Hi Peanut. My little Sunshine Sprout. It’s me, Puppy Mom. I’ve missed you so much. After hearing so often from others that it might help if I wrote a letter to you, I decided that it’s finally time. I’m sorry that it’s taken me so long.
Five years. Could that be true? Five years since I last held you in my arms in the warm sunshine? The last time I felt the soft bunny fur behind your ears and that bump on the top of your head that I loved so much because I had petted it and kissed that place on your big beautiful bulldog noggin about a million times? Five years since you last greeted me with a full body wiggle that would soon turn into you rolling on your back so I could kiss your belly and give you a big hug. You always looked like you were laughing when you did that. I never got tired of that routine. OUR special routine each time I came in the door. No matter how bad a day it had been, I could always count on you to make me smile. Thank you for that.
I still remember picking you up after your spirit had gone and handing you to Dr. Reiman for the last time. I can still feel the weight of your body in my arms. I still look at that place by the tree where you took your last breath outside the animal hospital whenever we drive by. And I know that we made the right decision that day. When you could no longer breathe well and you could barely stand on your own…when the girl who never even let a crumb hit the ground if she could fly across the room fast enough to gobble it up no longer wanted to eat…I could see your pain and how tired you were of fighting. My love for you was suddenly stronger than my fear of losing you. I felt so much guilt for so long for feeling that way, but now I know that it was the definition of true love. I just couldn’t let you suffer like that for another minute. You deserved to be free of that pain. But you also deserved a much longer life. I’m sorry that we couldn’t give that to you. We tried. Please know that we tried.
Do you remember that first day when we met you? You were living with that wonderful lady Jeanne and your mom Bristol and dad Bubbaduke and your sweet Aunt Gaby. Your Puppy Dad and I couldn’t believe how cute baby bulldog puppies were when we first saw you. Still the cutest thing I have ever seen in my life. I had my mind set on a puppy that we had seen in the photos we were sent, but your dad told me to keep my mind open. I agreed to try. It turns out, he was right to tell me that. My technique for choosing our new family member was to pick up each little girl (which is harder to identify than one might think with 4 week old puppies) and to look them in the eye and see what we thought of each other. And then I picked you up. I will never forget that moment if I live to be 100. The best moment of my entire life. It’s when my whole world came into focus – a perfect moment of clarity when I knew that this was always meant to be. You had always been mine and my heart had been waiting for you. There was never a doubt in my mind that you were my Georgia, and I’ve never had one since. It was love at first sight and you made our lives whole.
And what a good girl you were. Mind you, you weren’t perfect, but you were pretty close. Do you remember all of those nights when we lived in Las Vegas that the three of us would go to the park at night and lay out the big blanket and then play soccer together? You loved chasing that soccer ball until your little toes were freezing cold and we were all exhausted. I didn’t know what it was like to laugh so hard and to feel such joy before then. Those were the best days of my life. We had so much fun, and loved to show you off to everyone that we met at the park. Remember your friend Azi the Boxer that we used to meet? And Bo the Pomeranian that lived in our complex? You always found friends wherever you were, because you were such a sweet girl and were just so full of life. There was nothing that we wouldn’t have done for you. Nothing. You taught us the meaning of love and devotion and commitment. It was never work to care for you and to give you everything you needed and more. I laugh now to think that we actually fooled ourselves into thinking that we knew what we were doing though. Ha! I’m sorry now for all the mistakes we made. For all that we didn’t know then. I’m sorry you were our guinea pig for parenting. But you were such a patient teacher. We learned so much from you each day.
Do you remember when we moved cross country? We packed up all of our worldly possessions and the three of us piled in the car to drive back to Wisconsin. You never even seemed to mind. Your trust in us was so complete, so unquestioning, that you didn’t care where we were or what we were doing. As long as we were together, you knew that everything would be okay, and made us believe that too. It was an adventure. We were three peas in a pod. I still smile when I think of those days. I think I actually believed that it would last forever.
And then you got sick. Why did you have to get sick? Was it something I did wrong? I worry that it was. I didn’t know everything that I know now about food and supplements and pesticides and vaccines and all of those other things that I’m so diligent about with your brother Sampson. I was so naïve. Did getting your brother make you sick? I know that he stressed you out when he was a baby. He wasn’t an easy puppy and we were all so used to it just being the three of us. I know we didn’t handle that transition well for you two. I’m sorry for that. We should have done better for both of you. Could I have stopped you from getting lymphoma? Could I have done more while you were sick to make the cancer go away? Should we have tried something else? Something more to save you? Why wasn’t our love enough to keep you with us? Why couldn’t sheer willpower and determination keep your cancer in remission for longer? Why weren’t we as lucky as others have been? You deserved to be saved.
But even in your illness, you taught me so much. I was crushed by your diagnosis and almost paralyzed by fear at the thought of losing you. But we had to fight. You deserved a chance to beat this monster. So for you, I kept moving. For you, I found strength I didn’t know I had. For you, I was willing to give or do anything. You taught me about courage, and hope, and helped me to begin living in the present moment instead of always worrying about the future. And thank God for the people I met because of you! My wonderful friends at the Pet Cancer Support forum who helped me each day of your journey. I had such a deep distrust of people before then. I didn’t think you could count on anyone to be there when you needed them. But if I’d had to face your cancer alone I would have broken into a million pieces. You gave me the courage to reach out and ask for help. And I was so surprised to find out that there were so many people who cared. People who cheered our every triumph and shed tears for every setback. Once again, you opened up a whole new world for me and helped me to see that even in the darkest moments of life, there are blessings, and glimpses of true grace.
And yet, here I sit at my computer, five years later. Without you. But each day you are still in my heart. I have tried my best to live up to what you saw in me – whatever it was that made you trust me and love me so. I never knew why I deserved such a perfect and unselfish love, but I am so blessed to have experienced that. And to know that your love will always be mine. I know now that I will spend each day of the rest of my life honoring you, and your brother, and all of the wonderful dogs that I have met over the years. What wonderful beings you are. What angels here on earth! I think that’s what that moment was when I first looked into your big brown eyes. It was the brush of an angel’s wing – the moment when I was firmly placed on my path in life. Thank you for that. Thank you for finding me. Thank you for letting me be your mom and for loving me despite my imperfections. Thank you for giving me a glimpse of heaven and the true meaning of life. Thank you for being my little girl. My Georgia.
I hope you are happy where you are now Sweet Pea. I like to imagine you running around just as you did as a puppy when we played at the park with the soccer ball – flying at speeds that aren’t natural for a little bulldog girl and smiling that big beautiful smile of yours. I hope you have lots of friends around you and that you get to eat all the watermelon and cheese and roasted chicken that you can eat. I hope you are having fun and never have to feel fear or worry or illness ever again. I also hope that I will see you again and hold you in my arms so I can kiss you and smell your soft fur and tell you over and over how much I love you and that we will never be apart again. For now, I will take comfort in telling you I love you each night before bed, and will give Sampson all of the kisses that I can’t give you anymore. And I will continue to work hard in your memory to help other dogs who have been so unfairly touched by that monster, cancer.
I am yours forever, just as you are mine. I love you baby girl. I love you.