My Amazing Doggies – Part 1

This is part of the Writing 101 Challenge.  Today’s challenge is to write about losses in our life and to do this in a series.  Mine is about My Amazing Doggies.

At the end of a long road in my own journey of mental health recovery I had three best friends who went the distance—Chance, Shasta and Buddy. They were my four legged friends who never once complained about where we lived or what job I had. There has been no other friend in my life like my dogs who offered unconditional love no matter the circumstances. Each one of them deserved an award for being exceptional “service dogs,” even though technically they weren’t working dogs.

But like people dogs don’t live forever. I wish they did but that’s not how it is.   My black lab, Chance, was rescued in 1993 at a crowded animal shelter in Las Vegas, Nevada. She was special from the moment she layed her head on my hand through the gap in the fence. Her big brown eyes and very distinctive yelping bark always letting me know when she wanted something.

Chance and I covered lots of ground in the hot and dry Nevada desert. We hiked the gorgeous mountains and ran in the vacant land. I would take her leash off and she would run free chasing lizards and jack rabbits from one place to the next. She had great balance and would ride the jet ski with me at Apache Lake outside of Phoenix. I can still picture her with her ears flying back, giving me the doggie smile!

I remember the first time I put her on a plane to fly cross-country to my hometown near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When she got off that plane and out of her crate she looked at me like I had better never do that again. If she could have talked she would have given me her best version of a cussing sailor.

One time my partner’s mother was visiting. She had made a lemon cake with icing and left it on the counter top. We all left to have dinner and Chance stayed at home. When we came home the entire cake in its’ pan was in the middle of the floor with only one big bite out of the middle. The joke always was, “Even Chance didn’t like the cake!”

For 17 years I was blessed to have a wonderful hiking partner, a travel buddy and a dinner companion. She was the most amazing dog I have ever had. She knew when I was depressed and would cuddle up beside me or lay her head on my feet. When no one was around to provide me comfort, Chance was always there.

By the time I had to say goodbye every person who had crossed my path had known Chance. She was ingrained in every fabric of my life. I was devastated when Chance went to Doggie heaven, so much that it triggered a depressive episode. Her big brown eyes and distinctive bark were gone and I was left with an overwhelming amount of mixed emotions—grateful for the wonderful memories and deeply saddened by the loss.

I have several beautiful pictures of Chance and they are by far not like having her by my side, but they make me smile knowing I was blessed to have such a wonderful gift for so many years.

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