I’ll remember you by the clack of your nails on hardwood floors as you approached me, sitting on your favourite sofa. I’ll remember you by the wag of your tail. The way it pattered on the soft leather. I’ll remember you by the gentle thump as your head hit the fabric, huffing a deep sigh of relief, as if all your worldly troubles were much greater than that of the average dog.
I’ll remember your wet nose, sneezing in excitement as I opened the bag of treats. Your little whines and groans in anticipation. Tail still wagging.
I’ll remember you by your favorite toy: turkey. The only toy you wouldn’t destroy, as if he were your best friend. I’ll remember the way you carried him gently, and rested your head on him as you slept. I’ll also remember how sad you were the day your brother tore his stuffing out, and how relieved you were when the damage was reparable. You wagged your tail saying, “thanks, mom.”
I’ll remember you when I pass a timid dog, reminding me of how you were the day we met. You were so fearful of the world and untrusting of us. I’ll always remember the way you lashed out in your cage, protecting your food from anyone who approached. You scared me, and I scared you. I’ll remember the day it all changed, and you slept in our bed for the first time. We never did get our leg room back.
I’ll remember the time you learned to share your toys, and the exact moment you fell in love with your big brother. I’ll hold dear the memories of watching you grow into a beautiful young dog.
I’ll remember the time you were so happy, you broke your tail, and I’ll never forget the day the doctor told me we’d have to take it away. I’ll remember watching you walk out of the vet’s office, nub wagging ferociously. Sneezing nose, clacking nails, and wiggling bum. My happy girl.
I’ll remember how I taught you to help in the garden, and the time you dug a hole so deep, I could only see your little bum sticking straight up in the air. Dirt flying, weeds everywhere. I guess that was my fault. I’ll remember wanting to be so angry, but knowing deep down you were only trying to help. You were so filthy.
I’ll remember teaching you to walk on leash, and I’ll think of you whenever a large bus goes by. They always were your worst fear. I’ll remember showing you that skateboards weren’t evil, and that running water didn’t always mean “bath time.” I’ll remember you by the way your eyes grew large when you were sad, and how a treat could make that tail wag again.
I will always remember the day you learned to swim, the day you stopped hating water. I’ll remember taking you to the beach almost every day that summer, because watching you swim made me the proudest mom in the world. I’ll remember how you chomped the water, and stole sticks from your brother. You always were a brat.
My dog, I’ll remember you for all your quirks, all your imperfections. I’ll remember you by the things that made you a loving, caring, sweet, crazy, wild individual. Your passionate prey drive, but equally strong love for children. I’ll remember you by the way you couldn’t handle passing by another dog without saying hello, but also for the days you’d nap away.
I’ll remember you for your potential to be an amazing dog, and for the way you stole my heart without even trying. I’ll remember the day I became your mom, not your friend.
My dear dog, I will remember you. I will remember you from your crazy eyes to your wagging tail. I will remember every inch of fur, every scar, every mark. I will remember your floppy ears, your expressive brows, and your lolling tongue. Most of all, I will remember your unconditional love.
My dearest dog, this is how I’ll remember you.
Photos by: Alyssa Lynn Castle and Wesley Barber