She wasn’t supposed to be with me.
I wasn’t ready for another dog in December of 2002. Still mourning the chow I’d loved for almost a decade and a half, my near-ex husband decided another dog was in order.
Giving in, I stressed, “when we separate, she’s your dog.”
Brandie was 4. Her October birthday the same day as mine.
When my ex and I parted ways, I couldn’t imagine letting Brandie go. She’d wagged that helicopter tail into my heart, yet I honoured the agreement.
“I said she’d be your dog.”
My ex laughed. “don’t be ridiculous, we both know she’s your dog.”
I was delighted.
This coyote, German shepherd, malamute was the sweetest, most loving, expressive, gentle creature I’ve ever had the honour to live with. Her company and constant love was the support I needed for life’s occasional unpleasantness. We travelled many interesting journeys together, always trusting we had each other.
It might have been 2004 at a meditation when I was instructed to visualize a relaxing scene in the woods. My scene was sitting on a log with Brandie beside me, my hand gently crush-caressing a teddy-bear soft ear. Following that meditation, I would regularly “send” Brandie that image mentally so she would somehow sense we would always be together. I’d always be by her side.
I’ve never known a dog like her. It’s likely I never will again. She was unique, filled with affection and had an air about her too complex to put into words. People threatened to steal her, saying, “wow, she’s such a cool dog!” And she was.
She slowed as she aged, went mostly deaf and partly blind, but remained in brilliant shape. It made me proud when people would gasp, “she’s how old?”
On Tuesday morning at 2 a.m., my beautiful companion stumbled and fell. Hearing her, I ran to her side to find her on her way to Heaven. A heart attack, or a stroke perhaps. She was nearly 15. I pet her in her favourite ways and sent her that image of us together in the woods until she was gone.
Now, heart broken, I know having dogs is like watching the Titanic and hoping for a different ending. I also know all this crushing pain is worth it. Brandie has made me a better person. I hope I am half the person she thought I was.
A writer since she first held a pen, Ronda Payne – aka: the Girl with a Pen, is passionate about words. In 2007, she kissed ‘real jobs’ goodbye and began her true career as a copywriter, non-fiction freelance writer (magazines and other periodicals) and creative writer.