Knitting by Blind Faith

I Remember…
Saturday, May 10, 2008, 1:15 am
Filed under: Life,Reflections,Special Moments,Treasures

Yellow lab holding a stuffed pumpkin in his mouth.

I remember how excited I was to meet you and wondering what you would be like. They told me that you were happy.

I remember when it was finally time, and how I waited for an eternity for my name to be called, for my turn to come.

I remember being asked if I was ready to meet you. I said “Yes,” and here you came, bounding into the room and slamming your muzzle, full force, into my lips. “Oh, boy! I’m not ready for this,” I thought.

I remember being struck dumb, but put on your leash (with some coaxing from the instructor), and walked you down the hall to my room.

I remember how you immediately jumped on my bed, and how it took the gentlest tug on the leash to get you to jump down again.

I remember how you smelled everything in the room. “You chew up anything, and we’re going to have a serious talk,” I threatened.

I remember how I called my mom and told her your name.

I remember how you whined and started to head for the door; you were so done with me.

I remember getting you to lie down, and we had the first of our many talks as I stroked your fur and tried to calm you. “You may not know this yet,” I said, “but you and I will be best friends for life.” You were like, “Yeah, whatever. Can I go back to the kennel now?”

I remember our first walk, how strange it felt not to have a cane in my right hand, and to have you pulling against my left hand, dragging me around this unfamiliar path. I remember thinking that this was all wrong, and I would never keep up.

I remember the first time you fell asleep under the computer desk, and I almost didn’t have the heart to wake you so we could go back upstairs. “Sleeping Handsome,” I sang, scratching behind your ear, “time to wake up.”

I remember the first time you fetched my keys. You actually picked up something of MINE, not just the training aids. You were so proud of yourself that you danced around and rolled on your back for your first belly rub. You had such a big smile on your face. That was also the first time I heard you laugh. You seemed to say, “See, I did it! Aren’t you proud of me?”

I remember our first walk when we got home. You peed on the sidewalk, and when we came back by that way, you made sure to take me around it.

I remember how you would always let me win at tugs, and yet, you would pull my dad out of his chair.

I remember the first time we got lost together. I told you to take me home. Although I hadn’t taught you that yet, you knew what I meant. I think this was the moment you started to learn to read my mind. (Either that, or you simply wanted dinner, and you knew where to get it.) We fought over which way to go, but I let you have your way. This was the first time I realized that, when we disagreed, you were generally right, and I was generally wrong.

I remember our first winter, how you were confused by the two-foot snowdrifts that blocked the curbs at the crosswalks, and how you (and I) learned the hard way that I didn’t have as much traction on the ice as you, and you needed to slow down.

I remember that summer job interview, where they told me you weren’t welcome. We left together, disgusted, and you promptly saved me from being hit by a car that ran the stop sign. “We’ll show them who’s not welcome!”

I remember how you wanted to walk around the procession at my college graduation, frustrated at moving so slowly and wondering why, with all this open space, we couldn’t just walk around this big crowd of people and get moving, already.

I remember on your fourth birthday, how my 6-year-old sister made you a birthday banner that she put around your waist. When I came out of the shower, you were standing stock still, and Mom warned me to stay very, very calm because my sister was lying under you like a car mechanic with scissors in her hand. “I forgot to make a hole for his pee-er,” she explained. You came through the whole thing just fine; I was a basket case.

I remember moving 1,100 miles away with you to take my first job, how you always looked after me.

Head shot of yellow lab in harness.

I remember how gentle you were around the cat who was afraid of you, how you walked completely around the room before following me down the hallway in order to avoid walking close to him.

I remember how you befriended Independence as a kitten. You were never angry or jealous, and you took all her antics in stride, even when she pounced on your head while you were walking around the house.

I remember how you wanted to go over and say hi to RAM. We hadn’t seen him in nearly a year, and you were so excited. It was because of your insistance that RAM and I started talking…and dating.

I remember you dressed in a custom fit tux for our wedding, how you escorted me down the aisle, then sat on my train and leaned against my legs through the whole ceremony. Nothing I could do could get you to move. I would nudge you with my high heel, and you would stand up and sit down even closer to the back of my legs! And there was so much tension on the back of the dress that I was afraid it would rip.

Yellow lab wearing tuxedo.

I remember how we almost flew home early from our honeymoon because you wouldn’t park on the cruise ship. You had far too much dignity to relieve “inside” in a box.

I remember how you would run laps around the pool when I went swimming, whimpering and pleading with me to get out of the pool, for goodness sake!

I remember how you loved the beach, but you wouldn’t wade in the ocean past where you could stand.

I remember when RAM, you, and I went boating with Grandma and Grandpa L., and you wouldn’t swim in the water.

I remember how you were always the first to greet Grandma and Grandpa B. and Grandma and Grandpa M. when they would come to visit.

I remember when we would come home from the pool and peek in through the patio door to find you lying on the couch, and how you would rush toward the front door as we opened it, all innocence.

I remember how you were the resident host and entertainer at the radio station during the hurricanes.

Yellow lab wearing headphones.

I remember how you were by my side during the recording of two radio dramas, and how you even had a part in one of them.

In all my memories, I remember how you took care of me, how even when you were sick in those last days, you wanted to be by my side, doing your job.

I remember how you struggled to get into the bus that day, and I had to help you climb the steps. My heart broke as you hung your head in despair.

And I remember how, on the following day, that last day, you climbed up those bus steps all on your own. You were so proud that you looked down at me and wagged your whole body.

I remember the shock of what came next. We thought you were getting better…

I remember that before the vet and RAM took you from the car, you asked for belly rubs, reminiscent of that long ago day when you first fetched my keys: “See, Mom, I did it. Aren’t you proud of me?” “I am so proud of you!” I said through my tears.

I remember that at this exact moment, one year ago……I told you it was okay to go home; I would be okay……and it was over……even though your head still smelled like baby powder and you looked like you were just sleeping……

I remember how it felt when you took a part of me with you, but knowing that you had left me with the gift of remembering.

I think of you with fondness and love. I remember how your head always smelled like baby powder and your feet like popcorn. I remember how nice it was to pet those big, soft ears, and how we often cuddled for our famous talks. I remember how you always wagged your tail in circles when you were really happy, and how you demanded my complete attention for at least ten minutes after I came home on those rare occasions when you weren’t with me. I remember how you wouldn’t chew on your bone unless I held it for you, and how you didn’t really see the point in chasing after balls, only to have them thrown again. I remember how you played so carefully with stuffed toys that, in the rare event they got holes in them, you never lost any of the stuffing.

I remember how hard it was for us to trust in each other, and the loyalty that was our reward for never giving up.

And I remember all that you taught me: that dogs laugh; that nuzzles bring joy and that belly rubs chase away sorrow. You taught me what it means to be free.

Yes, you were the first, and your legacy lives on.

In all my thoughts, in all I do, I remember you.

5 Comments so far
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A very fitting tribute to a best friend we will never forget.

Comment by RAM

That was beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes.

Comment by Kim

Beautiful! What a dear friend! I love the wedding story!

Comment by leah

[...] Knitting by Blind Faith « I Remember… [...]

Pingback by Swimming Lessons « Knitting by Blind Faith

Moving words picturing memories of a never to-be-forgotten friend and loved family member.

Comment by Chosen

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