Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dear Heidi Louise,

As much as I loved the Rainbow Bridge poem, I prefer to think that you're just in regular old Heaven. You and I both know that meadows and hills and a bunch of animals isn't your idea of Heaven. So knowing that you know that you're better than all that, I hope you crossed right on over the bridge to meet up with those we've lost before, knowing that I'll see you there.

So instead I prefer to think of you spending time as you would have wanted. Two clear, seeing eyes, no lumps or gray hairs or snaggly teeth, the slender figure of the miniature Dachshund you were meant to be.

You'll probably spend your days lounging on a beach with our friend Bo, who died in a car accident a week before our wedding, who knew you were the coolest dog in the world and was delighted to see you every time he came over.

I bet you'll curl up on a couch somewhere with Robert, who was tragically murdered, but spent countless hours with you in his lap, either chilling on my parents' back porch or napping on their couch.

You're probably sharing McDonald's with Phil who would defiantly make ham and cheese sandwiches for both you and himself, despite my demands that he not feed you. "I don't care what you say. She loves me because I feed her so I'm going to feed her, " he would tell me as he handed you your sandwich.

You're probably riding in a convertible somewhere with Daryl, with the music too loud, silky ears flapping in the breeze, reminiscing back to the times you attended parties at his condo.

I bet you're even chasing cats again...cats with no claws since that's how you got your eye scratched up in the first place. Maybe you're even chasing Baby Freckles, she was always an easy target.

Maybe you're lounging around somewhere with grandma. I've got a ton of family up there, I'm sure they love you like I do, because I do. I know you'll be there with them when my time here is over. I'll be looking for you at the Rainbow Bridge and I'll find you waiting for me at the Pearly Gates. Probably on the lap of Saint Peter himself, helping make all of the decisions.

Everybody loved you. You were the coolest dog. We did so many fun things.

I loved you at first sight, seeing you there in the pet store window. You were $900 so you were far out of a 17 year old's reach, but I kept checking and you were always there.

I finally dragged my boyfriend down there and made them let me hold you. You shook, peed, threw up, chewed something off the wall and fell off the bench.

I had to have you.

Thinking I was nuts for wanting you, my boyfriend struck up a deal for $450 and a bag of dog food. I have teased you about this fact relentlessly, that you were half off, a clearance dog...but you were the best bargain ever. And honestly the best gift ever.

The boyfriend didn't last long, but you were instantly a part of my life and the lives of everyone around me. If you didn't like someone, neither did I. This resulted in countless food bribes since rumor got around quickly that if you liked Ashley, her dog better like you. When you met Mr. Ashley, it was love at first sight. On both parts. He loved your sassy self and you loved him, even without a food offering.

We had been dating 6 months on that fateful Thanksgiving Day when your eye got scratched. As usual, I was uncertain and panicky and he was In Control. When you were prescribed 8 different medicines that had to be administered in 2 hour intervals, and he set an alarm to do it every 2 hours, without one complaint or being asked, just because he loved you, I knew that he was the man I would have children with. I knew without a doubt that he was a good person and would be a great father. And he is.

You were our only child forever, and I'm sure you've spent time missing those days. Me too. You were at all the parties, all the insane boat outings where you'd hop from boat to boat eating hotdogs and spent your spare time attacking waves, growling and snapping at them and scaring them away for a moment until you had to fight the next one.

I remember that time we took you camping, to that rock festival out in the Everglades, and we were all tripping on acid (sorry mom) and we declared our territory as Camp One Eyed Dog and Arrrghhed at everyone like pirates, soon becoming famous throughout the festival with you as our well known and internationally loved mascot, adored and fed by everyone who ventured up to introduce themselves.

You went to several concerts, you loved going to the jazz concerts downtown and chilling on a blanket eating some popcorn. You hated the clapping though, just like you hated thunderstorms, so we'd cover your ears at the end of each song and you'd tremble until the next one started.

You were a regular at one of the most popular restaurants downtown, delighting everyone when you pranced in wearing one of your many T-shirts, declaring everything from our political opinions (Future President) to our favorite bands across your long back.

