I love the colors of her hair and the softness when it’s freshly washed. She doesn’t mind if it’s brushed or not, but she insists that it’s caressed by everyone she meets.
Gazing into her eyes, I feel as though I can read her mind without a single utterance. Sometimes it’s as if she is trying to will me to do something with just a stare from those beautiful brown eyes. But with the slightest gesture, she understands exactly what I’m about to say or do, and, with or without her approval, we proceed with my plan for the day.
While she mostly enjoys lounging around, she is always up for keeping me company on errands; she stays in the car mostly. She likes to sit in the back on the right side and becomes agitated if anyone takes her seat. She enjoys knowing who has been around town but is particular when it comes to socializing.
She is on the large side and can be quite intimidating. Understanding the fear others may have of her muscular and broad physique, she is always sure to appear gentle in her ways. When faced with rude or aggressive behavior, she remains calm and does her best to circumvent the situation with grace and dignity.
The simplicity and predictability of her routine makes her life seem carefree. She has virtually no responsibility – other than not missing her nightcap, which consists of a small piece of frozen waffle for a snack just before bedtime. I often wonder if it’s her life I get a taste of when I’m in my deepest state of meditation. And then I cringe at the thought of living in that state forever.
Her soul is one of the kindest I have ever known, and sometimes it’s easy for me to take advantage of her unspoken acceptance of disappointment when my needs come before hers. While flying through my day, I know she’s patiently waiting for me to turn my focus to her, but oftentimes I’ll say, “Tomorrow, tomorrow, I promise.”
The tomorrows are coming fast and furious. I know her days are numbered and she will be with me for only a few more years; I hope for at least that much time. I wonder how she will leave. Will it be painful or peaceful for her? Will it be quick or drawn out? I know I will long for our morning walks together. I’ll yearn for the way she seems to say, “Where have you been? I’ve missed you!” when I’ve been away. And I’ll long for her unconditional love that seems incapable of knowing my faults. I can imagine the loneliness I will feel without her in my life, but I can’t imagine what will happen to her beautiful spirit. Something so pure and sweet must live on somehow.
I think I will spend these next few years learning to understand the components of her good nature. I would like to extract some of her qualities and weave them into my being, and maybe that is one way I can pay tribute to her life.
But for now, she is here. She is sleeping next to me as I type, breathing on my bare foot, and I can feel her sweet heart beating. She is alive and strong and happy as a clam. She is my sweet and beautiful dog, Isabella.