You were the sweetest, most loving dog we’ve ever had. You filled our lives with love and laughter. How can you be gone? How can the line between life and death be so thin, that you can cross over in just minutes?
On Saturday, you did your usual happy dance up and down the hallway when you saw me putting on my shoes to take you on our evening walk.
You pulled ahead on your leash and sniffed every interesting clump of grass. We watched our neighbor’s squad of ducks waddle by. Their white male turkey was showing off his tail feathers to the hen turkey.
It was starting to get dark when we returned. I closed the gate and removed your leash. I said, “All done!”, like I always do and like always you ran full speed into the woods at the edge of the yard.
Then you turned and started back toward me. You howled a loud, piercing scream. You fell to the ground. I yelled for my husband, while I buried my face in your shoulder. “Chochi, Chochi, I love you Chochi.” I kissed your velvety ears.
You were limp. Your eyes twitched and your heart was racing at a frightening pace. My husband bent to stroke your leg and gently lay his hand on your heart. It was still then. I laid down on the grass and let my tears bathe your face.
Chochi was a rescue dog. He picked out my husband. Both times my husband visited him at the dog shelter, Chochi drew near and nosed my husband and licked his hand through the kennel cage. Chochi’s former owner had kept him underfed and abused. He had scars on his snout and was afraid every time we raised our hands, thinking it was a prelude to being hit. I’d raise a hand to brush my hair or take a glass off the shelf and he’d duck his head. In time, though, he felt safe and loved in his new home.
Everyone loved him and he returned that love tenfold. He was sweet-natured, affectionate, even-tempered and enthusiastic.
Now my husband and I stumble through our days, with our grief as present in our home, as Chochi used to be. But I know that, in time, we will remember how soft his fur was, how he’d bump us with his nose when he wanted attention. We’ll remember how he loved walks and carrots and how he liked to sleep under the table while we ate. We’ll remember how he always wanted to be near us and how peaceful we all felt together.
And when we remember, we’ll smile.