To my beloved dog,
You are terribly missed here on earth and not a day goes by that I don’t think of you. But I always knew that your life was shorter than mine and someday we would have to bid farewell.
It was my duty and responsibility to raise you right and look after you well. You were stubborn but funny and I enjoyed every moment of it – thoroughly! But you, you had bigger responsibilities and no amount of food, toys, treats and hugs could ever explain how grateful I am to you for what you taught me.
You seemed perfectly happy with an empty plastic bottle as you were with an expensive doggie chew toy. I realized then that I don’t need the latest phone or designer shoes to make me happy. You taught me that happiness is a state of mind.
You happily came to wake me up every morning and when I refused to get up, you slept next to me. You always let me cuddle you while slowly plotting your way to push me out and take over the bed. You taught me that mundane tasks can be funny; you just need to look at it from a dog’s point of view. You also taught me that in order to succeed, you sometimes need to do things differently.
Punishment meant nothing to you. While it worked wonders on your predecessor, you were the exact opposite. You refused to learn a single thing and did exactly as you pleased, but every time a stranger entered our home you were so different. When the old lady from next door visited, you listened to every ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ command. You never jumped on her and always behaved so politely. And when outsiders showed up you were all so strong and mighty, sitting erect in front of me, ready to attack at the slightest hint of suspicion. Wow!!! Who would have thought that an arrogant pup would turn out to be such a brilliant dog? You taught me to learn people before I react. Never judge by appearance.
You taught me that being myself isn’t about being a certain way all the time; sometimes you need to tone it down, sometimes you need to step it up and sometimes you need to go crazy. But most importantly, you need to know WHEN!!!!
What touches me most is the love you had (and still have) for your family. You always followed us around the house and whenever we were in different rooms you sat in the middle just to tell us that you loved us all equally. You made funny faces and did silly things and wagged your tail hard every time we laughed. We never needed a burglar alarm, a television or a treadmill when you were around; you made up for everything.
Then when you got sick and weak it was our turn to keep you happy and comfortable. We tried to entertain you and even though it was hard for you to wag that stub, you did it to make us feel happy. You tried to play with your toys and chew your chewies to show us that you were still strong. You used to fly down the stairs for your evening walks and had to turn around and wait for me to keep up with you. But those last days, it was you trying to keep up with me. I carried you up the stairs knowing that it may be difficult for you. I knew that was the beginning of the end.
I don’t really know what that stray dog meant to you. You were always so annoyed with him and he always teased you. But those last days, I caught Sandy staring at you as you struggled to walk. I saw the sadness in his eyes; he never ran past you that day and he never wagged his tail – he just sat and stared while you glanced back at him. I will never really know the relationship you two shared but I guess it would be something like Tom and Jerry’s.
Before you left me I asked you to promise to come back in a dream and tell me how you are. I had told you that saying goodbye to you would be my final attempt to put you out of your misery and I needed to know that I was right in doing what I did, that it did really help you and that you were in a better place. I asked you to visit me off and on and to ask Lucky to visit me too. AND YOU FULFILLED MY EVERY WISH!
I nervously waited for you….. And a week after you were gone, you came back to me in a dream as promised. I saw you running around like you used to. You felt no pain and you were so happy. I touched you and it did not hurt. You came to tell me that everything was fine. Weeks later you came back with Lucky and another dog. I guess you finally made some friends. In that dream, Lucky was just a puppy. She was three years when she died and my only explanation was that you are being the older sister and looking out for her. I touched your tummy and your stitches and nothing hurt you. You were at home jumping on the bed and running through the rooms and I was worried you would yelp at any moment but you didn’t. You were perfectly fine! I woke up the next day a happy person knowing that I had made the right choice; that letting you go – though difficult and heartbreaking – was better than seeing you suffer.
Before I end my letter to you, I want to apologize for the times I hurt you and for the times I failed you. I want to thank you for being you and for being there for me and more importantly, I want to thank you for pointing me in the right direction. You have made me stronger, wiser and a better human being. While I still find it difficult to cope at times, you have shown me that a dog’s life doesn’t end on earth; there is so much more on the other side. You have shown me that a Rainbow Bridge does really exist and you are waiting there for me.
While I initially considered not having another dog, I realized that there are so many stubborn brats just like you in high kill shelters and foster homes. They are all lovable, loyal and funny just like you were and they deserve so much more than loneliness and a cold hard ground. I promise to adopt as many as I can manage. This will be my way of showing my gratitude to you.
I will always love you my stubborn brat. Visit me often with Lucky, Kuchu and your friends at the bridge and don’t forget to remember me every now and again.
Hugs & Kisses,
Your playmate and best friend!