I dreaded today with a passion for its the first anniversary of my beloved dog’s ~ strike that, my best friends death. One year ago today I gave Callie my final gift, the freedom that took her beyond the reach of illness and discomfort. I owed her that and tenfold for her never wavering love and devotion. Some people say ” It’s just a dog”; they obviously have never known the unconditional love of a canine companion. They’ve never had what seemed like the weight of the world on their shoulders suddenly ease after a loving companion laid their head on a lap as if to say ” I’m here for you”. They’ve never come home after a day when life beat them down only to be greeted by a furiously wagging tail and warm brown eyes. They’ve never had their spirit eroded by the cruelty of man only to have it restored by a long walk with their 4-legged BFF. Callie Ann was my “heart” dog. For some inexplicable reason we shared an uncanny bond. From the time I adopted her at 8 weeks she had the ability to hone in on my emotions which amazed me to the end. If I raised my voice or even shed a tear in silence she immediately came to my side and refused to leave until convinced I was fine. She loved the sound of classical music (ok ok and other genres like electronic, techno and the blues) . When she was going through her wild puppy, alligator teeth stage I used to turn on Liszt’s ” Sonata in B Minor”, Pachelbel’s “Canon and Gigue in D” or what was to become our favorite – Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings”. It miraculously calmed her and music remained a huge portion of her life till the end.
Callie was so much more than a dog who ate, pooped, made trips to the veterinarian, barked at a knock on the door and occasionally passed gas that had the power to knock out an elephant.I was closer to her than I’ve ever been with anyone or anything in my life. When my grown children didn’t have time to talk to me on the phone or respond to my emails/texts ~ she filled my lonely cup. I could never have a simple conversation with my husband because he’s afflicted with what I refer to as “elective mutism”; he chooses not to talk. Once again Callie was there to fill my loneliness. Looking back I wonder if she ever thought “Mom sure talks a lot”.
I’m beginning to appreciate a decade of precious moments Callie Ann shared with me, of hours she spent by my side as I told her my goals, setbacks and concerns. I’m starting to remember the happy shared memories as opposed to the tear-stained, heart wrenching grief of her final days. I’m opening the “Memory Book” permanently imprinted in my mind; the one we created during our wonderful years together; her puppy months when she dug so many holes I considered renting her out as a grave-digger. Of her puppy teeth that I compared to those of an alligator. I remember her quirky “Callie-isms” like not walking past the basement door if it was open but rather backing up and taking a different route. The day I replaced the old floor heater vent with a new one, Callie would no longer walk by it instead opting for her backwards trot. Her fear of thunder and gunshots (thank heaven for the ThunderShirt). Greeting the UPS man faithfully. Going into the woods and proudly bringing me home bones (don’t ask). Then there’s Pinky. Callie loved her Pinky (actually she had two ). One day when she was about 7 months old I washed both and hung them on the line to dry. As you can see, Callie patiently staked out the clothesline watching them. She continued to love them gently her entire life; I can’t recall ever sewing a rip. She would gently groom Pinky. The adult pictures are of Callie and Pinky when she was 9 in the spring of 2015. Pinky went with her for chemo as well as her final visit to the vet. I had it cremated with her and I have the other one. I miss that sweet girl!
I’ve also derived happiness at knowing that the summer of 2015 was one of Callie’s best summers ever. She ventured further into the water during “River Days” than ever before. I hold dear the images of her standing there as the waters flowed over her legs; she was truly in a state of bliss. As the dogs exited the vehicle on River Days and raced down to the river I’d always play a guessing game with myself ~ “Who will enter the water first today?”. That summer it was usually Callie! My land loving labby had finally channeled her inner water-loving self! In retrospect it was her last hurrah.
I miss you Angel and always will till the day we meet again. Until then, thank you for ten years of complete devotion, for listening to me talk when no one else had time, for always making me feel special, for patiently sitting still while I photographed you wearing holiday hats and costumes. Thank you for the companionship on road trips and for being so gentle with the grands when they became rambunctious. For allowing me to brush your incredibly hairy bumpkas even though you didn’t like it, sitting still while I swabbed your mouth for a doggy DNA test. Most of all, thank you for being “you” and for loving me unconditionally. It worked both ways my beautiful black angel.
Beautiful visuals in the video
It’s been a difficult week for me but writing about Callie has helped me tremendously. I haven’t even been on Twitter to promote my K9 petitions. No emails or phone calls. I don’t know if anyone has read my Callie posts because when I’m this sad I tend to withdraw. I’m going to do one more post that will focus on Maddie and Callie, our #SistersFromAnotherMother. For some inexplicable reason the thought of these ♥︎♥︎two black angels♥︎♥︎ being together has brought me solace this past year. I hope Maddie’s mom feels the same.
In closing, I’d like to share that November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month.
Every time you use post a picture of your pet on social media (the sites are listed in the link) along with #CurePetCancer, Nationwide will donate $5 to the Animal Cancer Foundation.