Saying goodbye to you has been the hardest thing our little family has ever had to face. The loss, the pain, the emptiness, runs deep and we miss you so very much. It was sudden and cruel how you left us and it has shaken us to our core.
We never want to forget you, and I know we never will. But as much as we want the pain of missing you to stop, it is also a comfort to feel it, because it means we remember just how much we love you. Tears still flow freely and readily. We can still see you, smell you, hear you. The garden and certain walks are just too painful right now, as you’re everywhere and nowhere all at the same time. While it’s hard, we’re also terrified at the thought of those memories fading and of forgetting you.
You were a special girl. In the early days, your gorgeous eyes spoke to Mum, and we can still remember the innocent Facebook post from the local dogs home that thrust you onto Mum’s screen and soon after into our home. The eyes said it all. Despite being worried about everything, there was so much love and trust which grew every day.
You were a challenge but one we worked so hard to help and my goodness you returned it in bucketloads. In the first 4 weeks of owning you, we were told that because of your kidneys you wouldn’t survive past 2 or 3 years. The day we got the news you sat and consoled Mum as she wept over you. To think you made it to 9 is incredible, but hard. Your annual blood tests always came back clear and because they never seemed to bother you, we almost forgot they were an issue.
In the early days we graduated from dog school and worked with several dog behaviourists to help with your anxiety…the verdict each time being that all you really wanted, and where all the anxiety was coming from, was that you were scared of being abandoned again. All you really wanted was your Mum and Dad and we’re so thankful that we got to be your Mum and Dad.
When Ben joined our family, your personality grew even more. You struggled initially to ‘share’ Mum and Dad, frequently thrusting your face in between them if they ever fussed him, but soon we learned that group hugs were even better. As a big sister you showed him the way, and turned into the biggest snitch, running to tell Mum and Dad when he was being naughty.
We loved seeing your little character grow. From the nervous pup who used to anxiously watch us in the kitchen from afar, you soon came to be the biggest trip hazard as you sat adoringly under our feet, hoping for food scraps to appear. While once you sat at a distance on your bed in the living room, with time and confidence you soon realised that cuddling up under a blanket on the sofa was much nicer and would nudge your way into the smallest space possible, just to be close.
Through lockdown you really blossomed, loving having your people around 24/7, and pushing your way into every zoom meeting possible. “I hope Chilli will join us” became one of the things most said to Mum when meetings were being arranged, and even Mum’s boss stopped an all staff meeting to remark at how much you loved Mum, leaning and gazing at her while she was trying to give a serious funding update. One of the only positive things about the pandemic is the extra time we got to spend with you.
You were the hardest but most rewarding dog in the world. That last night, sleeping on the floor next to you and you burrowing under the duvet next to me, will stay with me forever.
You leaving has broken our hearts. But you were totally worth it and we’d do it all again in a heartbeat.