Some dogs come into our lives and they never leave. By lodging a residence in our hearts, minds, memories and souls, a piece of them continues to live in the environment around us, in us and through us. These dogs oftentimes have a spirit that exudes vibrance and that paints the very fabric of life with their color.
Such is the case of my Jitter. A year ago today, I lost my friend, my partner, my K-9. It happened years too soon, and not a single day has gone by since that I haven’t thought of her. From the frisbee field to the training ground to home life, she was my constant companion. Lord knows she had to be; I couldn’t leave her with anyone else!
She was far too intense, far too passionate, far too capable, far too MINE, in absolutely everything she did, whether it was loving, detection work, obedience, frisbee, sleeping, or handler protection, for anyone else to handle. From the instant I met that dog in a tiny, Eastern Kentucky town on a rescue transport, I knew she was something special. I picked her up, already glowing, and loaded her into a crate. We trekked the 3 hours back to Louisville, listening to Harry Potter on audiobook all the way.
She slept. Jitter actually slept. For the entire trip. From that day forward, Harry Potter, read aloud, would calm that dog down and more often than not, she’d sleep. Upon arriving in Louisville, I took her out of the crate.
She didn’t jump. She didn’t run around. She didn’t start bouncing. She sat down, and she looked at me. She cocked her head, offered me a paw, and just stared. I took her paw, shook it, and from that moment on, we were inseparable.
Until that day. That awful, horrible, heart-stealing day a year ago.
I question myself daily, oftentimes multiple times a day. Was there anything I could have done differently? Could I have saved her, somehow, some way?
Deep, deep, deep down, I know the answer to be “no.” That tiny nugget of truth is buried under layers of grief and pain that more often than not, I don’t care to admit exist.
My partner is gone. She was the best cell phone detection dog this side of the Rocky Mountains, an insane disc dog, a K-9 rappelling mastermind, a handler protector like no other, the most amazing snuggler on Earth, and more than anything else, my friend . . . . and she’s gone.
When she left, she sucked all the color out of my life. Her flashbang personality had somehow melded itself to mine, and where I once saw vibrant greens, blues, browns and gorgeous, gorgeous smoke brindle in the picture attached, now, I only see gray.
If you’re reading this, do me a favor. If your dog is close, reach down, rub her head, and tell her you love her. Life is so fleeting, and accidents happen. Love your dog at every opportunity you have because some day, she won’t be there to love and when she goes, she’ll most definitely take a piece of you with her.