Updated: Mar 22, 2019
#21 in my gratitude journal:
A beautiful brown dog with golden eyes who still acts like a puppy bounding around the house!
That was my chocolate lab, Emma Jane. She was 9 years old when I wrote about her in my journal.
She would have been 13 years old today.
This post isn't profound or insightful. Just memories of the first dog I had from a puppy. The dog who shared so much of my life and brought me so much joy.
I finally scattered her ashes today. It's been nearly a year. I've always known where I wanted them to be, just not when. Last week I knew I would be ready on her birthday.
I took her remains to the pasture where she used to run--or should I say fly--as a young puppy. Being a lab, she was always full of an endless energy. A simple walk would never do. She needed a place to run free.
Her pasture is near my parents' house. It has a gated road that runs parallel to it, a good place for Emma to run off leash and be safe, I thought. But, as soon as she laid eyes on the horses in the pasture, she took off running down the ditch, under the barbed-wire fence, and was under their hooves before I knew what to do. I was terrified! I knew she was going to be trampled and badly injured or killed.
However, she seemed to know where to be and where not to be. She got the horses galloping and she raced alongside them as happy as can be.
This was her routine for many years. Those memories of her are the ones where I feel she was the happiest.
For me, my happiest moments with her are some of my saddest as well.
She was my companion, and oftentimes my excuse, for a walk when I needed to cry in private. She saw all those tears, listened to my prayers, and sadly, was the bearer of much of my anger and fear.
When my bed felt way too big for just me, she took over the other side. She would lay at the top facing me and look at me with those sweet, golden eyes. She would let me cry in her fur, never moving away.
When Robert and I married, Emma was my protector until she loved and trusted Robert and knew he wasn't there to hurt me. Every night for months, she would literally fight him to try and get into the bedroom. At first, Robert and I thought it was simply because she wanted on the bed. We came to the realization, though, that she just wanted to make sure I was safe.
It was so hard watching my strong, beautiful girl become old and weak. It seemed like it was happening overnight. Her walks become shorter. The three steps leading into the house became too hard to climb. She couldn't see in the dark and would become disoriented and confused. And then the grand mal seizures began along with massive nose bleeds.
It was heart breaking.
Before the day we said our goodbyes, I sat with her and talked with her. She looked at me with her beautiful golden eyes even though they were now cloudy. She let me cry in her fur once again. I thanked her for loving me and being so loyal to me. I asked her to forgive me for the times I wasn't kind to her. I told her how much I loved her and how much I would miss her.
She would have been the best role model for Zugspitze.
"Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. ... To love is to be vulnerable.” - C.S. Lewis