For Halloween one year, we were vampires and you were the bat, proudly wearing black satin bat wings Mr. Ashley helped me construct for you. You wore them all night, with an extra spring in your step, as you always did when people were watching.

We threw you a huDge birthday party one year, complete with keg, and had an enormous turn out...all there for you, most bearing gifts. You spent all night wearing a white doll sweater embroidered with flowers and fastened with pearl buttons and a silk purple birthday hat. You spent the whole night being the center of attention and you loved every bit of it.

You were there as we moved from my parents' house to a tiny one bedroom apartment in a bad neighborhood, to the foreclosure we bought and then to the home we built and live in now, the home we brought our babies home to.

You welcomed both boys without hesitation, tolerating ear pulling, food snatching and overaggressive petting without so much as a snarl and accepting your new position in our lives.

I wish it didn't have to be that way. I wish the frustration of children combined with the frustration of your quirks (ahem...peeing on the floor, yapping, trash picking...you did it before you got Cushings Disease, you know you did) hadn't made me feel out of extra love to give at the end of the day. I'm sorry my lap was always so full and that it was always hard enough to get out of the house with two kids, little less two kids and a dog. I'm sorry you lost your place and I'll regret it forever, but I know you know that I loved you. I just wish I had told you more lately.

I keep wondering and searching my mind for anything special that happened yesterday. I remember getting you some water. little kid had 3 muffins, surely you must have gotten one? I wish it had been more special. I had Planned for it to be different, but that's what I get for having Plans. But I know your life was special and that's what matters.

I'll always love you. We grew up together. You made me realize that Mr. Ashley was meant to be the father of my children and as he spent those last moments with you in the car and then brought you home to wash your body and give you a proper burial, it made me see all of that all over again.

He put you in a wooden Coca Cola box, wrapped in a baby blanket and his favorite shirt, with his favorite hat in there with you. This broke my heart as I saw him taking these things, reverently folded, this stack of green, well worn with his Irish pride, and I said it was just too sad and he said that you deserved his favorite things, that he wanted you to have them. Ooooh God. It's just so hard.

But it reminded me all over again why he is my husband. And that things like the garbage overflow and the weeds are not Big Things. That this is a Big Thing. This is a character defining sort of thing and just like you made me realize that we belonged together in the first place, you have reminded me of this all over again.

You are just such a part of our family. You always will be. I have this dread of hitting publish on this, as if making a final goodbye means it's really goodbye...but it really is goodbye.

I know it was your time to go. You were 13. Your disease was hard on you. You were losing your luster and sparkle for life.

This was quick and painless, with no need for a scary vet trip or a Big Decision or some Final Countdown. It just sucks that it is SO hard on us, even knowing that you are in a better place, a place I look forward to knowing one day, a place that I do have absolute faith exists, so of course you are there. And you'll always be here, in my heart and as a big piece of our family and our history.

I love you, weeze. It's been fun, old girl.







Until we meet again.

Yours Truly,
Mom

102 comments:

Megan said...

That was the most lovely tribute I've ever read, human or pet. May Heidi Louise rest in peace and have fun chasing all those seagulls in Heaven.

Anonymous said...

That was beautiful

caitlin said...

That was amazing and beautiful. She was indeed a very lucky dog to have you as a mommy. What a wonderful and happy life she had!
Keeping you and yours in my thoughts.

Miranda said...

I bawled this morning when I read Rainbow Bridge and now I'm bawling again. What a beautiful letter and tribute, she was an adorable little character. I'm so sorry again for your loss.

Liz said...

That was so beautiful Ashley. I am sitting here in the dark bawling over a dog I have never met. Heidi Louise has touched so many lives and my heart goes out to you and your family.

TXGirl said...

That was so heartfelt and touching, it made me cry. When I saw the pictures I cried even more. Your Heidi looks almost exactly like my own doxie. I don't know what I would do without my baby... I'm so sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

Ashley,
I'm so sorry about Heidi Louise. I know the loss of a pet. I am going to say a prayer for you now.
AJ

QueenMother said...

Ash-

I am so sorry. I can't even being to make it better so I won't try. We were there almost two years ago and we still miss him. She was a good dog-still is. You were her savior in so many ways. Never doubt that she knew she was loved. Much love to you and your family.

mel said...

