11 years ago, a golden puff ball was born. He watched his sisters and brothers taken away by strange people, and sat all alone, lonely and unloved because he had (what the breeders called) a “wonky eye”.
Meanwhile, a girl who had been struggling with severe depression for the better part of her life was checked out of hospital after an attempt on her own life. After some counseling, her therapist made the suggestion that she get a pet as animal therapy could possibly help where drugs were failing.
And so, girl and dog were brought together, and she knew from the very moment that she laid eyes on him that he was her dog and had just been waiting for her to arrive.
He was barely 8 weeks old with big floppy ears and clumsy paws that would take months to grow into. She watched him with love and through him, learnt to laugh again. He grew into a big, hairy furball who couldn’t bear to be separated from his mommy, and she was so attached that even when she went away, she would call home and have her family put him on the phone just so she could hear his woof.
The relationship had it’s ups and downs, of course. She was more than a little upset when he shredded her childhood teddy bear (which was her only memento from her grandmother), and he was always very unimpressed when she wouldn’t give him the last of her peanut butter toast. But these temporary tiffs were always forgotten by the end of the day, when he’d jump onto her bed for a cuddle as they went to sleep.
He taught the girl what unconditional love truly was, and no matter how sad or upset she was, always managed to soothe and console her. Even on the days when she struggled to get out of bed, he somehow always managed to make her laugh and help her tackle each new day.
And so, side by side, they grew up together. He helped her through each heartbreak and eased her loneliness, and she in turn loved him as her own child, spoiling him as rotten as she possibly could.
As he got older, she worried about how she would cope if he left her – the sad fact being that he was always destined to leave her behind. She fretted whenever he took ill, and spent many nights watching him sleep and asking whoever was up there and listening to please let him live longer and go many years from now, peacefully in his sleep.
But I’m afraid that life just isn’t fair that way.
After being in hospital for the past few days due to a bout of pancreatitis, the girl got a call this afternoon from his doctor, telling her that he had collapsed and taken a turn for the worse. The doctor told her that she should come as soon as possible as it was an emergency. The girl’s heart stopped beating and she fell apart at her desk, already terrified of what was to come.
Racing away from her workplace and barely able to drive for the tears in her eyes, she hoped that the doctor was wrong and that she would get there and that he would be okay. Or that she would at least be able to hold him, comfort him, tell him one more time that she loved him. Soothe him and tell him that it would be okay, that his momma had arrived.
But she got there too late. He hadn’t been able to wait for her and slipped away to the other side of the rainbow bridge as she was trying her very best to get to him. She collapsed next to him, clinging to his side and crying into his fur. It’s not fair. He wasn’t meant to go like this. Her darling baby boy was gone and she didn’t even get to say goodbye.
The girl is now sitting at a computer and trying her best to write him a farewell letter to say all the things she didn’t get to say one last time, but every time she thinks the tears have stopped, she falls apart again, clutching at the painful emptiness she feels in her chest. She knows in the back of her mind that the pain will eventually ease but she doesn’t know how that is possible when her fuzzy little munchkin left so suddenly and unexpectedly.
Here is her letter.
To my dear, sweet, darling Mr Woofy,
Thank you for everything. For 11 years, you blessed me with unconditional trust and love. You picked me up when I fell down, you showed me how to laugh when I thought I’d never laugh again, and taught me so much about life. I will forever treasure every day that you were by my side, and take some solace in the fact that your passage was quick and that you weren’t in pain for too long.
I’m sorry, too.
I’m sorry for all the nights that I stayed out or went away and made you worry about where your mommy was.
I’m sorry for all the times that I pushed you away instead of giving you all the cuddles that you wanted.
I’m sorry that I couldn’t stop this from happening to you.
But most of all, I’m so so so sorry that I wasn’t there to hold you one last time before you had to go.
My dearest baby boy. Your momma is hurting a lot right now and she misses you so very much. I hope that wherever you are, there is lots of fresh grass to roll in, ducks to chase and bones to chew. Momma can’t be there right now, but when my time comes, I hope you’ll be waiting for me as you did each day – tail wagging, with a kiss and a cuddle.
I love you forever and ever.