Yesterday, our family lost our dear sweet Boo.
And I know – it’s hardly a tragedy when a 16 year old dog dies. I mean, 16 years is quite a run. But losing a loved one, however old, and however dog, is never easy.
The thought that really made me cry last night was when I realized that I’ve had her in my life longer than I haven’t.
I got her when I was 14. We had pick of the litter and Boo and I chose each other. I felt a distinct pang in my heart when I scooped her up and held her for the first time. I remember saying to Mom, “Yeah, this one’s our family.”
She might as well have been a blood relative, she was so much like us.
A true neurotic, I’d sometimes find her hiding in my bedroom in the middle of a house party, and she’d shoot up as if to say, “HEY! I was just, uh– sometimes at parties… I get, uh, a little overwhelm– wh-what’s going on with you – you need a quick hug?”
She was a kindred spirit and a maniac and she had personality in spades.
In her prime, she was pound-for-pound the most athletic dog I’ve ever seen.
Lightning fast, nimble as all heck and seemingly tireless.
The intrepid nature with which she would run at geese five times her size was matched only by her sudden skittishness when she’d spot a sailboat out across the lake.
She was nonplussed by new dogs, indifferent toward cats, but she always loved new people. If you’ve been inside our home in the past 16 years, you know how it feels to be welcomed by the little black beacon of joy at the top of the stairs.
She was as much a part of our home as the foundations and the smells and the sound of the lake.
I will remember the click of her little feet on the tiles of our kitchen.
I will remember gently placing her in the lake on hot July afternoons to cool her off.
I will remember dusting the snow off her tummy when she’d come back inside after bounding through the powder.
I will remember how happy she was to see me no matter how much time had lapsed since our last meeting.
I will remember her curly hair.
Her contemplative sighs.
Her amiable disposition.
Her earnest eye contact.
I will remember what unconditional love feels like.