THREE DAYS ago my friend Em died. She got the most out of each day, never complained and always had a smile on her face. She was also a trusted neighbor who ran around looking for a good time, a pat on the head and, with any luck, a tasty treat.
Everywhere she went she took a tennis ball with her, which she dropped at your feet and waited for you to throw. She’d chase it in a frenzy of excitement, then bring it back for you to throw it again. She wasn’t crazy, she was a dog. A black Labrador to be exact. At the age of twelve and a half she simply gave out, following a long walk in the woods and a swim in a lake with her owner and best friend.
Em was buried next to our neighborhood pond. Nearby were other graves of neighborhood dogs who had cheered us with their antics and boundless energy, and then gone. Em’s funeral was attended by about 30 mourners. All members of the dead pets society, we shared stories of some of the other dogs we had loved and painfully lost.
It’s been raining hard today and I’m sad to think that Em is out there, deep under the grass and dirt getting pounded by the elements and not snuggling inside in her cozy bed. But that’s what happens to all of them when we live long enough to love them and then let them go.
Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid.