To My Favorite Humans,
I don’t always know how to put dog thoughts and feelings into people words, but I know that goodbye is a sad word. I didn’t want to go without saying thank you and I love you. I’m sorry I had to go away. I didn’t want to. I stayed as long as I could. I almost made it to my 16th birthday. I’m glad I could stay so long, longer than most dogs get to. I made it to me and Carmella’s 14th anniversary date. I would have kept trying. I loved being me and living the life of Maggie. I would have kept right on being me the way everyone was used to if I could have, I promise.
What dog wouldn’t want to stick around with a life like mine? I loved my job! Sitting around at home was boring. I liked people and places and getting to do stuff most dogs don’t get to do. I loved being Carmella’s special helper. I knew she needed me. We were a great team for 14 years. I had friends everywhere, got to do things regular dogs can’t, was never alone, and had all sorts of creature comforts. It was great! I had so much fun, an important job to do, and always knew I was loved and safe. Please know that my life had enough good things and special moments for a million lifetimes! Every dog should have the life I had. As you humans say, I was blessed. Carmella says I was God’s greatest gift to her and a blessing to so many other people, too. I’m glad. I wanted to make the world a happier place and to give people a reason to smile and to help them feel special.
I was trying so hard. Its just that I was getting tired and it was getting harder to get around and sometimes things would get jumbled up in my brain and I would get upset. It was so hot and it was getting harder for me to breathe and my legs didn’t work very good anymore. I was taking so much medicine and it would make me fall over more and I would wake up and be confused about where I was or where I needed to go. Carmella said it wasn’t right for me to be like that. I knew she was trying to decide something important and I saw her crying a few times. She tried not to cry in front of me too much but I knew she was sad anyway. I don’t like it when she is sad.
I spent my last days on earth with Carmella and my family at Nana and Grandpa’s house. We didn’t have to go anywhere and I just got to rest and enjoy being with Carmella. Nana and Grandpa helped her take care of me and Aunt Crystal and my favorite little girl, Kristy, came to see me, too. Carmella told me how much everyone loved me and told me when our friends called or emailed to check on me. I hear I was talked about a lot on FaceBook. I always did love attention and everyone said such nice things. Thanks for caring so much about me and Carmella. Thanks for praying for us.
Carmella didn’t want to make me stay until I couldn’t do any of the things I loved anymore. Up until my soul and my body parted ways, I was still eating, going outside, and drinking lots of water. I wanted lots of petting and liked being talked to and I wanted Carmella very close to me all the time. I had been having trouble sleeping at night, but during the last week, special medicine helped me sleep much better. Carmella let me have lots of foods I didn’t get to have before, like blueberry muffins, Cheerios, goldfish crackers, pizza crust, bites of grilled cheese sandwhiches, chicken nuggets, French fries, vanilla cookies, … And she gave me all my medicine in little balls of peanut butter cookie dough. She thinks I didn’t know the pills were in there, but I did. By the last week, I was taking lots of pills and I got several of them three times a day so I got lots of cookie dough. Grandpa even made me some scrambled eggs! That’s one thing that’s not so fun about being a guide dog. You aren’t supposed to eat people food. Now that I’ve had it, I must say, it sure is good! Some of the medicine made me sleepy so I spent a lot of time the last few days just sleeping on soft places in front of nice fans and air conditioning. I still went on walks with Nana or Grandpa when I felt up to it and we went for boat rides almost every day. Those helped me settle down and relax. There were people willing to take me outside at any hour of the day or night, which was good because I drank TONS of water that last week. But I knew I wasn’t supposed to do that in the house and I didn’t, not even when the medicine made me dizzy so it was hard for me to walk to the door to go out.
Taking care of Carmella and being here with her was so important to me. That was my job and she was my most special person. She wanted me to be able to rest and not push myself because I felt responsible for helping her. I wasn’t going to give up, but I knew I could trust Carmella to take care of me and to be fair and she didn’t let me down. She said that’s how it needed to be because I always took care of her and helped her get around safely and be independent. She told me I was so good and smart and special and beautiful and that I didn’t have to keep going when it got so hard. My heart was so full of love and life but my body was getting so weak and my brain started getting so confused. My soul just couldn’t stay in there anymore. Carmella knew that and promised to help me.
Dr. Tim came to us so I didn’t have to go into a scary vet’s office. I had fallen asleep a few minutes before he got here so I was resting and comfortable and peaceful. Carmella, Nana, and Grandpa were with me. They wrapped me in the blanket I’d been sleeping on. My body is near Nana and Grandpa’s house, next to where her first guide dog Poppy is. The Saint Francis statue Carmella gave Nana for Mother’s Day is sitting nearby. He was the patron saint of animals and took care of and protected God’s furry creatures. He’ll watch over us. Nana is going to plant some pretty flowers for me, too.
My new home is really awesome. I don’t know what this place is exactly, but I’m frisky and strong like a puppy and have been since I got here. I don’t have to take medicine anymore. My legs don’t hurt or get weak or stiff. I don’t have allergies anymore so I don’t itch, no matter how long I stay outside. I don’t have to eat any special yucky food now. No vet or anybody else will ever stick anything up my rear end again! Ever!
I haven’t been able to scratch my back in the grass in a long time. I used to love doing that and now I can roll around on the ground as much as I want to. Then, I can just jump right up and run as far and as fast as I want to. I don’t ever get tired. Its so fun! I can flip right over and sleep on my back if I want. I haven’t been able to do that in years! I can bark all I want just to hear myself and no one fusses at me for it. That’s so fun. I can eat a hundred dog bones, cookies, and treats a day and never get sick. And the treats here are SO good! There are soft blankets and beds for me to sleep on wherever I want that have fans blowing on them for when I want to relax.
I have lots of woods and grass here and get to play and sniff all I want to. Sometimes, I just lay down and enjoy the sunshine. There are birds and squirrels and bunnies, but I don’t chase them. I just watch them. I have a beach to play on where I can run in and out of the waves and dig in the sand. I have dog friends, too. Carmella’s first guide dog who became Nana’s dog Poppy is here and other dog friends I’d heard about when I was with you are here. We play together and share happy memories of our special people and fun things we did before we came here. We all have great stories!
Carmella trusted me and I trusted her and we took care of each other. That’s how its supposed to be and no dog and person were ever closer than us. I could tell you all kinds of things about Carmella because I was with her all day every day for so long, but those stories go with me. Its that trust thing again. My second job was as a counseling dog so I know all about confidentiality. Speaking of sharing stories, please talk about your happy memories of me with Carmella. Remind her of the special times and of how much I loved her and how I want her to be happy again. She’s going to be saddest of all and I hated leaving her the most. We spent almost every moment of our lives together. The bond we had wasn’t like anything else in the world. I’m glad I could help her when she needed me. That made me very proud. I know our family and friends will look out for her for me and that, one day, there will be another special dog to help her. I’m glad about that because I know that won’t make me any less special to her. I have a place in her heart that no other dog will ever have.
Carmella loved me most of all, and she was my most special human. But I’m also glad she let me love and be loved by so many other friends and family, too, when I wasn’t wearing my special work harness and helping her. I’m glad she was willing to share me with the world. I had so much extra love in my heart and I wanted to be like sunshine so people would feel warm and happy. I’m so glad to have been your friend. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for giving me treats, petting me, talking to me, and for being part of my wonderful life. I’m sorry you have to feel sad right now, but I hope after a little while you’ll feel more happiness than sadness when you think about me. Remember my wagging tail, my tilted head, and my smile. Remember my big eyes and my funny nose and the happy jingly noise my collar made. Remember I had a big mouth and liked to bark. Who could forget that? Remember how curious I was and how I liked walks outside, going for rides, and treats! I loved treats of any kind and got them from so many people. In the car… at work… where we lived… at Nana’s. Remember how much I loved being around people. I just thought everyone wanted to be my friend. Why wouldn’t they? I had a great personality and was very cute, if I do say so myself.
I know God will take care of Carmela and everyone else who feels sad about me. Thank you for being a part of what made my life such a good one. Live like I did. Remember to trust and don’t worry. Keep your heart open because life is full of fun surprises. Enjoy the sunshine and special treats and feel love in your heart. Make friends. Do your special job. Go places. Take naps. Do things that are fun and that make you laugh. Do something nice for a nice dog the way you would have for me. And don’t be scared of cats. They’re not really scary like I thought. The world isn’t scary. Its an interesting place full of adventures and nice people. It always was for me.
I know I won’t be forgotten. There will never be another me! I was happy with you. I’m happy now. Be happy and smile when you remember me. I will always be with you in your heart and you will be with me in my heart, too. Carmella takes up most of it, but there was always room for other people and still is. Maybe I’ll get to see you again some time. Love and peace be with you every day.
Your special friend forever
July 15 1997 – July 11, 2013