My children's father and I had two dogs together, both of whom I had to reluctantly leave behind when the marriage ended; the dogs, of the "his and her" variety, could not be separated. His old girl had to be put to sleep last year, and this weekend, my dog crossed the rainbow bridge to be with her. The sweetest and saddest moment was my ex's description of how Buster was found--with the family's two-year-old Malamute curled up around him. The two buddies had chosen the shade of a tree we had long ago planted as the place of final rest. As my ex and his family were out of town, the dog sitter lovingly buried my pup where he was found. My ex's words were that the hardship of the dog's passing was its representation of the past--the shared past. I find this kind and sweet, but I buried that notion with the first dog. With this one, I was simply sad that I hadn't been there, that during a recent visit to my former home, I hadn't walked the extra twenty feet to call my old dog one last time.
To Buster, the best "bad dog" there ever was, know that I loved you. I loved you for the way you balanced on the pitch of the dog house roof and slept up there like Snoopy. I loved you for the way you peed on only my ex-husband's things (his car tires, his golf bag, his shirts). I loved you for how you sniffed and snarfed and comically blinked at me, all while wagging your tail and challenging me to a game of chase. You let me play with the wrinkles on your Sharpei face and toy with the slight curl in your tail. I will never forget how when you were a puppy, you would clamp your teeth around Dakota's fluffy tail and drag her backwards around the yard. In my head, I still hold a picture of you gleefully relishing my daughter's old doll, the expression of "what's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine" in your precious button eyes. Leaving you once was hard enough, but deep in my heart, I know you'll never be gone forever.