That gorgeous dog

That gorgeous dog

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.


Ronda Payne

A writer since she first held a pen, Ronda Payne – aka: the Girl with a Pen, is passionate about words. In 2007, she kissed β€˜real jobs’ goodbye and began her true career as a copywriter, non-fiction freelance writer (magazines and other periodicals) and creative writer.


  1. Inga on June 28, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Ronda, this was beautiful to read today. I know you from FB where we talk about our Taiwan-rescued dogs. My first dog was like your Brandi, She was a giant black German Shepherd my husband and I rescued and she was the finest companion ever. Her ashes are in a box in the book case next to the dog books with her picture beside them. I still miss her and her quirky sense of humor every day. I’ve written a lot of blog posts about her but I never wrote one about her passing, I admire you for being able to do so, and so soon. ((hugs)) to you and your other pup, Inga

    • Ronda Payne Ronda on June 28, 2013 at 5:26 pm

      Inga, thank you so much! You gave me a massive smile this morning! πŸ™‚

    • Ronda Payne Ronda on June 28, 2013 at 9:08 pm

      Thank you Carole! You’re right – there is never another like them. Thank you for sharing Ebby with me – that helps so much!

  2. Carol J. Garvin on June 28, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    Our dogs have always been beloved family members, even though we’ve had more than I can count without getting out paper and pen to calculate! It’s been over three years since the death of the most special of them and she wasn’t even living here at that time. (“Ebby” was our daughter’s dog, a Labrador, and when she married she took Ebby with her.) When her days were up, even though it happened miles away, it was such a terrible heartache. (

    I’m so sorry about your loss of Brandie. Be consoled that you were able to share so many years of your life and love with her. From experience I can say there will never be another quite like her, but others will leave different imprints on your heart.

  3. Mum & Dad on June 29, 2013 at 4:53 am

    You always had a love for animals. I have always admired you for your passion to comfort and love them. Your dedication to their well being and ability to love them and receive their love back is wonderful. Brandi was an extraordinary
    animal and will be missed by us all. Your ability to put all of this in words at this time proves again You are: ” The Girl with a Pen”
    Love, Daddy

    • Ronda Payne Ronda on June 29, 2013 at 5:00 am

      You see – this is where I get this great compassion from and my gifts from – awesome parents who gave me the ability to love and be loved! πŸ™‚

      • eleanor dagenais on June 29, 2013 at 7:54 pm

        fHi Sunshine,
        Just read your story about Brandie, and started to cry. Never easy loosing a pet, and one who was as special as Brandie. Thanks for that wonderful story.
        Love – Aunt Ellie

        • Ronda Payne Ronda on June 29, 2013 at 8:10 pm

          Thank you!!! πŸ™‚ I’m so glad you got the link! πŸ™‚

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