There are two things in this world that can easily pull at my heart-strings. My son and my dog.
For those of you who are not pet-people, you probably don’t understand how my son and my dog could be listed together. But for those of you who are, you totally get it.
This is hard for me to write, but I feel an overwhelming need to put this out there. To let the world know how great this little girl was.
Yes, was. It’s been 4 weeks since we said goodbye to my dog of 14.5 years. But it still feels like yesterday.
I was lucky enough to find her online through a local rescue group during my senior year of college. I was getting ready to move to Florida for grad school, and my Mother and I both agreed I needed a companion for the move. So I looked for a dog.
I went to meet her. She was sweet, cute – and the only one of the dogs in the little pen the rescue lady set up that wasn’t jumping and barking all over the place. I immediately loved that about her. We got her out and petted her, but she wasn’t leashed – so once the hands were off her she ran like the dickens. Luckily, she came back. And she was mine. From then on, she was mine.
I named her Caroline, after my soon-to-be alma mater, UNC aka Carolina.
She traveled with me to Florida for grad school, then back home to Charlotte for life after school. Along my chaos of boyfriends, ex-boyfriends, jobs, former jobs, several different apartments, and all that goes along with a 20-somethings life, she was there. She would curl up underneath me whenever I sat on the couch. She would sniff around at my feet every time I went to the kitchen. She would jump in excited every time I said ‘walk’ or ‘outside’. She was the best squirrel-chaser in the world. And she was the most loving dog anyone could ever meet.
Then came my 30’s, and the meeting of my later-to-be husband. She took to him right away, and he to her. He included her in the proposal which was outside at a local park. Every time I passed that bench I thought of our proposal. Now I think of her.
She was at our wedding. I could not imagine having it any other way. My favorite wedding picture is of the 3 of us – me, him and her.
She traveled with us, she hiked with us, she made us laugh and smile.
Then she got kidney disease. And she was a fighter. But those kidneys are a bitch – and they won out. It was her time, even though I so desperately didn’t want it to be. She had been with me for so much, I wanted her to see my son grow up a bit more. Her little brother – she never really got to know him and that makes me so sad.
She lived a remarkable, beautiful, active, happy and long life. She was 3 months shy of her 16th birthday when she passed.
Since her passing, I’ve walked a lot. One of our favorite things to do together was walk. I’d go on the paths she used to take me on – the further from home the better for her. I see a ceramic cat she used to pull towards, thinking it was real, and smile – then cry. I see a road she loved to walk on because it was full of squirrels, and walk down in her memory.
I miss her so much my heart literally aches. For so long it was me and her, and now I have to figure out how to live my life without her. And I will. I know time will heal, and I will live a long and happy life, even get another dog to love, with my little family. But I also know when my time comes, she and I will have such a happy reunion in heaven. Because, yes, I do believe dogs go to heaven. Especially this beautiful girl!
I love you Care Bear always and forever!!