|In loving- memory of- Cinnamon ~|
A truly good dog- never really- leaves
|Barked: Fri Dec 30, '11 1:22pm PST |
|For dog lovers like us, every dogs life is important, every dog is special, and every dog has something amazing to offer to the humans within his life. But for dog owners, it can often be said that a true heart dog - that dog that leaves his or her paw prints on your heart for the rest of your days, the one that you will look for when you're fifty, seventy, a hundred years old despite knowing that he or she passed away twenty, thirty, or forty years ago - only comes around once in a lifetime. I consider myself lucky, because I found two heart dogs. Everywhere I went, they were at my side. Sandy would be on my left, Cinnamon would be at my right. Both of them were always within petting distance and life was perfect with each of them nearby.
Sandy and I have always had a tighter bond, of that I will admit. Sandy has always been something special. From the very first time I looked into her eyes and held her in my arms, I just knew she was my dog. She helped me through so much. She helped me through hard times, and still does. Cinnamon took some time. Cinnamon wasn't my dog in the beginning. No, she was the dog my mother had picked out. We were all attracted to her that day we went to look at the puppies. We were all drawn to her like a moth to a flame. But in the end, she was to be my mothers dog. I was so young back then, but so was she. I had no idea that one day, in the near future, she would become mine. I didn't know that we'd become inseparable. It took some time. It took years.
It was two or three years after we brought her home when she left her paw print on my heart. Until that point, she had been an outside dog. Not because my mother didn't love her, but because most of her life, all she knew was "outside" for big dogs. Around that time, I didn't have much to do. I was out of school and unemployed. I began spending more and more time with the dogs. And not just Sandy. Cinnamon and I grew closer and closer. There was always something about her. She was such a sweet, gentle creature. It was hard not to love her. As time passed, I began sneaking her inside. I'd leave her inside all day until my mother returned. The entire time, my mother knew. But she never said anything for or against it. I began taking care of Cinnamon. Brushing her, walking her, training her, feeding her. She quickly became my dog. And as a year passed by, I had successfully made an indoor dog out of her. She was inside with me at all times, and that's the way I liked it.
If one had asked me four, five years ago what breed of dog I felt was the perfect match for me, I would have foolishly said a small breed. I would have named the Yorkshire terrier, or the Chihuahua, or the Papillon. I love small breeds. There's something about them that I find irresistible. They have such small, cute features and they're so adorably loyal. However, through Sandy and Cinnamon, I learned something that I would have never guessed then. My heart belongs to the herders. My heart belongs to those intelligent, gentle, wise, playful, beautiful herders. I've tried to imagine my life without a Shetland sheepdog, or a Corgi, or an Australian shepherd and I simply cannot. Through Sandy, I fell in love with the herding group, and because of Cinnamon, that love was intensified. Now, I don't think I can accurately say Cinnamon was a 'perfect' dog. She had her faults. She liked to poke her nose in the litter box, she once counter surfed and snatched my brothers entire bologna sandwich, she was a puller on her walks until the day she died, and she would make me stand in the rain for thirty minutes while she tried to find the perfect place to poop. Maybe Cinnamon wasn't perfect by technical standards, but I don't think it would be inaccurate to say she was perfect to me.
I loved that dog. I still do. Losing her was one of the hardest things I've had to do so far. Even now, I remember how once upon a time, I had sat in the living room with her on my lap and Sandy on the arm of the chair beside me and I had fantasised about how one day, we'd have a home in the country - just her, Lilo, Sandy, Noble, and I and maybe a Border Collie or two. A nice fenced in yard. Where she could run and play, chasing Sandy for as long as she wanted and I would just sit nearby, watching in content. But she passed away much younger than I'd always imagined in my fantasies. I felt cheated. For months afterwards - and sometimes even still now - I felt as if it wasn't fair, as though she'd been taken away from me years too early. But I suppose that's a normal reaction to grief.
It's been almost a year. Next month, it will have been a year. It really doesn't feel like a whole 11 months have gone by since she slipped out of this world. It feels like just yesterday I was sitting on the couch with her favorite toy in my hand playing tug of war with her while she playfully growled and wagged her tail, hitting it on the coffee table behind her. It feels like just yesterday I was sitting beside her, hand on her cheek, while she slipped away in front of me and I was powerless to do anything about it. But next month, it will be a year. It still hurts, but life goes on. Even though I didn't feel like moving forward in the beginning and sometimes even still feel like giving up now, I know I have to go on. I have too many animals depending on me. Cinnamon taught me with her ever-silent wisdom that some things in life are just too important to ignore. So, I move forward because I know, deep down, that's what's best. I never forgot Cinnamon, I never will, but life does go on.
Christmas was hard without her. I found her stocking in my quest for stockings to use for the rodents and Sweeney. I thought it had been lost in the move, but apparently, I was wrong. I broke down into tears while I held it in my hand and on Christmas day, it looked so lonely, so empty. I suppose I'll hang it up next year, too. And maybe the year after that, as well. Some people might think it morbid, but I see it as a way to remember. And one year, maybe not next year, but one year I'll see it hanging up and I'll smile when I remember her. I know next month will be just as hard as Christmas. The firsts always are the hardest. The first Easter without her was hard, the first Fourth of July without her hiding under the table, the first thunderstorm that didn't involve her pacing the hallway and crying, the first Halloween where she wasn't dressed up in her devil costume, the first Thanksgiving where I wasn't sneaking her table scraps, the first Christmas where her stocking wasn't stuffed, and the first anniversary of her passing. But I know I'll get through the last first and I know I'll get through all the seconds, as well. For Cinnamon taught me so much, and what she taught me about life and death is something I'll hold onto for the rest of my days.
Merry Christmas, Cinnamon. I missed you this year.
Edited by author Fri Dec 30, '11 1:24pm PST
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