Coming off two incredibly difficult weeks at work, I am hyper-sensitive and acutely aware of how much I depended on Shelby to comfort me through every challenging aspect of my life. Last week, the school in which I work at, had three 8th grade girls get hit by a car that ran a red light and threw them feet into the air. As administrative staff, we rushed to comfort the other children that witnessed it and help get the parents to their kids. In the week that followed, there was a lot of unknown, including the condition of one of the girls who was struck. Our community came together to support one and other but it was always hard to come home to an empty house.
This past Monday, our school was placed on lock-down for 5 hours due to a crazed gunman on a rooftop right on the opposite side of the street. Once again, our strength as a community was tested as we watched our block fill with swat teams, the bomb squad, the press, the police. Never have I seen so many guns drawn since I was in Boston in 2013 for the Marathon when the bombs went off at the finish line. As I escorted the children to the nearby park where they were reunited with their parents, I was forced to be strong for the little ones who were having to walk past men and women with rifles and bullet proof vests. I came home that night, exhausted.
When I returned to my hotel after the Boston bombings, my phone was filled with messages and texts but the one that stuck out was from the vet … Shelby’s home away from home. They had called to let me know that Shelby was quite fine but was very concerned about her mama. I broke down in tears. Shelby, of course, being a canine, had no clue what had happened but it was a real fear of mine that what would happen to Shelby, God forbid something happen to me. Never have I been so glad to get my girl out of ‘jail’.
Shelby was always my amazing source of comfort, through a break-up, through tough anniversaries (like the date of the passing of my father), from a bad day at work to a horrible run – that girl was always eager to greet me with a smile, with a snuggle, with a kiss. Even though Shelby knew that I wasn’t a big fan of on the face / mouth kisses, she would give kisses to my hands, arms, to let me know that she was there for me. Sometimes, if the days were bad and I was feeling emotional and I would try and hide it from Shelby, and she would always figure it out. And she would get up from wherever she was and she would come to me and love on me. Shelby slept with me in the bed most nights (before her injuries) and I could always count on her to lay right next to me on the nights I needed it the most.
I remember when her leg broke, her vet said, over and over – we’ll fix this. We will make this right. You were in Boston. You don’t deserve any more bad luck.
But it wasn’t me. It was Shelby and I had to comfort her. And I did. Till the very last breath and I have no regrets about that.
But my girl – oh how I miss your snuggles. Oh how I miss being able to tell you about my day. How crappy it was. How great it was. From the second I woke up in the morning, we would talk. I would always tell you good morning and that I loved you. As I would leave for work and you would be settling in for your day, I would tell you to have a good day and that I loved you. When I got home from work, I would ask you about your day and what you did (even though I am pretty sure you checked out the kitchen for food that wasn’t there and slept on the couch all day). You were always SO happy when I got home. I miss our evening routine….I would get home, perhaps find you in your bed (or at the door with your tail wagging). But if you were in your bed, I would drop my stuff and come and get on the floor next to you or if you were in my bed, cuddle up with you there. I would give you kisses and you would make the cutest little moaning sounds …I guess it was your version of purring. We would get up and the swirling tail dance would begin. We would go for our walk, come home and you always thought it was dinner time! You were so food motivated!
Daylight savings was the worst – it somehow adjusted your internal dinner alarm clock earlier – always. I don’t know why, looking back on it, I decided that 6:00 p.m. was a proper dinner time for you. Maybe it was the control freak in me and that I liked to eat dinner around 6 p.m. as to keep hunger later in the evening at bay.
But right now, I go home each night to an empty house. Your bowls have been put up. Your dog food was donated to homeless pooches. I saw your container of biscuits this a.m. I can’t bear the throw them out and I know that I should. Your beds remain the same place. I don’t even think the cleaning lady moves them anymore to vacuum under them since she knows there isn’t new fur there. Your toy box is still over-flowing. Oh my silly best friend … what I wouldn’t kill for one more day with you, one more snuggle, one more kiss. I miss you so much. I miss the comfort you brought me. I feel my strength failing me. I feel more and more lost without you. I miss you more and more. There are ups and downs with this crazy grief thing … I hope you can feel how much I love you, my little soul dog. The couch just doesn’t feel the same without you on it!