On August 27, 2015 we adopted a 17 year old dog from a high kill shelter and named her Betty. After 18 amazing months she finally crossed over the rainbow bridge. I wrote her a letter to read on her journey to the other side…
You’re crossing the rainbow bridge as I write this. It’s been exactly 4 hours since you left us and the hollowness in the house echoes your name anytime someone speaks or one of the dogs makes a move. We had nobody circling the table like a land shark tonight as we ate dinner. It’s been 4 hours and I haven’t cleaned up your pee or picked up your poop in the house. Schmidt is roaming the house freely and he has nobody showing his teeth at him. Overall, the house is quieter, there’s less to do, there’s less laundry to do, there’s no hair to pick up and my heart hurts. Everyone is trying to find something to do to keep from breaking down and crying. And I promise I’m not telling you this to make you feel sorry for us. I’m telling you this because we loved you so much.
We know you weren’t the most affectionate dog and you even had us wondering if you even liked us sometimes. I remember when I picked you up from the pound and the first thing you did was show me your teeth and growl at me. And why wouldn’t you? You had just been abandoned by your family at the age of 16. I’m sure there was a sense of disappointment when you looked up and it wasn’t your family. The animal control officer asked me if I had the right dog and I replied with a very confident,”yes”. You were so crickety and fraile that I gave you a month tops before you crossed over but you had other plans. I just wanted to make sure you didn’t do that in the pound. And for the past 18 months, you did as you pleased and ruled this house. I think I lost count of how many times you bit me but you were just letting me know I was approaching you too fast and in an uncomfortable way but eventually you trained me. Communicating with you wasn’t always the easiest as you lost your hearing not too long after we adopted you and your eyesight wasn’t the greatest but even though it wasn’t easy, it was always worth it.
As every day passed, it was like you were getting stronger. You had us believing you would live forever. I didn’t think you would be around to see Bri move in with us, but you did. I didn’t think you would make it to see Camden but you did. I didn’t think you would make it to Thanksgiving, you gave us 2. I didn’t think you would make it to Christmas, you gave us 2. And I definitely didn’t think you would make it to New Years and again you gave us 2. But as we headed into the 2017 you were actually becoming more affectionate. But you were also eating less, sleeping more and I could tell it hurt you to get up and lay down. Then I saw you last night laying in a place in the kitchen that you have never rested at before and when you tried to lift your head it was as if your head weighed 100 lbs. We had a conversation and you let me know that this may be our last night together. I gave you a kiss on your head and told you I would see you in the morning.
I didn’t have much time to spend with you this morning as I had to be in Pasadena by 10am but when I left you looked like yourself which I will choose to believe you did on purpose so I could leave the house worry free. But on my way home Bri called me and said you weren’t doing well. When I got home, you told me you were ready but just in case you were being dramatic I made sure to take you to our vet and he pretty much confirmed what you told me last night. But those 3 hours we spent with you before we took you in were so special. You were so affectionate to me and Bri. We just wanted to hang out in the kitchen with you but we didn’t want to start crying and make you confused about what was happening so we found random things to do. And somewhere in the middle of that, you slowly got up and gave us more affection in that 3 hours than you did the past 18 months and for that I thank you.
You crossed over as peacefully as I’ve ever seen a dog go. Call me crazy but there was almost a smile on your face. And I know it wasn’t because you were leaving us but because you were finally at peace. No more aches. No more pains. Just peace.
I’m going to miss the sound of you playing “DJ” on the floors. I’m going to miss you barking like crazy every time I left the room but most of all I’m going to miss looking over in the corner of the kitchen and seeing you sleeping.
You will have quite the welcoming committee when you get there. Please say hi to Bella, Zelda, BJ, Ted, and Miracle when you get there. There will be 7 puppies up there that go by the name of the “Guns N Roses” crew. Tell them I said hello, as well. But most of all…give a hug to Wally for me. He will be the one familiar face you see when you get there. Tell him about Camden and I’m sure Camden will be happy to know there’s another angel looking over him.
It’s now been 6 hours since you passed. I would’ve gotten this letter to you sooner but it’s hard to write with these tears in my eyes. I love you, Betty. I will see you in my dreams or anytime I look up.
Rest easy, beautiful.
John, Bri and the rest of the family
PS…no matter what happens to the kitchen the spot where you used to spin the 1’s and 2’s will remain untouched. Maybe you can stop by every now and then and play for us.