This morning, after fourteen years and two bouts with cancer, we said goodbye to you. It was the right thing to do, and it was the right time. I know you were suffering, and I’m glad that we made the decision to let you go before your pain became any worse.
I will never forget you. I will never stop loving you. You were a light in all of our lives from the day we brought you home. Your memory will be a light for us until the day we pass on and join you, wherever you are.
Here are just a few of the things I will remember about you for the rest of my life:
I remember how soft and sweet you were, and how you won everyone over, from old ladies to little kids – even those who normally fear dogs – with your big brown eyes and silky ears and goofy grin.
I remember how you used to wake me up every morning during high school school, jumping on the bed and licking me until, grumbling, I swatted you away and got my butt in the shower.
I remember how excited you got each Christmas, tearing your stocking to bits to get to the treats and toys you knew to expect when the big tree went up in the corner of the family room.
I remember the Thanksgiving when, despite my mother’s precautions and my uncle’s warning, you managed to jump up on the counter and take a huge bite out of the homemade pumpkin pie. I remember your guilty expression when we caught you.
I remember the time I left a full plate of food on the kitchen table for about forty seconds to wash my hands, only to return to find the plate licked entirely clean, while you sat nearby trying to look innocent and utterly failing.
I remember countless long walks that exhausted everyone except for you – you always wanted to play fetch as soon as we were back in the yard, despite the wind, rain, or heat.
I remember your childlike excitement at the prospect of a snowflake, or a treat, or a ball, or even the garden hose.
I remember when we thought we were going to lose you to cancer seven years ago, and you were a cheerful, happy dog through months of chemo, two surgeries, and radiation, never whining or whimpering and always happy to go see the vet or the oncologist. I know how lucky we are that we got seven more years with you.
I remember how you would come and sit next to me (or Bryan, or our parents) whenever I was upset or crying and would offer a snuggle to comfort me. I remember that you did this for me yesterday, despite your own pain, when I was crying over the fact that I was going to lose you.
I remember the joy you felt in living. I remember how that joy inspired me. It still does.
Jazzy, I’m not religious, and, being a dog, I know you weren’t, either. However, I do believe that you are in a place now where the pain is gone. No more cancer, no more tumors, no more medications or weak hind legs. I also believe that one day I will see you again in that better place.
I love you. I miss you. You’re a good dog. Rest, now, until we meet again.