I wasn’t sure what to make of you when I brought you home for Neeka all those years ago. You’re the only dog she never tried to beat up when she first met, so that was a good sign. She must have respected that you came in smelling like the SPCA where you both did hard time.
You and I didn’t click quite as quickly; my love for you was more of a learning curve. It was really cool how, over time, our bond grew and grew and you ended up being my best furry friend for many years. You weren’t one of those sensitive types though; your needs were your own, and your love of food was bloody overpowering. I always joked you would trade me in a heartbeat for half a crouton - you couldn’t have helped your insatiable self. But I also know that once you gulped it down, you would have looked around and wondered where the hell I was.
You never had the raw running talent of our huskies - and believe me I know what that kind of comparison feels like - but neither of us let that stop us from doing it anyway. I have so many memories from all those miles we logged together. Do you remember the epic snow run around Arkon Loop? It’s astounding that you were able to do that, so impressive. You always did like the cool winter runs. And now that I think of it, the fact you preferred running with booties meant you had more in common with Iditarod dogs than the huskies did! You were also the best at defense in our pond hockey games. They were all too puck-obsessed to block the guy with the stick!
In later years you preferred warmer temps, and I’m so sorry we didn’t get to the beach again. I longed to take you swimming to soothe your achy joints. Then we could have sprawled in the grass and enjoyed deep, satisfying sniffs of spring. I wanted to see that contentment in your eyes after enduring the olfactory desert of winter. That’s not easy for a hound dog.
We were lucky this winter wasn’t too bad, so we could still get around as best we could. I’m grateful for the special time we had these last few months. It was hard for both of us, but we needed each other.
I never told you, not wanting the others to overhear, but you were my mom's favourite. With your floppy ears and soulful eyes, you were pretty damn irresistible. She would have been sad for me today, but she would also point out how fortunate we all were. A life well-loved is a life well-lived, she would say.
I’m not sure you knew my name, so I won’t bother signing this letter.
You knew who I was.
Miss you my friend.