My sweet little girl, you were my border collie before anyone had heard of them. I sure hadn’t, and I didn’t know what I was getting into. Had I known, I would have done it all again, including the hole in the couch, the gnawed furniture knobs, and the day you ate my students’ homework.
Thank you for being my closest, my best, my most wonderful friend. Thank you for sharing almost 15 years with me, years I lived through a divorce, major surgeries, my father’s death. Thank you for all the times you barked whenever I sneezed. Thank you for the way you raced to lie outside the shower door whenever I said, “Let’s take a shower!” and how that same sentence would coax you out from under the bed where you’d go when a lightning storm frightened you.
Thank you for the way you’d lie back to back with me on my bed on cold winter nights, for the way you’d curl up on the couch behind my knees as I lay on my side, for the way you’d jump onto my lap on cold winter days so we could share each other’s warmth. I still can’t believe how patient you were when I’d try to prop my laptop on you and type while you were trying to sleep.
Thank you for the way you got so assertive in your old age: no more waiting patiently while I finished one more paragraph; when you wanted out, to be fed, or needed your water bowl refilled, you barked that sharp “arf!” that said, “I’m old, life is too damn short, and I’m not waiting anymore. Get on it, NOW.”
Until you left, I had no idea how many people’s lives you had touched. Many tears were shed when I spoke of your passing. At the time I write this, it has been almost two weeks since you left us on March 21, 2011. I still look for you at the door when I arrive home. I still listen for the sound of your tinkling tags behind me when I walk through the house. I still think “dinner time” every evening and “breakfast” in the morning. I still want to call out, “Let’s go to bed!” when I retire for the night, and I still expect to hear you jump off the couch and come padding into the bedroom as I turn back the covers.
For fifteen years you were a constant presence in my home, the friend I talked to, the sweet spirit that infused my home with love.
I will miss you to the end of my days.
P.S. I want to give a special thanks to Dr. Lisa Lewis and the rest of Chappelle’s staff for taking such loving care of Pearl when she was in the bloom of her senior years. I would also like to give a special thanks to Dr. Jennifer Coates for her compassion and support as we guided my greatest friend from this world into the next.