This is a photo of a brindle boxer looking off into the distance.

The cold set in so quickly.

That one thought rose to the surface of my mind through the tangle of grief and anger and despair as I re-lived the past 48 hours.  How Dr. Dan had told me about the mass in Piper’s abdomen.  How he told me that she was bleeding internally and she may have days or weeks left.  Sitting with her as she devoured a big meal of steak, the first meal she had finished in days.  Then that last day as she lay on her trampoline, barely raising her head when her Auntie Liz and Uncle Dave came to say goodbye.  As I lay with her on the floor both hoping and dreading that she would pass before it was time for her last ride to the vet.  She rested her head on my arm as I held her and told her everything I wanted her to know:

You were loved.  You were always loved.  You were loved by everyone that ever met you.  I was just the first when I met you as a seven-week old pup and you kept coming back to sit next to me as your litter mates played.  You showed no hesitation to snuggle up to everyone you met and were so far from the guard dog I thought I wanted it always made me laugh.

You were my best friend.  You were never my “fur-baby” but a partner.  You were with me and gave me strength when I ended a relationship that had lasted almost literally half my life.  You were always up for any adventure, whether it was backcountry camping in Algonquin Provincial Park or driving across country.

You left no doubt that you loved to travel and would stand at the door of the car, waiting for me to let you in before you took your seat, ready to bound out when we reached our destination.  Even on that last day, you barely wanted to walk until you saw the car door open and waiting for you.

I am so sorry that you ever felt any pain.  I tried to protect you and keep you safe but that was something I could not keep away.

As much as losing you hurts me, I’m glad that you will never feel the loss and pain that I do.  You left this world with your brothers.  One of your favourite vets tended to you and even though you were so weak, you still found the strength to stand and snuggle him with your little stump wagging.

I tried my best to give you the best life that I could.

I sat with you as you took your last breath, suddenly aware that this was the last time I would see you.  I rolled your ear between my fingers as I had so many times over the years whether we were watching the sun set over the ocean or rise over the mountains and that thought welled up: the cold set in so quickly.

We had a good run pup.  I showed you the world.  And when we meet again, you’ll be healthy, the whole pack will be together, and we’ll have eternity together.  Then little one, oh the adventures we will have.

I miss you Boog.

Piper: February 13, 2010 – November 3, 2018

Looking out over the valley in Shenandoah.
So all the food is gone?
Piper knows how to get the hard to reach spots.
A quick game of tug at a rest stop in Minnesota.
Wahoo snow!
I looked beside me and saw Piper’s foot.
What you can’t see is that they jumped over the bowls of water I put out for them to drink the rain water.
Piper’s all smiles.
Piper scoping the land.
Piper deep in thought.
Is it just me or is she smiling? (Georgian Bay National Park)
Play with me!
Such a lady.

Little Miss Snuggles (Cape Breton Highlands National Park)
This picture makes me happy. (Red Point Provincial Park, Prince Edward Island)