Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Goodbye to My Best Friend

Dear Honey, 

I’ll never forget the first time I laid my eyes on you. You were crammed into a tiny cage with a few other puppies. Though all of you were cute, something about you was distinct. Maybe it was the way your eyebrows were a different color than the rest of your hair. Maybe it was the cute, little moles on your face from which oversized hairs were growing. Or maybe it was fate. 

When we brought you home, we were all so happy. We had pressed for years to get a dog, but it wasn’t until Seth’s Bar Mitzvah that Neenz finally let us. From the moment you stepped inside, you were cherished, cared for, and always attended to. You were quite the aggressive puppy, and it scared the hell out of me when there was talk of possibly giving you away. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.

Honey, you came into our lives at a tumultuous time. Things at home were less than ideal, and we needed a distraction. You filled that role with ease and wonder. Countless nights were spent playing with you, teaching you tricks, and watching you grow into the phenomenal dog that you became. We owe a great deal of our happiness to you, as without you we wouldn’t have had reason to momentarily escape from the chaos of our world. 

I’m a night owl. I always have been. And one of the absolute best parts about bringing you into the family was that you always, almost every night, came to sit by me as I ate my late-night meals and watched Sportcenter. You would hop up onto the couch, twirl around five or six times, then find your comfiest spot and collapse into a peaceful, undisturbed sleep. I can’t count the number of times I would poke, push, and shake you, just to make sure you were still breathing. 

I could poke, push, and shake you now, but you would still be gone. 

You made our world so much brighter, Honey. I never knew it possible to kiss something a million times but still want to a million more. I never knew an animal could bring man such joy and loyalty. I remember junior year when I was bed-ridden with a neck infection. For a week, you hardly once left my side. You were my guardian, detecting my pain with instinct and protecting me with warmth and love. For that, I’m grateful.

For everything, I’m eternally grateful. 

You turned stones into mush, melted hearts with the adorable way you would flip onto your back for a belly rub, and brightened lives by simply being. I can’t express how fortunate I feel to have been able to spend an entire month with you during winter break. It felt so nice to grab my steak, sit down, and hear you emerge from Neenz’s room to sit with me - subtly begging, and always getting what you wanted. 

I’ll miss the way you’d snore while awake, the way you’d randomly be struck by sneezing attacks, the way you whimpered at the door after being stuck outside for merely a minute, the way you scratched the carpet before sitting, the way you licked up your own throw-up in a somehow elegant fashion, and the way you changed my life. 

No dog will ever come close to replacing you. You were a true gem for us all to share, love, and cherish. From the moment we brought you home, we knew that, in you, we had something special. I don’t think any of us quite expected how strongly you would affect us and how profoundly you would impact our lives. 

I can’t say goodbye. I won’t say goodbye. Because you are not gone. Your heart may pound no more, and your odd neck may never jiggle awkwardly again, but your life will live on through photos, videos, and stories of how you changed an entire family. 

You were the absolute best dog I ever could have asked for. You left us too soon, but I find solace in the fact that you spent your life happier than most other dogs. The degree to which we pampered you was truly something to marvel at, and I know you passed peacefully with the knowledge that we have no regrets. We sincerely hope that you didn’t either. 

You were sent to us by God to see us through our adolescence. You were there to provide warmth and comfort when mom wasn't. You gave us a reason to smile in even the darkest times. You came into our lives for a reason, and I firmly believe that you're gone for one too. Your mission has been completed, and now it's time to go. 

I love you with everything that I have, and my life will never be quite the same. Only time will heal this ineffable pain, and I hope it does sooner than later. Just know that, though the pain may subside, your memory will never leave me. You were truly my best friend, my confidant, and my sweet, sweet angel. 

Rest easy in doggy heaven. I’m not sure it could be better than the life you lived down here, but I hope it somehow is. Endless steaks and bacon strips - only for the best dog a young man could ask for. 

With love and gratitude,