Once upon a time a girl fell in love with a dog. She saw that dog in a book called The Big Book of Dogs. She never saw that dog again, the one with the daisy in her ear and the ever-so-gentle head cocked to one side.
Until that day.
The moment our eyes locked amidst the barking and chaos, we were hooked. Her eyes fixated on ours while all the other dogs barked or paced, trembled and pleaded to be released from their cages. Our girl said, “It’s about time you got here, you’ve been waiting for me all your life.”
Maybe you know this look, the gaze that refuses to let go the first time your eyes lock. Miss Independent simply sat there, annoyed to have been in a cage at all, tiny squeak toy and pellets of dog food strewn about, soiled newspaper beneath (clearly not an environment to which she wished to become accustomed). It is said that when you find “the one,” your true love in this life, it’s as if time stands still. You are not just in the moment, you are the moment. This was ours. She was that dog in The Big Book of Dogs.
In her time on Earth, she went on every vacation with us and shared her love and zest for life every step of the way. From the beaches of Maine and Cape Cod to the Grand Ole Opry in Tennessee, the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, and even the battlefields of Gettysburg— a photo album of her life shows that warm cocker smile and eternal puppy gaze that endeared her to us and those she encountered. For the memories etched in our hearts, we are forever grateful.
How we shall remember her always is in a photograph from 2001, in the prime of her life. Our baby girl was selected as the national winner of the Mighty Dog calendar contest and graced their calendar cover, won $2,500, and we donated a year’s supply of food to a local animal shelter. Magazines, newspapers, and television media treated her like a celebrity.. All our little girl knew was that she chased a stick and that mommy took a picture of that moment. Forever mighty, that’s how she will remain until we meet again.
Her illness came sudden, which might just be a blessing. I won’t go into great detail about the final moments except that we were there, it was peaceful, she went from little snores of cocker life, to the ceasing of breathing and the passing of her sick weak body, as her spirit moved on. We had her individually cremated, and her ashes are here in an urn with us.
She is definitely in heaven, the heaven that is a mere breath away, and she has come to us in our dreams, in the stars, and has given us very unique signs that she is amongst us. But the day to day living and not having her here, the routines we shared, the love and bond of physical closeness— those we miss the most.
We truly believe Brandy would want us to be happy in our time on Earth, as she always embraced every day. Our home will always have the pitter patter of Cocker feet in it, and our hearts will always be guaranteed the bittersweet knowledge that God gives us these furry angels for only a short time.
I was one of those people, by the way, who said “never again. I cannot get this close to an animal like this.” He sits at my feet daily and his name is Dexter, by the way. My never again. Thankfully I think with my heart and then ask my brain to double check my work. I could never not love this way again.
Too slow for those who wait,
Too swift for those who fear,
Too long for those who grieve,
Too short for those who rejoice.
But for those who love,
Time is not.”
~Henry Van Dyke~