What an amazing eulogy. It literally brought tears to myeyes. I'm sure she knows she was loved.
RIP Heidi

denise said...

*sigh* i feel like i've lost my best friend too. that was a wonderful tribute ashley. heidi's peeing all over heaven, she's so happy!

Donna said...

What a wonderful tribute. I feel I know her now.

Sally said...

A beautiful tribute to lil Heidi Louise. I can feel the love and tenderness for her in your words.

jenn said...

A great tribute and send-off to a very special dog...

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I have dachshunds and didn't realize that your Heidi was one. I lost my doxie soul mate almost 2 years ago and the heartache has eased but I regularly think of her (hell, even my 4 year old still asks about her, how she remembers I don't know). Thank goodness my other long haired crazy dachshund was there to help me through it, I was a basket case for about a week, crying and not very functional. He stayed at my feet and was always there for me.
Thank you for sharing, you have reminded me of happy times with my girl.

Cake said...

That was lovely and moved me to tears.

FunnyGal KAT said...

Well said... What a beautiful tribute for who is obviously a very beautiful dog.

London said...

That was so beautiful, it really brought tears to my eyes. So sorry for your loss.

Maggie said...

What a beautiful tribute to a beloved dog. I think in some ways dogs live closer to our hearts even than people. Our relationship with them is more feeling and touch than words. Thanks for sharing your tribute to Heidi Louise with all of us.

baby mama drama said...

That was a beautiful tribute. I can barely see my computer screen through my tears.

Life, Love & Lola said...

Beautiful Ashley! I know that must have been so difficult to write. I admire you!

Mel said...

Ashley, it may sound dumb, but the lump in my throat is so big, I can barely swallow.

Dingo said...

Truly one of the most beautiful tributes I have ever read. As lucky as you were to have her, she was lucky to have you.

Traci said...

It really was beautiful.
And I am sure Heidi is up there chasing Seagulls just like she is in that picture.

Rest in Peace, Girl.

Dre the Texican said...

I love you, Heidi Louise! And you're mom's not bad, either! xoxo, hugs and kisses to Heaven for you, Dre

Margaret said...

That was beautiful, and I'm sitting here trying to stop crying as my 2 year old is asking what's wrong. I'm so, so sorry for your loss. Heidi Louise was a beautiful dog and y'all had a beautiful life together.

lisa said...

so beautiful...touching...i am without words.

Mandy said...

OMG Ashley. You have me bawling!! I could barely read your story b/c my eyes were so welled up with tears!! You are such a beautiful writer--I'm still waiting on your book deal. It's VERY clear that you absolutely gave your precious pooch the best life ever!!!If I ever have to come back as a dog, I want to be yours!! You're such a great mom!!!! You're right, it was her time and this way it was quick and painless. God has plans for everything!!! Hold tight to those memories and like you said, you'll meet again one day.;)

Prayers and hugs to you and yours.

Courtney said...

Oh Ashley. You can tell just how much you truly loved Heidi Louise! I pray that your family is able to come to a peace about her being in heaven and restored to her youthful self.

Anonymous said...

I came back here to get a homemade bread link and now I am bawling after reading this! This dog had a truly special life and this was a wonderful tribute to that.
I'm sorry for your loss.

hicktowndiva said...

Beautiful tribute, Ashley. Hugs to you.

Ashley said...

I'm sorry Ashley. I don't have anything inspiring to say. I never do when something like this happens. But you've got me teared up and laughing all in the same post and only you can do that. Bless Miss Heidi Louise, she's doing fine now, and oh how I would have loved to have been apart of Camp One Eyed Dog.

Kate said...

Beautiful and moving words for a beautiful and loving part of your family. The love truly shines through for Ms. Heidi Louise. Mr Ashley - you are just as awesome as your wife!

-Bridget said...

That was very touching.

the overkill killer said...

that was beautiful ashley.
people are going to wonder why I am tearing up here at work. it was a lovely tribute for Heidi Louise.

slacker mama said...

That was beautiful. I'm sitting here in tears.

I'm thinking of you and your family.

Caren said...

That was really beautiful Ashley. Heidi Louise was a lucky girl to have you guys as her family and I'm sure she knows it.

