One Last Ride

Today I am going to take you on one last ride. You so love to “go bye-bye” in the truck with the windows down, air rushing past your face, as you sit right next to me, and “daddy” drives. I gaze at you sleeping near me in the corner on the kitchen floor. I am grateful you have slipped into a nice sleep. I know it provides you some comfort from all you have been going through these past few days. Fifteen years ago, I was blessed to find you at the shelter. I remember seeing you for the first time. All golden red, all grown up, barely making eye contact with me but still wagging your tail. When I stooped down to get a better look at you, you flinched. I knew someone had hurt you. I talked to the lady at the desk. She told me you had been adopted and returned multiple times. I came back to look at you again, and you held my eyes this time. I fell into those huge amber eyes, and fell in love, and you’ve had my heart ever since. We brought you home to a house already full of cats. They weren’t very welcoming to you at first. Oh, how they changed over time. Look at them now, Nikki. They head-butt and nose-tap you. They follow you around, much to your annoyance. A few of them even sleep with you. Which you pretend not to like. How I have loved our trips to the woods, and the walks off-lead. Such a marvelous dog you are. We never had to train you to do anything. You are amazing. You could walk off-lead, you were house-broken, you never barked, chewed, cried….I cannot understand why someone would not want you. You helped us so much with Sasha when we first brought her home as a little puppy. Now she is twice as big as you, and you can walk under her belly when she stands. Sasha loves you so much, and in all honesty, old girl, Sasha is your dog, not ours. She adores you. I’m not sure she would ever handle another dog. You’re it. You became her mama, and her friend, her protector, her guide. I do not feel good about today. In fact, baby girl, my heart is breaking. I’ve been holding back my tears because I don’t want you to see them, but I’m fairly certain you sense my emotions. You were always so sensitive to that. Over the years, on countless occasions, you would come to me and lay your paw on my leg, then your head in my lap, and comfort me when I needed it most. I used to marvel that you would just know. You have been the very best example of what a true friend is. No judgement. Generosity of spirit. Tenderness of heart. Loyalty unmatched by anyone I have known. My words fail me. My thoughts are scattered, as I sift through years and years of memories. My chest aches with the pain of what I have to do today. I love you. You trust me without question. I do not wish to do this. I do not want to come home without you today. I will not allow you to suffer. You did not deserve cancer. I am steeling my resolve. I will be strong for you. We will go for one last ride today. The wind will rush past our faces together. I will hold you. I will be with you. My heart will shatter when yours stops. It matters not, because this you deserve from me, after all you have given me. Run baby girl, run with all your might. Head across that Rainbow Bridge you see up ahead. It’s okay girl, go on. On the other side is your reward. Eternity with no pain. No suffering. No rejection. No wants. No hurts. And don’t look back like you always do when we go for walks, making sure I’m still there. I will be along shortly. So you go play, baby girl. Love you, Nikki.

 

(I wrote this on June 30, 2009, in the final hour of my dog’s life. This was very difficult to write, and my words failed to convey the depth of what I was feeling at the time. I miss you Nikki.)

 

Nikki (alla prima)

Nikki (alla prima)

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4 thoughts on “One Last Ride

  1. Ahhh!…. I’m so sorry! I know it’s still hard. A beautiful thing to write, though. I still cannot bring myself to do it for our little Cearo we lost a few years ago… I still cannot even look at his pictures..

  2. Maria and Don, I just read this post and it is beautiful. I can only imagine the greeting Sasha received when she arrived peacefully and unexpected at the Rainbow Bridge by Nikki, Will, Franklin T and the many others she has loved here on this earth. That is what keeps me in comfort and I too have many pets that were rescued in one way or another. I was thinking about the many friends I have both animal and people on FB and how many of them have passed on. I thought about my beloved Casey Tripod that I found up for adoption only six weeks after Casey Trowbridge left for the Rainbow Bridge and saw that as a sign to continue to rescue even when my heart is breaking. The two Caseys looked almost identical (except for the missing paw) and I did not name Casey Tripod. That was his name at the shelter but it was fitting and stayed. Casey Trowbridge had belonged to a close friend of mine who passed away suddenly while I was cat sitting his beloved Casey and he became friends quickly with a senior cat that I had adopted. We were discussing my beloved catahoula and her cats. Yes, she has a cat. She had adopted Zack (Rainbow Bridge resident since April 7, 2015) who was Casey Tripod’s adopted sons. He had taken the two little kittens I found under his wing and taught them about the litter box and basically how to be cats. He used to nip them on the head when they got into the adult bowl while they were trying to eat and redirected them to the kitten bowl. I was thinking about the greeting that Zack had received when his time came to head out to the RB as well as the two Caseys meeting for the first time ever. That brings me comfort and compels me to continue rescue. My mother rescued a weenie dog just after Christmas 2015 who went to the RB in April 2016 and how broken hearted she was when that happened. My mother told me she had pets that she loves but there was something special about Kacey (yes, I know another one) because she physically rescued her from a certain death by automobiles that day. “Kelly go get her and put her in the back of the Explorer. These people drive like maniacs and she has almost been hit twice.” All I can say is that they will wait for us and in the meantime they are safe, whole and happy with the Creator.

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