One of the greatest tragedies of the entire universe is that those who have the purest hearts and the sweetest souls spend the shortest time with us.

This past Saturday, our sweet girl, Belle, passed away peacefully in her sleep. She would have been 13 in January. A teenager. I imagine that she would have immediately began to roll her beautiful brown eyes at me at every chance.

Patrick and I got married in December of 2001. By January I was begging him for a puppy. We looked and we looked and we finally found someone whose dog had had puppies. We drove about 3 hours to see them when they were just a week or so old, still just a wiggling mass of puppy and poop. We just sat there and stared… “How do we pick one?” We started picking them up, cuddling them, I tried to stick a few in my bra and steal them, Patrick intervened… as he does.

I’m a sexist asshole and knew I wanted a female so that, at least, made it a little easier. Finally we just put all the females in a pile and watched. Waited. Suddenly one of them was squirming towards Patrick on her little belly and as soon as she got to him, she peed all over him. Belle chose us.

Patrick and Belle

She was our eternal puppy, even at 12 years old with a mostly white face and a hitch in her step from knee surgery when she was 7, she had a puppy quality to her face. She was always happy to see us. And you. And you over there, too. Every day was the best day of her life. But the ones where she got to swim too? Holy balls. (Which she did not have. Because she was a girl.) Those days were epic.

Maybe it was because we got her when we were newlyweds and didn’t ever plan on having children. Or perhaps it was because when you met Belle, you knew right away that there was no other way to love her than fully and completely and messily. But that puppy girl was our baby. She ruled our hearts. She owned them and carried them around with her.

I know that we are lucky. We didn’t have the struggle of wondering about the quality of her life. Are we selfishly prolonging her suffering because WE aren’t ready to say good bye. Belle was wide open Saturday afternoon. And then she wasn’t. She most likely had a stroke. We took her to the vet that evening because something was clearly not okay. Her xrays and blood work all looked good so the vet suggested that we let her stay overnight so they could keep an eye on her and check back with them in the morning. At 11:00 that night, she passed away in her sleep.

Before we left, we each gave her a big hug and lots of kisses and she wagged her tail and kissed us back. We didn’t know we were telling her goodbye but looking back, I think she knew.

Sweet dreams my puppy girl. I want to think that right now you are swimming endlessly, chasing your dummy and rolling around in the sand.

Dammit.  Play with me.