Madden said...

Ashley - you can know that there is a girl sitting in her cubicle in Michigan crying her eyes out for you. I know exactly what you are going through, even though it's yours. It will always suck, sorry. But you will get to a point where you are glad it sucks. You will be glad that it is you that gets to miss her soul.

They are a gift. Cherish all the memories.

Grief for a pet is a tricky thing. Only the lucky people get it. The rest, can kiss my ass.

Kimberly

Hadley said...

Balling right now. Not much else to say except those last 2 pictures might just be what doggie heaven really looks like for Heidi Louise.

Judy said...

Beautiful tribute.

The Mrs. said...

What a doll. She was a helluva lady. Adding you to the blog roll asap!

Catfish said...

xoxo Catfish

P said...

I know I've already told you, but, again, I am so sorry for you pain. You've lost a very big part of the family and you have my deepest sympathies.

Jacqueline said...

that was so sweet... you have another person sitting in Michigan and crying for you and your family. But it sounds like you had a wonderful life together, and I am sure it doesn't end here.

Southern Fried Girl said...

I was fine. TOTALLY FINE until somewhere in the middle. And now I am bawling over a dog I never met. EVER.

Your love for your pup is so obvious and it's lovely to see. Your fam continues to be in my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

That was a wonderful tribute, it makes me feel like I knew her, too. Hugs to you and the family right now.
-burf06

Joy said...

I can soo feel your pain, Mommy to "Sugar" for 10 yrs before kids... I know the end is getting closer for my "sugar" Thanks for reminding me to cherish every moment we have & to make special moments for him. Sorry, can't begin to describe what I am feeling for you & your family! You ALL will be in my thoughts & prayers!

Jenny said...

That was beautiful, Ashley. I'm wiping away the tears as I write this. I'm so sorry for your loss and my heart goes out to you and your family.

Jeri said...

With tears and a runny nose, I must tell you that your eulogy was so hard to read. Anyone who has lost a pet can relate and re-live their last moments with their loved ones. It is hard. It will always be hard. But it will eventually get better. Until that time comes, and it can be awhile, do go sit at the beach. Watch the waves, the birds, the kids. Then smile and remember your 4-legged girl. She'll be with you always. Now she isn't wearing the bat wings from her old costume, she's got angel wings now.

Take care

Anonymous said...

That was beautiful. It made me cry reading it, then when I finally saw a picture of her - man - I cried harder.

She was lucky to have a mom who loves her so much. She will be waiting to see you again.

I'm sorry that you are going through this.

Lacy Rose said...

Ashley I loved reading that. It is always better to look back upon things that made you love a lost one.

Hugs!

Muffy Willowbrook said...

Very sweet, and very moving. I'm crying along with you.

Take care

Mitch said...

How sweet. She sounds like a great and fun dog. She'll be missed even by those who never met her!

Fullerton Family said...

Very sweet, touching tribute to a well-loved family member. My throat started aching half way through trying to hold back the tears and by the end I gave up. I am so sorry for your loss, what a sweet, fun doggy!

Anonymous said...

That was beautiful Ashley.

I don't know what else to say. :(

sunny-daze said...

That was beautiful. She had a great life and you were both lucky to have each other.

Anonymous said...

Ashley, that was beautiful -- I bet Rupert and Grandma are showing Heidi around today. My thoughts are with you, John and the boys -- wishing you all peace as you say goodbye to your dear friend.

Tara said...

Aw Ashley that was so sweet. How sweet of Mr. Ashley, what a great guy! Seeing her picture at the end made me cry. So sad. Made me think of my little BJ who got hit by a car and I held all the way to the vet's office. I hugged and kissed him goodbye when he said there was nothing left to do. So sad.

She had a great life and that was because of you. (hugs) Hang in there.

Melissa said...

That was really beautiful. What a wonderful tribute.

Sasha said...

How sweet and, well, just perfect.

Tina said...

What a wonderful tribute to your little pup. {{Hugs}} Ashley. Hoping each day gets a little better.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss--dogs are just so cool, except that they don't live as long as us.

