Did you hear a distant wailing last weekend? It may have been the sound of hearts breaking at our house as my husband, Les, and I whispered our final words to the sweetest dog God ever made.
And how does one say those words, exactly? It’s so hard to narrow down all the emotions, all the support, all the love, into words that a dog will understand. Or maybe it’s all easier for the dog than it is for us, I just don’t know.
When Nilla was adopted into this family nearly 15 years ago, at the urging of Les’s then-adolescent daughter, she was meant to be “Sydney’s dog.” But this one had the sweetest heart and most engaging personality, and so she became everyone’s dog. And when I say everyone, I mean all the people in this family, plus all the neighbors and all our friends. Her trainer loved her, and so did the pet sitter, the vet and the groomer. Other guests (and dogs) at the downtown brewpub where she was a “regular,” perfect strangers who asked to speak to her when she led the parade of dogs at the ballpark on “Bark in the Park” nights or the streetside crowd at the Pride Parade— they loved her too. All of her daddy’s Facebook friends, even electricians and plumbers who came to the house.
Everyone loved Nilla.
For the past couple of years, Les and I have dreaded and delayed the pain that enveloped our home last Friday, and we had done all in our power to protect our sweet girl and make her as comfortable as possible through her unfortunate diagnosis of Cushing’s disease. On Friday, however, Nilla made it clear that she was ready to make her journey to the Rainbow Bridge, and she was not afraid.
We had been talking with her recently about the Rainbow Bridge, and she knew that her best furry friend, Zoe, was already waiting for her there. She knew there are no thunderstorms at the Rainbow Bridge, and no fireworks, but plenty of snowy days and lots of sunshine, free belly rubs and treats. Oh, and all the dogs get to run off-leash. All the time!
She was good with all of that. Just 12 days before she left us, she had a joyful reunion with Les’s kids— Sydney came from Asheville, N.C. and Alex was here from Budapest. It was the most wonderful day, and she was surrounded by her entire pack (well, except for Zoe, who I’m certain was here in spirit).
It’s crazy quiet here today. We are adjusting and learning to move forward in this space without our girl’s enormous personality. I have not had it in me to be creative in the kitchen, but have focused my energy instead on this video tribute to Nilla. She had but one consolation in times of trouble, stress and thunderstorms, and that was the music of Melody Gardot. There could have been no other song than this one to honor the memory of our beautiful dog.
This video is best viewed on a smartphone or tablet in portrait mode. Press play. 💕
21 thoughts on “Over the Rainbow Bridge”