I’ve waited long enough to write something about my other dog. My first dog.
In 2016, I lost Bonnie, my sweet dog, who was like my own beating heart. She died on a snowy December morning in our living room. Bonbon.
I met my shy twelve-week old puppy in February fourteen years earlier at Atlanta Humane Society. They told me she had been left in a box on the side of a noisy highway. I can’t imagine a person who could look at her and put her in a box.
I was smitten from the moment I held her to me and gazed at her lovely white face with big brown eyes that looked back at me as if she knew me already. And knew that I would love and protect her always.
I was fortunate to work where Bonnie could (mostly) always be with me, my constant companion for fourteen years. We worked together at the office, at home she helped me garden by stealing my gloves, she bit an intruder to my server room once that resulted in her short unfortunate incarceration, had cancer on one of her beautiful paws, knew how to high five, all her life would turn on a dime at the toot-toot of my whistle as she learned at puppy school, was a jealous Frosty Paw connoisseur, and gave me violent dog sugar every night at bedtime as I repeated “she’s giving me her dog love” to egg her on.
The bond between dogs and humans is ancient and enduring. We evolved together, shaping one another. I don’t know if we survived as a species because of dogs (though it wouldn’t surprise me), but I know that I survived as an individual human because of my dogs, who taught me responsibility, patience, kindness, discipline, playfulness, and unconditional love.
Of course, and sadly, we live longer than they do, which is the ultimate heartbreak of every dog person. The loss is intensely painful and lonely and the emptiness nearly inconsolable for a while.
The kind vet who came out to our house to ease Bonnie’s way sent a card a few days later.
All creatures great and small, once loved, are never forgotten.
No, they’re not. And I won’t ever forget my Bonbon. Through her life, I would say to her, “What would I ever do without my Bonbon?” Now I know. I wake up every morning, one after another, better for having known Bonnie. I’d give anything to bury my face in the scruff of her neck once more, to smell her vanilla-bone scented breath.