We got a neat book called Dog Heaven by Rylant when we lost ours this January. Also, another one called Always and Forever by Durant. I mostly lurk and don't comment, but you just seem like a book person and I thought you might be interested.

STK

Tiffany said...

Ashley don't worry she knew that you loved her. Thats the great thing about dogs - they ALWAYS feel the love no matter how many times we tell them to go lay down or get out of the trash - she knew! You'll see her again!

Anonymous said...

Lovely tribute. I hope she's playing with my sweet Joey up in doggie heaven.

Hang in there Ashley.

Anonymous said...

Your beautiful tribute made me cry. I know what you are going through. I still cannot talk about losing my dalmatian without tearing up, and that was 5 years ago. Okay, now I'm crying like it happened yesterday. Hugs, hugs, and more hugs to you and your family.

Anonymous BS

Melodie said...

Wow, Ashley! Great eulogy! What a fitting tribute to your beloved Heidi Louise. I'm sure she knows how much you love her.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry Ashley. My heart breaks for you:(

Anonymous said...

That was so beautiful. It made me cry. Such a great tribute.
~ditzydawn~

Anonymous said...

A beautiful tribute. I am sitting here bawling.
Thank you for sharing it.

KelsyC said...

That was so beautiful. I am bawling my eyese out right now. That was such a wonderful tribute, exactly what Heidi Lousie deserved. Thank you so much for sharing that. I am so sorry for your loss and my thoughts are with you and your family.

October said...

Oh Ashley. That was so very beautiful.
I'm basically repeating all of the comments here, but it really made me cry out loud.
That was so touching what Mr Ashley did for her, how lucky you've been to find such a wonderful man.

Even though I've been following your blog for a while I hadn't seen any pictures of Heidi Louise, just read about her. I must say she was extremely cute and pretty looking. The kind you just wanna cuddle with and hold and hug forever.

Rest in peace.

Russell and Hillary Jordan said...

Losing a loving dog who has been a faithful friend is never easy. Please know that I'm thiking of you, Ashley, and your family and understanding your sense of loss.
Hillary & Bailey-Girl

Renee said...

That was perfect! Such a fitting tribute for an awesome dog.

-The Renee

Anonymous said...

Hi Ashley, I'm just popping out of lurkdom to tell you I am so sorry for your loss. Your tribute to Miss Heidi Louise is beautiful. It is so hard to lose a loved one... even if some people think it's just a dog... They are still loved ones with big personalities.

danni

Anonymous said...

What a special tribute to a beloved family member. I am crying like a baby.

Caffeine Court said...

I love the pictures of Heidi...she had such an adorable friendly face.

It's so hard to say goodbye. You clearly had an amazing life together, she's still happy, just in a different place.

Hugs.

MMM said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I had to hold back my tears at work because you made me think about my Daisy and what it will be like when she is gone. I'm glad you have lots of good memories with Heidi. I hope your pain eases soon and I appreicate you sharing such a moving and wonderful story with us.

Carla said...

I laughed. I bawled. I miss Heidi Louise, myself.

I'm headed to the vet's office with my sweet doxie, whose body is swollen and sore from the cancer that has overtaken his plump, little body. God, how I wanted his last day to be better. But how is that really ever possible? If you know it's the last, it's hard to be happy, right?

Love to you. Your tribute brought me some peace. Now to mend the hole in my heart and cold spot at my feet. Take care.

Jules said...

sweeetest thing ever...I am so sorry.

Shannie said...

Oh, Ashley. :-( That was a beautiful send off.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh... Ash.
That was so perfect. I sat outside, on this balmy MN spring day (it's a whopping 45 degrees, my Florida friend!) and read this in its entirty. I have tears streaming down my face. As you know, I said goodbye to my furry BFF, Liebe, just a few months ago. I had a similar story with her. Single girls dog, went everywhere with me, camping, parties... and she, too, made me realize Jeff was the one that I wanted to have kids with. ((sigh ...gulp .. wipe more tears))
when I came back inside, still crying... for you, for me, for Liebe and Heidi Louise, my new furry friend (she has not quite gotten the BFF from Liebe yet), Sadie jumped up and licked my tears and made me smile and cuddle for a minute.
Healing. It will happen.
What a great send off, Ashley. As our dear friend, Alissa, would say... you really need to scrapbook this.
Big hugs to you, my friend.
Shannon
PS. I have to comment anonymous-ly, because freakin Google won't let me sign in. grrrrr.

