To my first true love, although you happened to be a dog. Just a dog? Never- those words seem to take away the importance of what you were to me, what I learned from you, & all the happiness you created within me. On our decade & a half together, you taught me so many lessons about love & responsibility. For that, I am truly grateful...
'When Love isn't Enough'
I fell in love with a boy who eventually took my heart for granted. This boy made me feel complete- until he hurt me & shattered my heart. The time to begin college arrived & we were growing apart, even if we didn't realize it yet. We decided sharing a dog would ensure we'd stay together, so the hunt for the relationship-saving dog ensued. We spent weeks searching for puppies online (I still have that original photo that made us agree on you instantly) & drove almost across the entire state of Iowa to pick you up. As it turned out, you weren't enough to hold us together. There was the distance, trust issues, & big life changes that just became too much. Having you love me forced me to realize how love was suppose to be & that simply loving someone might not be a good enough reason to hold onto the past. We went our separate ways, which was for the best because you were mine to keep.
'What it Truly Means to Be There'
At one time, you were the most consistent relationship of my adult life. You've been there for every major life event since I was 18 & I never realized how comforting that was until now. Our greatest adventure was our move to Canada, which proved tough on both of us. You acclimated more quickly than I did, finding new squirrels to chase & new sunny spots to rest in. There were days I'd just cry from loneliness, only to have you lick my cheek or beg for a walk. I'd look at you & smile. We've slept in the same bed for years, you've greeted me millions of time at the door, & made me laugh so hard I've cried...things won't feel the same without you.
You've been sick for awhile, steadily declining since that first diagnosis 5 years ago. My heart sank when we received that phone call- you were sick & I wasn't there. You were on an IV for 4 days, pricked & prodded, all the while we were on a beach in Mexico enjoying a few days after our wedding. It was a torturous 20 hours before I was able to finally see you & another 6 before we could take you home. I was distraught & filled with guilt, knowing I wasn't there when you truly needed me. I refused to leave your side longer than necessary until you recovered. You taught me true compassion that day, how to be selfless when someone elses needs outweighed my own, & that I loved you through both good times & bad.
'It Takes Work to Make Love Work'
After all the chasing after you we did around countless neighborhoods when you'd occasionally get loose, you taught me it took work to love you. You tested my patience & sometimes you won. I always forgave you because at the end of the day, it was my lack of discipline that let you become the escape artist you were. The day we were able to let you outside & you came to us when we called (all thanks to Ben & his trail of ketchup chips training method) made me feel like all those patience-trying years were worth it. Nothing in this life comes easy, but is it ever worth it when you've put in the time & effort.
'Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder'
I never gave much thought to that saying until I lived apart from you. I needed to see, if at 20 years old, I could exist on my own. I was in Milwaukee for a year, where you visited several times & then back to you the following year. After AU graduation, I took off for Chicago. I missed you like crazy, but knew you'd be happier in Iowa instead of living in a tiny apartment with an absentee owner. As I think back now, learning to love you from afar is probably why there was no hesitation when it came to dating Ben. Because of our efforts, he became the love of our life (to the point that I think you may have loved him a little more than me). You shared so many 'firsts' with us that you are truly embedded in every memory of our life together.
These past few days have been some of the worst of my life. You were sick, with minimal hope of a full recovery. We couldn't stand the thought of you suffering, the unavoidable decision weighing on us heavily. We were truly playing God, deciding life or death for you. We decided to let you go while you were still you. You went peacefully, staring into my eyes & hearing our voices comfort you. I wouldn't trade that moment for anything...
To say you are missed in an understatement. We already miss your constant companionship, your unconditional love, & your attraction to all things the color blue. I will remain forever grateful for you being put into my life.
Love You Always...
May 27th, 2004 - March 14th, 2015
Thanks for Reading