It’s been nearly six years since I’ve seen you, my furry, yellow friend. How has the time gone by so quickly? I remember you. I remember morning kisses, cuddles in my bed, constant hand-nudging, and swimming in the pool together. I remember sitting with you by the fire pit in our backyard, hugging you and watching the flames dance on cold nights. I remember you being my first friend--a confidante in a house where my brother was away in college, leaving me with “only-child” syndrome for a few years. As great as it is, it gets lonely. I remember all the times I cried during my elementary, middle, and High School years, and how many times you found me crying and slipped your head on my shoulder. Thanks for always keeping me company and reminding me I had a buddy waiting at home for me.
Thank you for “saving me from drowning” in the pool, even if that meant you swam circles above me while I was under water, making it more likely that you actually would drown me. I know you did it because you cared. Thank you for getting up early on mornings with me when I was a child and you were a puppy. We would play in the backyard well into the afternoon, with you chasing after me and accepting whatever game I made you play.
Thank you for being one of the most intelligent, loving, warm beings I’ve ever met. Thank you for being the type of dog who would never hurt anyone, and would literally hand a robber a flashlight if he broke in (your skills were not so great guard dog wise, but you were very friendly people wise). Thank you for letting me dress you like a turkey every Thanksgiving, and a reindeer every Christmas. Thank you for coming back to me, even after we lost you in the hills of California. I knew you’d find your way back to me, old girl. Thank you for sleeping at the foot of my bed every night for ten years. You and I both knew I was notorious for tucking my cold toes.
I sit here tearing up, thinking about your last few years. When you hooked your stomach open on our gate and you didn’t cry or make a sound for 24 hours, until I found you a bloody mess in my bed the next morning. I scooped you up and we put stitches, as well as tubes, in your abdomen to filter out the infection. But you never made a peep, you never cried. Thank you for beating cancer twice and giving me a few more years with my best friend. Thank you for letting me dress you in oversized Hawaiian shirts for your “party dog” Halloween costume. I also loved when you let me put shades on you. You were one cool cat (no offense, Shellbell, just a phrase. We all know how much you hated the dreaded feline race).
I remember when I picked you at the puppy farm. They showed me all sorts of cute, adorable labradors, but then I saw you. The little runt of your pack, running around and biting the other dogs on the ears. You were feisty, like me, and even at six, I could see the great potential in you. They let you out of your pen, and while all the other puppies ran to my parents, you did a loop, ran behind a mirror, hid, and pounced on my shoe, tugging at the laces with your teeth. I knew then that a beautiful friendship and unshakable bond between us would form, even if we were just babies at the time. “Oh, you don’t want her. She’s the runt.” Picking the runt was the best decision I could have made.
I remember your last days. I remember when you were a little slower, you didn’t want to swim in the pool as much, and you ate less. I remember when you started getting sick, and when your liver medication stopped working. I remember saying goodbye on the day I left for college. You waited for me, right up until the day when I started my new life. You wanted to say goodbye just as badly as I did.I have a new puppy now, but it’s different. Instead of going to a puppy farm, this time, I wanted to rescue a dog and give him the chance you had--the chance for a happy life. I wanted the honor of accepting a new best friend into my home, someone who I could share morning kisses with, someone I could put stupid sweaters on, and someone I could slip scraps of food to under the table. Rudy’s a good boy, you’ll like him when you meet him someday. Until then, I have a picture of you and your infamous red collar hanging in my room, a constant reminder of my first and truest friend in the world--Shelley. R.I.P. beautiful girl~2000-2011.