It seems life is not done presenting me challenges at the moment. After having battled my most severe episode of IVDD the past couple months, ultimately leading to surgery just 10 days ago, my best friend in the world and lifelong mother-figure, Laffie, has just passed away…
This is my letter to her.
It was just last week that you were by my side, staying with us while your parents were away. By some sort of coincidence, this is when my back took a turn for the worst and I went for emergency surgery. You, the friend I needed most in this time, were there to keep me company as I went off for my operation and to welcome me back home when it was done.
So perhaps it was no coincidence that you should be there with me in this time. You’ve always been a canine-mother-figure of mine from day one, and I feel like maybe your last motherly act was to see me off on a good recovery course.
Those first couple days after surgery, when I cried in my crate, you came and slept by my side to give me comfort. I know it made a difference, you being there, so for that I’m thankful.
I will really miss you though, and next time I visit your house I will be sad you are not there to greet me at the door, and I will surely search the house for you, somehow hoping you might still be there.
It’s just hard to comprehend how you could just be gone….
I still remember the day I came home as a pup. I was scared and shaking, especially at your towering figure over my little body. But you were gentle and kind, and wagged your tail. You barely even knew me, and yet you gave me comfort and let me snuggle in your warm, woolly fur.
From that day forward, you were my best friend, and although you’ve always preferred to stay out of the spotlight that has found its way to me, it was you who taught me everything I know and made me who I am.
You taught me how to be the adventurer I am. Even as a young pup, I quickly took after your free spirit, doing my best to keep up with you in the bush as you followed the scent of your favorite critters.
You taught me the hunter paw-signal.
You taught me how to play, and how to play tough.
You taught me how to withstand our cold winters, and how to move through the snow as if I were a big dog.
You taught me how to run fast through the forest.
You taught me how to scratch at things I want, which is one of the cutest things I do according to Mum and Dad, but also one of the most annoying. So thank you.
Most importantly, you taught me how to be a loyal companion. Despite being a true country dog as you were, coming and going as you pleased with no leashes or fences, you always came back. And I’m happy to have learned that freedom and control from you.
I’ll miss sleeping on the couch next to you. I’m sorry we couldn’t have done that recently what with my back and all.
I’ll miss our walks through the woods together. I never told you, but it was sort of nice as you got older and slowed down a little, because it meant I could keep up with you a bit better.
I’ll especially miss sharing in new adventures with you. We definitely had some fun times together…
I’m sorry your kidneys failed you. At 15 year’s old, you were still so strong in every other way. Part of me wishes you could have stuck around a bit longer, but perhaps that is selfish of me. I’m grateful you made it as far as you did, for there were so many other times where you seemingly escaped death – like when you got lost in the provincial park’s wolf territory for a whole night, or when you ran out the back door and chased away the bear that was eating our garbage… when you fell in an ice cold river, or when you floated away on a piece of ice on the thawing lake… or when you got lost in the woods during the heart of a freezing cold winter night, only to turn up the next morning a mile away enjoying breakfast at a stranger’s house.
(All true stories, by the way).
I think life didn’t fail you at all. You conquered it, and lived it in a way most dogs would envy. You lived on the edge, but there was never a dull moment. Not many people know about you – let alone your story, but fame was never important to you. To me, you will always be the legend I look up to.
Thank you for everything you taught me. Thanks for always being by my side. I always looked to you for support, but now I’ll have to strengthen my own independence so I can be a mentor to my little brother Oakley and any other new pups that enter our family.
I promise I will carry on your legacy. I promise I will get better from this back surgery, and I promise that as soon as I am, I will chase those critters for you. And every new adventure I live, I’ll imagine you by my side.
Goodbye my friend. Until we meet again,