I don’t think you’ve noticed but our family is about to get bigger! Ever since we got you we’ve trained you to be our family dog. Gentle and patient. You accept all forms of love, even from poking and prodding toddler fingers. I know you will be a great big brother. So when the doctor that I’d never met before told me you had Cancer yesterday something inside me broke. This is not how I had imagined it. I thought we had more time.
So now I am waiting. I am waiting for you to tell me that it is time for you to go. I hope that I can be there with you. I will fight to make sure that I am the last one you see so you can cross in peace. I have prayed for someone to greet you on the other side so you will not be scared. Don’t worry, I told them you like cheese and you need two cookies each night before bedtime. I don’t know if they have any stuffed hedgehogs in Heaven, but I’m pretty sure they have a dog beach.
As I write this you are staring at me, wondering why I am so sad. Joyful that I seem to be feeding you everything you want. To you it will be a natural part of life. To me it will be like losing a child and a best friend. It will be a long time before my heart recovers from this fracture. Someday I will be ready to accept a new doggie friend, so if you could make sure we get a good one I would appreciate it. Oh, and one more thing. When it’s my time, promise you’ll be there. Running to me with your ears flapping in the wind. Greeting me as I come home.