* This piece is an assignment I have written for a presentational speaking class I am taking. I would like to share it with you.
When someone loses their parents, they are called orphan. When someone loses their spouse, they are widowed, or are a widower. When someone loses a pet, they are called… people. Because there is no special title, no words special enough to describe what kind of person we are after we have experienced the extraordinary love of a dog.
They are called man’s best friend, and for good reason. A dog will never judge you, never say hurtful things, never desert you, and no matter how short you fall in your friendship, she will never rub your nose in it. I was once told that, in the steps of reincarnation, a dog’s life is the last life before reaching Nirvana. It gives me comfort to think that my Mama Bear is one with the Force now.
Let me tell you about her, and I will try to use words to make you understand.
Her name was KayCee Lou, and she came into this world in an explosion of white fur, with a golden mane around her head like a halo. She was soft, she was warm, she was everywhere I needed her to be. If I was busy, she was patiently by my side. If I was cold, she was lying across my feet. If I was hurt, she was snarling at the culprit, and if I was sad, she was patiently across my lap, her golden fur clenched in my fists. She had the patience of a saint for me, and should anyone else require her services while I was in her domain, they were SOL.
From day one, she was mine. I met her on the Fourth of July, after coming home from my dad’s house for a few weeks in the summer. She charged at me through the kitchen, flipping over her own ears to land at my feet with a plop. It was love at first lick, and for ten years, we were inseparable. Her face peeked through the curtains to watch for my bus every single day after school, and we lit up at the sight of each other like beacons in the night every afternoon.
She was my baby, my sister, my mother. A steady hand when I wasn’t so steady. A soft place to land. She was a familiar face when others were blurred. She was understanding as I went through my awkward angsty years of adolescence, and dutifully waited for me as I ventured out into the great wide world without her. She watched and waited, and became a puppy again every time I returned.
Though I speak as if her life revolved around me, it was I who was given the privilege of watching her beautiful life unfold for ten years. I was witness to a blooming romance as she grew into our male Golden’s companion, and I watched her fall silent on the day we carried him home in the big cardboard box. From that day she never barked again.
But she was never sad. She loved again, as we brought another male into our midst, and for Bailey, she birthed 31 beautiful puppies, cried for three who were lost, and bravely said goodbye to 27 who went on to be bringers of joy like their mother. She was the proud mama of Sam-Sam, a familiar fuzzy face that greets me at my mother’s side every day as I wave good morning. In addition to her own pups, she loved and attended to mine, too, making sure my girls’ faces were well washed before making it through the door. In her old age, she watched my house across the street from my mother’s front window, content to stay where she had always stayed, but never allowing me to go unprotected.
The night I got the call was the night I made a decision that changed the course of my life. It was a decision that put the fate of my life back in my own hands, and I had seen her in the afternoon to tell her all about it and give her treats. She kissed my face as I said goodbye to her, and six hours later, she was gone. I understand now that she knew her job was done, and I have used and will continue to use that hope that she held in me to fuel myself towards the person she always knew I could be.
So what do you call someone who has loved and lost to such a great capacity? I would call them blessed.