Snooty Primadona said...

RIP Heidi Louise. Losing pets is like losing a family member. Maybe worse in some families.

Just remember: Only love can break a heart... and only love can mend it again. Time for a trip to the pet store perhaps? That's always helped me, kinda.

Jamie said...

That was a wonderful, heartwarming post, Ashley. I'm so sorry you are going through this. **hugs**

Mamalicious said...

What a wonderful blog, that was sweet. I loved reading about your beautiful Heidi.
Holly

Buttercup said...

I'm glad you shared a picture so I could see the little lady myself. Thanks for sharing with us.

morgan said...

That was beautiful.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful tribute to your fur baby. Thanks for sharing it with us. I am so sorry for your loss. The pics are beautiful! Thanks for reminding me to hold my old boy close. You never know how long you've got. Take care of yourselves!

Anonymous said...

oh.

you have me weeping. not just crying, but weeping. and I don't even LIKE dogs! I'm a cat girl, myself, and remember well the total heart-wrench of losing our first beloved animal--Velcro Louise, as a matter of fact.

You have written so very beautifully, and you have done her justice.

I'm sorry for your loss, and thank you for sharing the memories of the good times.

Heather said...

That is the most amazing tribute I have ever read. Sounds like she had an amazing life and your family is better for knowing her. I hope she sees all the people reading this and crying and knows how many people she has touched in some way or another.

Hilfy said...

I am bawling my eyes out here. What a sweet sweet send off! And you've brought back so many wonderful memories of my puppy love- even death breath.
I am so sorry for your loss. I can tell she was well loved.

Curvaceous, said...

I never knew her but I'm crying for Heidi Louise and for you. What a tremendous, loving tribute to a member of the family.

This Little Princess. . . said...

Oh my gosh. I can't stop crying. I am so sorry for your loss. I can't even imagine how hard that is to do. . . Thank you for sharing a portion of her life and your journey with her. I know she was loved and loved you all.

Hugs.

Mom Of 3 said...

I am so sorry for you loss, but what a great tribute. You brought tears to my eyes.

AFRo said...

It is a really good post in memory of Miss Heidi Louise. I'm still crying...

J.Rube said...

yeah, I'm bawling. No big surprise there. I had just cleared up the tears when Shannon had to go and ruin it for me all over again.
Beautifully written, Ashley.

So long, Heidi Louise!!!
What a wonderful wonderful life you had. You so obviously brought so much pleasure to my dear friend.

Jodi

Jessi said...

Such a moving piece. I am so sorry for your loss.

Queen In My House of Blue said...

that was really beautiful Ashley.
HL was a lucky lil girl!
BEAUTIFUL pictures too.

Joy said...

I am so sorry that it took such a tragidy like this for us to get to see Miss Heidi.

Once again I am truly sorry and will keep thinking of you and your family.

queenstella said...

Ashley, I am so sorry for your loss. We lost our beautiful Bubbie a few months ago and it was one of the hardest deaths I've experienced. Heidi Louise knows how much she was loved, and she loved you tenfold. Thank you for sharing her with us.

so tired said...

Very nice letter to Heidi Louise.

It's never easy regardless of how it happens. It's so damn final. That's the problem.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying not to cry after reading your beautiful tribute to your beloved furbaby. I'm so sorry about your loss Ashley and hope that each day gets a little easier. You have a gift and I'm glad you are using it!

Red and White Preppy said...

My goodness, talk about finding your blog at a sad time! You have me in shambles here, reading this post. So much so, in fact, that my dog is attacking me with kisses...
I am so sorry for your loss, but she is in a better place!

BethAnneNYC said...

I am so, so sorry to hear about Miss Heidi Louise. Tears kept welling up in my eyes as I read your posts. Have you heard of Cynthia Rylant's book "Dog Heaven"? It is great for children who have lost their pet. We have a 15 year old Sheltie and I can't imagine what life will be like without her. Hugs, hugs, hugs....
Beth Anne
NYC