Dogs Leave Paw Prints On Your Heart
We had to say goodbye to our beautiful girl this week. I have lost many furry four-leggeds in my life, but this time is somehow different. Rani was not just a dog, she was our best friend, loyal companion, baby-sitter, hiking buddy, running partner, and all-around best pal. She found my heart when she was a mere six weeks old, and that love grew to insurmountable levels as we tackled life's trials and tribulations. I am not one to sit still, and Rani was always loving and willing as long as we did the adventures together. From Colorado to California to Vermont, through two broken hearts, four cats, three marathons, and a life-changing career move to law school. She flew on four planes before she was two years old, and in her thirteen years, she moved with me more than a dozen times. I think she was better at adapting to change than I was...
Most importantly though, Rani-girl found Big R. It's true, she is the one that found him and brought him to me. Big R always joked that "he married me for the dog," and although I, of course, knew that was a sweet expression, I also knew that he loved her as much as I did and almost as much as Rani loved him.
Our adventures continued and she was always there making me a better person, teaching me patience, and most importantly, providing me with unconditional love. Big R and I started our legal careers and let the Army move us from Maryland to Virginia, and then over the pond to Germany. She kept Big R company when we lived apart that first year, and then found a new best friend when little r was born. I think her most courageous act was helping Big R adjust to this foreign place when little r and I stayed in Virginia (or being my sister's therapy dog when she was going through so much pain in her life). She kept him company and walked miles and miles of trails to help him feel comfortable in Germany and find his way.
Rani-girl had a knack for finding your heart and helping you build the strength you needed to get through whatever life was throwing at you. I don't think I am exaggerating when I say that she left her warm paw print on so many hearts throughout her lifetime. She always remembered you, and greeted you with enthusiasm as if you were the most important person in the world.
Her final days were hard, for her and for us. The cancer moved into her lungs and wreaked havoc there until her heart finally couldn't hold out anymore. We thought she had a stroke last week, but we now know it was a heart attack, which is why she couldn't recover despite her will to stay with us. She tried so hard to be strong and we believe she waited until we returned from our trip back to the States to give in. The x-rays showed that her heart was about four times its normal size. Big R claims her heart was already larger than normal anyhow, and I think he was right. The poor girl was struggling to breathe and could no longer walk on her own, her appetite was gone, and we could see that she was disappearing before our eyes. She died quickly and peacefully in Big R's lap and with me by her side kissing her nose. After we said our good-bye's, we left the veterinary clinic and saw a beautiful rainbow fill the sky.
|Rani's Rainbow... :)|
I am thankful that Rani stayed strong and healthy for our move to Germany where she was able to hike the Cinque Terra and sled with us in the Alps. She fit in nicely here, and we'd like to believe she thought this was a pretty fabulous place to retire. Her relationship with little r grew strong here through our family walks and little adventures and all our excursions to and from kindergarten. I hope he always holds a small place in his heart for those memories with his best pal.
Oh, my sweet, sweet Rani-girl, how much you'll be missed. You made me a better person and you were part of so many lives. This is not a good-bye forever, but is instead farewell until later, my old friend. You will live in our hearts for an eternity.