As some of you already know, we said a sudden and heartbreaking good-bye to my best little buddy and writing partner Winston on January 20.
He became very ill very quickly and was sedated overnight. Then he just couldn’t pull through it and wake up. I was right with him–literally sitting next to him on the ground–when he first fell ill. Then he was in my arms until we reached the vet. And then he was under the tender care of some of the kindest people I’ve met in a long time. He wasn’t scared or in pain. He was warm and comfy. I got to spend two hours with him the following day, rubbing his belly and ears and telling him what a good boy he was. Then, a couple of hours later, he slipped away.
I’m going to be honest and say it’s been one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through. But in the days and weeks since, I’ve been able to find some peace.
Most of it comes from knowing that Winston had the happiest life imaginable (dog or human… probably a dozen people have told me over the years that they wanted to be reincarnated as Winston). He made so many people so happy. When we worked on the dog show, people who were having a rough day would come silently into my office and sit down on the floor with him, rubbing his belly (detect a theme?) and hugging him, receiving his sweet puppy kisses and unconditional love and friendship.
Last April, when the baby was born, his happiness was made complete. He had always loved babies, and now we brought him home a baby of “his” own. He adored her and followed her everywhere. He loved to nap in her room when she napped. He loved to circle beneath her high chair for the delicious morsels she would drop. Almost everything I know about being a mother, Winston taught me. He taught me to speak softly even when inside I wanted to yell. He taught me that sometimes a gentle touch is all that’s needed. He taught me what it means to love so purely and so constantly.
He could be naughty, often to the tune of hundreds of dollars in vet bills, but he gave much more than he took.
He made me laugh and he licked my tears when I was sad. Our house is missing something without him.
I miss him so much but the imprint he left on my heart and life is a gift that I won’t let be bogged down by misery. He was too sweet, too happy, too loving a dog for his legacy to be one of pain.
This is the final verse of a poem I wrote years ago.
Come sit with me, my dearest friend;
I’ll take your hand when you grow weak,
And stay with you, and soothe your cares
And face the spectre as he stares
And know your parting words though you don’t speak.
April 29, 2005 – January 20, 2013
Loved so, so much.