She had such heart.
Our dear, beautiful Alle left us this morning. She had had an up-and-down sort of day, yesterday. When my elder son came to visit, she accepted his pats with a few wags of the tail, but did not rise for him. At supper, she was more herself, begging an “outside” snack, which we gave her. But last night she suddenly seemed very, very old and worn — unresponsive.
I went to bed asking Saint Francis to be with her — that it if was her time, to keep her from suffering.
And this morning, in my dreams, she came to me and put her sweet, open face into my hands, and I said to her, “oh, my beautiful Alle, you are such a good girl, such a good, good girl. But it is time for you to go, now.” And she died as I held her.
And I woke up instantly, knowing she had passed. Went to her and there she was, eyes open, still warm. My Alle. Our girl.
She had come to say goodbye, because that is the sort of dog she was. The best dog, the smartest dog, the most care-taking dog, ever. The one who knew when any of us was sick, and came to lay with us. The one who watched at the window as we left, and ran to the door when we returned, because all she knew was love, love, love.
She was nearly 16 years old. Our vet was in awe of her, because even with withering muscles and painful arthritis, she was always so game for anything, so up for engagement, so full of life and love.
She had such heart.
I will never be half as loving as Alle was; that much love is a gift of grace, and one I lack. But I can remember my dear, beautiful girl and realize what she taught me about God — the constancy of a love so unconditional; a love that watches as you leave, waits so faithfully and runs to meet you when you return; a love that comforts in illness, consoles in loneliness; a love that is present even as we are lost in our dreams.
Such a good dog. The best dog there ever was, my Alle.
I have written about her, for you, and many of you have asked how she has been faring in her dotage.
Thank you for asking. She is gone from us, now, but peacefully, and somehow, beautifully. In that mysterious twilight place of our consciousness, she came — she sought me out and took her leave then, because she knew she could.
We are broken-hearted. I am stupid in aching grief.
Thank you, God, for the gift of Alle.
UPDATE: Thank you for your kindnesses