I remember when you came to me, enormous head on a tiny little body
The trainer instructing me to restrain you until you stopped barking, and the fear that such restraint would rob you of your illustrious canine spirit
It never did
I remember when you saved me from a black bear, nose to nose, puppy to cub, at the screen door of my camper in the Catskills, the low grumble from deep down in your throat otherworldly and never heard again
I remember the first time I let you off leash in the woods
Bolting after squirrels and chipmunks, a rustle in the leaves, the jolt of joy across your face, the pang of fear to my heart and my lungs, would you come back to me?
You always did
I remember how patient you were when your shithead little brother arrived on the scene, how gentle you always were with him even though you could have (and I believe should have) shown him what-for any number of times over the years
I remember slowly pulling an entire snake from your mouth and that time you inhaled twelve chocolate muffins
I remember when you ate your first dead bird, crunching bones in your jaw as if they were a delicacy, and when you ate the dead fish that almost killed you with a rare form of salmon poisoning
I remember Brooklyn—in Prospect Park—when I let you chase a rat thinking there was no way you would ever catch it
Hiking Connecticut, New York, Oregon, 14ers in Colorado, Kuli’ou’ou on Oahu, did I really spend more money on your plane ticket to paradise than I did my own?
Oh, yes, I did
I remember more illnesses and trips to the vet (tongue lesions, blood cancer, two different strains of Lyme Disease, Vestibular Syndrome, and let’s not even talk about the allergies!) than I could possibly imagine for one dog’s lifespan
Protection, Strength, Dignity—you laid at my feet—a constant calming presence in every home we inhabited
If I could help you stand up forever I would
If I could restore feeling to your legs and nurse you back from the brink, oh, yes, I definitely would
Fifteen years of I remembers, how can we possibly be nearing the end of our time together so soon?
I love you B, straight to the moon 🌙 and back 🌟