Every sweet thing…

This morning.

Mutt is a rescue so we don’t actually know when her birthday is. Suffice to say that when I laid eyes on her in the pound, I knew she was the dog the universe intended for us. She was around four months old.  We decided to celebrate her birthday on June 16.

This year, Mate and I were trying to figure out how old she is.  I thought nine.  He said eight.  When he did, I was thrilled.

I didn’t want her to be nine.

She was once the youngest in the family, if she’s nine that makes her, for the first time, the oldest in the family.

I didn’t want her to be old.

For a few days, we happily convinced ourselves that she was eight.  If she’s nine, that would mean we got her right after 9/11.  We’d remember that, wouldn’t we?

Uh, no.

Yesterday, Mate checked his prodigious journals and…she’s nine.

I remember a few weeks after we got her, Youngest and I were playing with her and he suddenly looked up at me with solemn eyes and said, “When she dies, this is what we will remember.”

It makes your heart clutch, doesn’t it, to think of the things you love dying?

When she dies, here is a tiny fraction of what we will miss…

Her unparalleled capacity for cuddling…

Her help opening Christmas presents…

The way her ear gets stuck sometimes…

How patiently she waits for us to go hiking…

The way she admires the view from the top of Black Mountain…

How much she loves a big stick…

The way she sits like a lioness and looks out over her domain (and never leaves it even though there is no fence…)

Her uncanny ability to always have a friend who comes over daily to play…

The way she keeps us company, no matter where we go…

It just makes me weep.  I know that her birthday came and went in the context of other endings and part of my sadness is because of that.  But how to handle it? How to manage the sure knowledge that every sweet thing will not last?

I think I need to take my cue from her and…

Enjoy it while it lasts.

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9 thoughts on “Every sweet thing…

  1. Oh Anna.
    She is the best.
    What a lovely birthday tribute.
    You know my vision of my afterlife (because I’m determined to have one tailor-made to my exact specifications) includes, of course, all the dogs I’ve ever loved. And the people. All together. Smoking cigarets and chatting.

  2. Oh, Anna, I just saw this last night and the timing couldn’t have been more auspicious. My sweet, heart-as-big-as-all-outdoors, love of my life St. Bernard died quickly and unexpectedly Monday night. She was just exactly 7 years old (i had spent the previous week trying to remember her exact birthday).

    She struggled with a collapsed larynx, but she’d been doing fairly well. But I think the cumulative effect of struggling to breath caught up with her and she went downhill quickly, dying just an hour after going into distress.
    Of course her decline happened minutes after Phil left to teach. Tim is away for the week and it was just Aidan and me at home…I called my friend and she came sat with me and Olympia as she died.
    Then we called in Beth’s husband and two other friends and they all showed up with shovels and hatchets and we dug a huge hole in the sweltering night and buried her under the maple tree in the backyard. It was sweet and sad, and I’m still reeling from the stillness of the house and the depths of the sadness.

    She was a sweet amazing girl and she’s left a st. bernard-sized hole in our hearts. It’s going to be a lot quieter around here…our other pup (our rescue dog who is now 10) is bereft and lonely.

    So keep loving every day with your gorgeous, loyal, smart pup! It goes by too fast.

    1. Oh, Valle, I am SO sorry to hear that news. I didn’t see your comment until just now or would have responded sooner. I can only imagine how heart-broken you must be. Big hugs from here to there..

  3. Our cats are 16 and nearly 17 and I think the same thoughts each year. It’s especially poignant as we got them before we had children so there’s a little bit of guilt at all the attention they used to get compared with (now that there’s a 2 and 6 year old in the house) the attention they don’t get quite so much of. And they’re ailing in different ways.

  4. Anna,
    I always took you for a lover of animals! My chubby boy Blue has been a blessing for almost 11 years now. I don’t know how I could have made it without him! He is my old-man dog that has withstood two husbands far better than me. I could learn a lot from my dog, if I could only take the time…

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