Friday, January 2, 2009

Farewell My Sweet Girl

So 2008 is over. Thank goodness. While the year was filled with many good times, my first memory of it is always going to be as the year that I lost my Kelcie. I don't think I have the words to express how much I loved that dog. She was a good, good girl. Now that I have a new puppy on the horizon, I find myself thinking a lot about when she was a puppy and just exactly how good she was. Of course, she, like Belinda and I, had the benefit of being raised by the late, great Mildred, the world champion of raising living creatures, human or otherwise. Mildred just had a knack for making you good whether you wanted to be or not. Kelcie was very much Mom's dog, even after Mom died and she became mine. There was no question that Kelcie's ashes would be buried on Mom's grave, whether it was against cemetery rules or not.

I guess I kind of knew going into 2008 that this would probably be the year that I lost Kelcie. She'd gone downhill quickly when winter set in last year. I'm lucky I had her as long as I did. But no matter how prepared you think you are, when the actual final days were evident, it hit me like a freight train. I'll always remember the last time she laid that little head on my foot and slept. I didn't ever want to move from that spot. And her last day, I got down on the floor with her and pulled her close, praying it was all just a nightmare. That was a day-long prayer, even after I left the vet's office with just her collar in my hand. I still haven't gotten used to walking in the house and not having her at the door to welcome me home. I doubt I ever will.

I am mostly excited about bringing Miss Gracie home, but am nervous about it too. I haven't had to deal with a puppy for 13 years. And, as I said, Mom really was the one who did most of the training. But beyond the normal fears--will she bark too much, will she pee on the floor, will she chew my shoes or, even worse, my purses--I have a fear that I'm going into this expecting to get my Kelcie back, and I know that I won't. Am I going to be able to let go of Kelcie's memory enough to let Gracie be Gracie? Will I love her like I did Kelcie? Is it OK if I do? Am I overthinking this? I have a tendency to overthink what I'm going to have for lunch, so this is probably some serious, serious overthinking on my part.

My sweet Kelcie girl, I loved you more than you could ever know. And I miss you more than you could ever know. Gracie will never replace you in my heart. Nothing ever could. But please help her to be as good and sweet as you were. And please keep her away from my purses and shoes.