Dear Abbie (the dog),
Yesterday, you took your last breath in this world. Because of that scourge of the Earth we call cancer, you were taken from us after ten short years. That’s human years because according to the chart in the veterinarian’s office, you were considered “geriatric” by dog standards. I found that funny because up until the cancer that infiltrated your body left you with little energy over the last few weeks, you were the polar opposite of geriatric.
You were young at heart. Even as an “old” lady, your disposition remained very similar to when you were a puppy. You knew to never let old age get in the way of your vigorous enjoyment of life. That was one of your lessons. The first two to three minutes that a new visitor stumbled into Chateau du Chrestman were among the most exciting moments of your life. Like most dogs, the highlight of your day was going on your daily excursions in the park. You lived for swimming and I almost lost you in the City Park lagoons twice. You were kind of a bitch to other female dogs, but you were friendly with all male dogs and you would always get along with other golden retrievers. I guess that made you the dog version of kind of racist? Then again, maybe not because you loved all humans unconditionally. That was another of your lessons.
You were there since the beginning. You were there even before Sarah entered the picture. You evacuated with me during Hurricane Katrina, proved your unusually high tolerance for pain at obedience school and were my only companion when I lived in that post-Katrina house with the downstairs gutted. When Sarah came in, you harbored your own version of resentment which manifested by you eating a lot her belongings. At first, I thought it was just you being a golden puppy – chewed up shirts, jewelry and other of her accoutrements. But then you singled out her prized red shoes out of many other pairs to choose from, and you destroyed them. Yet, you came around eventually and accepted this new person in our lives. You could not have been more gentle when our tiny humans suddenly appeared. Amelia loved to wave at you, feed you numerous table scraps, hug you and sometimes tug at various parts of your face in a somewhat violent manner. Thanks for not biting her or ever snapping at her. You were such a gentle soul.
And when it came down to the end of your life, you went in your own way. We were supposed to have an appointment with an oncologist today to see about getting you chemotherapy. But fuck that shit, you said. You embraced life and you enjoyed every moment. You never got preoccupied with the past or worried about the future. You just loved this moment. And that was perhaps your most important lesson.
I love you, Abbie girl. You’ll always be my special, furry golden mound of joy. We all miss you and look forward to seeing you again some day. Say hello to Allison and Aunt Cynthia for me.
P.S. Dear cancer and the year 2015, fuck both of you.