The quiet is deafening. My little black shadow isn’t following me anymore and my heart is breaking.
Ali was her name.
And she was the sweetest Schipperke ever. If you know the breed, you know that they are fierce and protective. There is a reason why some folks call them Tasmanian Devils. But not Ali. She loved everyone and was happiest when people were here. Especially Eli. When he came over it was always a party going on and she would go into her happy dance. They would run around the backyard and she would be so excited that her boy came over to play with her.
When it was a Wednesday, I swear she knew the day of the week as she sat by the door waiting for all the ladies of my Wednesday group to come over. We would sit around the table and she would sit at our feet. Often grossing them out with her farts, powerful for just a little thing…but she was always happy to have her friends here.
If there is a Heaven for dogs, I know it was my friend Kathy Taylor who opened the door for her. Anytime Kathy came over the house, as soon as Ali saw her she would head to the back door. She knew Kathy had infinite patience with letting her in and out and in and out. When Kathy passed away, Ali was a little lost. Where was that nice lady who took care of her on Wednesdays?
Jet black, typical of Schipperkes with no tail, a little small for the breed, but the sweetest face. She was a bundle of energy that loved going on half a walk. She always wanted to walk, but about halfway through, she would sit down and not budge. So there I would be taking my dog out for a walk by carrying her home. Up until the last day she would follow me in every room I would go to, up and down the stairs. Like I said, my shadow.
The one thing I did that annoyed her was staying up too late. About midnight she would finally stand up and stare me down . . “Aren’t you going to bed yet?” I never could get her to go into the bedroom with Robert. No, she had to stay up with me. After all, I was her Mom.
The hardest thing about being a pet owner/lover is that they live too short compared to our lifespans. I thought I had it all figured out, seriously. She came along when I was 60. Schipperkes are long-lived breeds, so I figure out she wouldn’t get too old until I was about 75 or 76… just when I was getting too old. That’s the only time she’s let me down. She went too young at eleven.
We don’t quite know what did her in, but she was having digestive problems for about two months. Problems that we couldn’t figure out, but she seemed to be tolerating them well until last week when she wasn’t as interested in eating unless I offered her people food. It makes me smile to remember the last thing she ate was part of a Famous Amos cookie (no chocolate!).
Over the weekend she had a seizure or perhaps a small stroke, but it progressed into neurological issues that were steadily getting worse over her last twenty-four hours. So at 10:30 on a Sunday night we went to the hospital, held her in our arms told her how much we loved her and we let her slip away. So hard. So sad, but the right thing to do.
So now I face days that are too quiet, rugs that are not peed on, no more water bowls in four different rooms, no more automatic crumb catcher, no more heavy weight snuggling right next to me all night long. No more happy face running to greet me when she hears the door opening.
My sweet Ali…. Much too short a time on this earth for the happiness she brought us.