My daughter Jennifer lost her best pal yesterday morning. We knew it was coming, but it's never easy to lose a dear friend and a member of the family.
I last saw Delia three weeks ago, on a visit to Jennifer and her family up in Maine. We had taken her to the beach and she frolicked in the water as if she were still a youngster. She had a big smile on her face. She was happy.
Before I got into the car to return home to New York, I went back inside the house to give Delia a kiss and, just in case I wouldn't see her again, I thanked her for her years of friendship to Jen and her family. She kissed me back and looked into my eyes. Although she didn't speak, she told me something that I wrote down as soon as I got home.
I sent Delia's message to my daughter last night....
Please don’t be sad.
You’ve given me the best life any pup could hope for. It’s been a life filled with lots of food and treats, belly rubs and pats on my fuzzy head, playing ball and swimming and walks in the woods, and sleeping on comfortable beds, couches and special spots on the floor.
Best of all, I’ve always had a life filled with your unending love and affection, respect and attention.
Yes, some of that attention was diminished six years ago when you had Jack and then when Gabriel came along two years ago. I’ll admit, I may have had a bit of attitude the first time, but as I matured, I realized how happy those boys make you… and I am happy for anything that makes you happy.
I remember all the good times, starting from when you brought me home in Oregon. I remember my friends like Luna and Buster and, of course, my surrogate pup Loki. I was there when he came home, and all of him was just as big as my fuzzy head.
And then, after a stop in New York for a few months, where I got to know Gram and Pop even better, you brought me to Maine where there was water everywhere. Living by the lake was a great place to spend a year, followed by that awesome spot right up the dirt road from not one, but two beaches and giant lawns perfect for running and rolling. Even after we moved to our present house, you still took me to beaches at Harpswell and Popham. It was always fun, and it made me even happier inside to see how you smiled as I jumped in the waves and chased sticks non-stop in the water.
There were a few bumps, but you helped me past them. That airplane ride from out west to New York was not fun. And my unexpected meeting with a porcupine was pretty bad… much worse than getting skunked. But you were there to hold me and calm me, and I tried to show you with tail wags and licks that I was ok.
I am still ok, except now, instead of you watching over me, my role is to watch over you. And now I can tell you something that I suspect you’ve always felt. Some dogs do have souls, and I’m one of the lucky ones.
So I will always be looking over you, trying to keep you happy and safe and secure. You’ll smile sometimes, and whether you realize it or not, it will be because my soul has wagged its tail for you.
And when you’re ready for the companionship of another pup in your life, please understand that I’ll be fine with it. I know he or she won’t be a replacement for me, but rather a tribute to the wonderful friendship we’ve had. I will be happy for you.
So don’t be sad. My wags and licks and fuzziness and sweetness are indelibly locked in your mind, and all you have to do is remember and those things will be there for you.
And a very long long time from now, when you are ready to end your life journey, I will be there waiting to welcome you with wags and licks. But don’t rush – I’m a dog and I have lots of patience…knowing we will see each other again.
With Love and Devotion always,
your Sweet Delia D
September 2, 2011