Each long day missing
Turning 'round I call her name
Silence answers loud
It was as though she always knew we needed her more than she needed us.
Born without enough cartilage to make her ears stand up, she came at a discount. Poor dog, wasn’t show worthy, so she was relegated to living her life with our family. For that, I am thankful.
Lesson learned: Never bring your checkbook or your children to look at a cute litter of puppies for sale.
In 2003 a beautiful, pure-bread, Skye Terrier joined our family; Olivia Marie Hoy, Livvie, Tubs, Chubs, Squishy, Poopy Butt, Pretty Pretty Princess. Whatever we called her, she was a member of our family, a constant and faithful companion. Even if the doors were left wide open, she would never leave.
I didn’t realize until she was gone just how much time we spent together each day. Because I work out of our home she was always there. Wherever I sat to do my work, she was not far from my feet.
Livvie was fed half a cup of food twice a day. In between those feedings, we ate my meals together. She waited patiently for a treats. She knew I’d take care of her and begging for food would have been beneath her. She was never an in your face kind of dog. It was as though she always knew we needed her more than she needed us.
Weighing in at about thirty-four pounds, she only stood twelve inches off the ground. She was long and stout; with a people sized head and people like hair. Unfortunately for her, I was her groomer. I knew that responsibility had to be mine after watching in horror as she snapped incessantly at three people trying to trim her up for the first time. Even as a puppy, she hated having her hair cut. It seemed to hurt. I think she knew she was supposed to be beautiful, not practical. I figured I was doing her a favor by keeping it short. She hated to be brushed just as much as being trimmed and would have needed brushing daily if I hadn’t kept her hair manageable. Like Sampson in the Bible, we joked that she thought her strength would be lost at the slightest snip.
Apparently, Skye Terriers were originally bred in Scotland for the purpose of hunting rats under castles. Fortunately we never needed her to hunt rats. We did, however, allow her to chase the cats and ferrets now and then.
Olivia’s passing brought me to a depth in my heart I hadn’t reached in years. Every day without her I realize more and more how much she was always there for me.
She greeted us when we came in the door, as though it was the first time, every time. Until the end, she always stood to say goodbye as we left. I don’t think she wanted to go anywhere. I think she just didn’t want us to leave. She loved walking to the mailbox and chasing the neighbor dogs and pedestrians as they passed by the front of the house.
Everything is so quiet now. Six baby gates down now and the dog toys tucked away. Candy Paws, the cat, has taken to sleeping on Livvie’s bed… so we’ll keep that for now. I wake several times a night and reach out to her. She’s not there. Without fail, she raised her head to look at me as I passed by on my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. It was as though she was saying, “I’m here. You okay?” I miss her.
Maybe there are people who just have animals and don’t fall in love with them. We are not those kind of people. Olivia was a member of our family. She cared about us just as much as we cared about her. Maddie and Alex were eight and ten years old when she came to live with us. Thirteen years and so much living later... she has gone to that big beautiful kennel in the sky. We can't thank her enough for all the love and joy she brought to our family. She was truly our constant companion.
On a side note; Olivia had a serious thing for chocolate. I hope she gets all the chocolate she wants in Heaven.
Some might say, "She was just a dog." My heart says different.
Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.