“I’m sorry I had to leave you so quickly. I know you feel robbed of our time together, but please understand you gave me the best home any dog could ever wish for or need. I felt your love surrounding me every day, especially when I struggled.
I came into your life when I was eight years old. You knew the horrors of my past life weighed heavily on my shoulders. You helped me thrive by not throwing too much my way and helping me overcome some of my anxieties.
With you, by my side, I was able to move forward and become a thriving, happy dog. I swam in the ocean, became a therapy dog, ate ice cream and enjoyed family vacations. I was very fortunate that you adopted my homeless sister Sheena and she was the best sister ever! I was one lucky dog.
You also defended me to anyone who looked down on us because you adopted a senior dog. People told you an older dog would never bond with people so late in life. I was the luckiest dog in the world when you chose to adopt me and prove to the world that dogs like me deserve a loving family.
You already knew when you brought me into your life; we wouldn’t have much time together. But you risked it all for me, including your heart and soul to love me, and I want you to know I will never forget your commitment.
When I became part of your life as a senior, you saw first hand how quickly our daily walks became slower, but you never rushed me. You let me stop and smell the world as we strolled along the streets and trails. I had my favourite spots we visited along the way, and when people wanted to pet me, you let them because I loved everyone I met.
My heartbreaking diagnosis was a shock to you, and I saw how hard you cried with the veterinarian. You knew I only had a few days left, and you did your absolute best to make me comfortable. Now that I am gone, I am guilt-ridden you will have to let friends, family, neighbours and even the familiar strangers we saw every day know I am gone. I am so sorry, but please make sure you tell everyone I had a beautiful life with you and that there are terrific dogs just like me waiting in shelters and rescues.
You always told me if there was an award for having a waggy tail, I would get that award. I’m still wagging my tail mom, but sadly, you won't see me. Please hold me in your heart and please don’t say you’ll never adopt another dog because losing them hurts too much. I know you’re strong enough to love again and loving another dog is a unique way to keep me with you. I’m leaving my paw prints on your heart, and your kisses are in my heart.
Please be kind to animals.
Tracy Jessiman writes the weekly column Recycled Love and is proud to be a “voice for those with no choice.” Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org