I usually blog about silly things. Pretty things, girly things and sparkly things. Today is the third in a string of sad days and I am not going to lie, nobody can sparkle all the time.
Josh and I headed down to South by Southwest in Austin on Saturday with a couple of friends we adore. We were geared up for a great weekend–hippie-esque clothes packed, sunscreen slathered on in honor of the 85+ degree weather, and a full tank of gas in the Benz. Not a care in the world.
I received a text message at around 11 am that broke my spirit. I’d been expecting it for some time, but when it came it was like a punch in the gut. My sweet dog that we got when I was 13 years old, a delicious and wonderful chocolate lab who taught me patience, resilience, and calm, had died peacefully at home with her paw in my mom’s hand.
Losing a loved one is sorrow, and whether this person is an actual person-person or an animal-person, the pain cuts deep. My Hannah was a true angel, a dog who licked my tears after my first truly bad fight with a best friend. Who lay beside me while I wept over being stood up for my senior prom, and later when my college boyfriend broke my heart, when I was laid off from a job I loved, and many other times before and after that.
She was a dog whose tail wagged so vehemently that one wondered if it would just go and wag right off. She had golden eyes that were so soulful, looking into them was like reading a really good book. She was a friend to my baby brother when he faced some incredibly dark times, and she was a companion to my mom through many difficult nights.
Hannah was the life of our neighborhood, a beloved creature who always received huge smiles everywhere she went. She was known for stealing bites of ice cream, scraps of meat and even licks of a margarita. One Christmas, she ate an entire bag of chocolate-covered espresso beans and disappeared for two harrowing hours. We later found her, hoarse and tired, on a neighbor’s lawn.
My Hannah taught me to slow down. We used to call her Ferdinand because her walks were never fast or exciting, but slow and delightful ramblings meant for sniffing flowers and watching bugs, people and cars. She taught me more than I know how to express, and it’s hard to believe she was on this earth shy of fifteen years.
I remember clearly the day we got her, all of her brown foldy puppy fur wrinkled up in Noah’s arms as we left the puppy store. I remember the mornings Jacob bemoaned having been up three times to clean out her pee-soaked crate. I remember the very few-but always glorious-licks she’d offer when you really, truly needed one.
I remember my Hannah now and I will remember her always. She was not just my dog, she was my sister, baby and friend. She was a chair, a pillow, and a safe. I don’t know where dogs go when they leave us, but I know this. Hannah took a piece of me wherever she went.