Dear Piper…

It has taken me four weeks to write this post.  I’m still not sure I’m going to get through it, but we shall see.

Four weeks ago yesterday, as we lay on the bed together, you reached your head out and licked my nose.  Nothing prompted it; it was a spontaneous act of affection on your part.

Four weeks ago yesterday, a few hours after that slurp, we made the hardest decision ever.  We knew it was time.  You were so tired, and you couldn’t really move much on your own.  We had tried a wheelie cart, and that bought you a few more trips to the park, but your body was giving out.

Four weeks ago this morning, you heard me ask Daddy if he had spoken to the vet yet.  Within an hour, you had taken matters into your own paws (no way were you going to the vet!) and passed away in our arms on the bathroom floor.

We loved you, and you loved us, for nearly fifteen years.  That love lives on, and I am certain we will see each other again someday.  In the meantime, I know that you are running and chasing tennis balls beyond the Rainbow Bridge.  Your eyes are laughing, and your tongue is full of sand.

We adopted you from a rescue almost fifteen years ago.  We have decided that there is a certain dog in Texas who needs a family just like ours, and — as you know — I am the kind of person who needs a dog.  She will never replace you — no one ever could — but she will help me stop being so sad.  Because I don’t know how to stop being sad without a dog to lick my nose and tell me she loves me and everything will be okay.

If I could bring you back, I would.  But since I can’t, Gracie will come and help me heal.  She needs a forever home, and I think you would approve of us helping another dog have the very best life we can give her.  (Don’t worry; she won’t be allowed to play with Tug Toy.  I promise.)

Four weeks today.  And I still can’t stop crying.  But I will.  Eventually.

Run, sweet girl.  Tear down the beach on those speckled legs powered by joy.  Catch the ball on one bounce.  And remember how much we loved you and always will.

Life Update

I’m Karen J. McLean, and here is your Karen’s Life Update for the morning of Thursday, March 24, 2022:

I heard the birds greet the dawn this morning, the first time this year. I am usually at my desk at dawn, and today was the first time they sang and I heard them. Spring is here, regardless of the weather forecast.

Trying out a new morning routine here, Chez McLean. Doug left Piper in the kitchen when he left for work. As she continues to age, it has become pretty much impossible for me to be at all productive with a geriatric border collie trying to boss me around because she’s bored.

I love her to bits, and I also have things to do — like online meetings and writing and stuff that requires what little concentration I can muster.

My plan is to spend quality one-on-one time with her when I go collect her after lunch. So if this works, it will be beneficial to both of us.


Currently Listening To: Duran Duran’s “Rio” on Apple Music’s ’80s Dance Party Essentials Playlist

Currently Reading: Sarah Polley’s Run Towards the Danger.

Current Hat: Brown Walden Pond ballcap featuring Thoreau’s sketch of a scarlet oak leaf.

Current Writing Project: A short memoir piece about the summer of 1989, to be submitted to my local critique group and then on as part of my application for a Canada Council grant.


Day 24 of the March SOLSC 2022

This post was created as part of Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Challenge

You can view other writers’ contributions via the comments here.