It’s been three weeks since my sweet Della pup has been gone. She was young (8 1/2 years) but had health issues the last year. I knew I faced a decision in the coming year, but it was a surprise when I took her for a quick visit for something I thought was simple but found out how bad she actually was.
She was a loving pup who brought a ray of sunshine into my life. My youngest helped choose her when she was only days old. She and I took long walks along country roads, and she made friends with a donkey, which was one of the silliest animal friendships I’d seen. Her first swimming experience was at the farm pond with my dad’s older lab. She loved going to the vet no matter what she needed to have done, because she loved people and attention. She was silly in the sprinkler on hot days. She became extremely protective of me when we moved away from my (I suppose, “our”) ex. Although she loosened up a bit with time, she slept under my window most nights after we moved again when I bought a house.
Technically, I took care of her, but she took care of me in many ways. And when she was gone, so many people who love me made sure I was taken care of in sweet ways. A friend delivered flowers while I was out and discovered even more flowers by the door my daughter had sent. A friend from a couple states away contacted another daughter to ask her to deliver ice cream. A friend from even farther away called the local bakery and arranged some sweet treat hugs for me. Another friend delivered a memory stone to work, which is now placed near a place Della loved to lounge. I received cards and offers to let me love on their dogs for comfort. And just last week, one of my writing retreat friends sent me a beautiful card personalized with Della’s photo.
Even after she’s gone, I still feel the love of her place in my life. She and I weathered a lot together. We walked a lot together. We lounged a lot together. And although she couldn’t play fetch much toward the end, I believe I threw a ball/tire/other toy across the yard at least 10,000 times in her lifetime.
My eyes are still leaking every now and then, but even more often, I’m smiling because of the memories. I’m grateful we got to be together for awhile. And I’m grateful to my community who has loved me well through the goodbye.