Sunday, 20 October 2019

Nina

Her biggest talent was love. She would fly up the driveway, her paws barely touching the ground, and jump up on me so high we were nose to nose. She was so overjoyed to be reunited again, she would give me a big kiss right on the lips, doing a happy dance all around me. Every single day. Then she would fly back down the long driveway, jump up on one of the other dogs or chase the horses, loving the speed, the freedom, and most of all, us.


But we weren't the only recipients of her love, oh no - she loved everybody equally enthusiastically, happy to meet every new person or animal with no reservations. 
And they all loved her back in return. You couldn't help it - her exuberance, love for life, and adoration were contagious. We could have given her away to 5 different homes if we would have ever entertained the thought of parting with her - which was ludicrous. We never even joked about it, not for a single second. She was ours. You are not supposed to have favourites with kids, but with dogs you do - and she was not only ours, she was everybody's favourite. 

So easy to love, so easy to have around, we took her everywhere with us. She went on every road trip and errand, and she was so happy to be with us that she would quietly curl up and stay in the car, no matter how long the journey took.

She slept in my bed every single night in the same spot by my feet. When I got up to spend the night with Rich in his bedroom, she would follow me and lay down beside the bed. When I went to the bathroom, she would come with me. When I made coffee, she sat down next to me. When I went back to bed, she would jump back into bed, sometimes coming up onto the pillow next to me, licking my face and letting me know that life was good and the world was beautiful. 


Nina wasn't as present on my Instagram as Lily is, but that's no reflection of the importance she had in my life. The main reason is that she was always right behind me. Where Lily is independent and stubborn, Nina was loyal and easygoing. She was always, always there, often out of reach of the camera, but so close that I sometimes tripped over her. 


Nina was living her best life. She had 4 dog siblings who she played with all the time (well, with the exception of Lily, who's a spoiled diva). The cats adored her, especially Callie, our Calico cat, who would often sleep snuggled up to her on my bed. 
Nina loved to run. She was so light-footed, it was pure joy to watch her move. She would chase birds in the sky, the horses, any excuse to stretch her legs and fly a few inches above the earth. She was more bird than dog, fine-boned and delicate, with the gentlest soul. She never hurt anyone.

We took her canoeing and camping, gave her our leftovers, and she jumped all over me when I was doing yoga.
She was my light, a constant source of joy, and one of my very best friends. 
  
And then I received one of the worst phone calls of my life last night. 
I had been happily puttering around at home, cleaning, making soup, grilling chicken and baking dinner rolls while listening to Harry Potter, when the phone rang. 
I saw on the caller display that it was Rich. 
I picked up. "Hey, what's up?" I had been expecting them hours ago, but they'd had a flat tire and were waiting for BCAA. 
"Nina is dead," he said without preamble. 
I was dumbfounded. "What?" I eventually asked. "Are you joking?" 
Even though I knew he would never joke about something as serious as that, I simply couldn't understand what he was telling me. Nina, my vivacious, energetic, not-even-5-year-old dog, dead? It was incomprehensible. 
"She was hit by a car," he said. "I'm so sorry." I don't remember the rest, because I started howling and threw the phone to the floor. 
It's unbelievable, but it's true. Our sunny, lively, beloved girl was unexpectedly killed last night. 

Rich had taken her along on a trip where he and a buddy where dropping off a couple of bulls to a place just an hour away. Just a normal outing, they should have been back in less than 3 hours. But they had a flat tire next to the highway.  It took unusually long for help to arrive, and when it finally did, it was dark. Nina, slight and dark-coloured and quick, stepped just one step too far away from Rich's side when she was struck by a fast-moving passing car. The driver never saw her and braked immediately upon realizing that he had just hit something. She flew up in the air, something she has loved doing all her life, and hit the earth for the last time, dead immediately. 
The driver was beyond sorry, but it wasn't his fault. It was just one of those things: one misstep, one look a second too long at a tow-truck, darkness, and the perfect storm was created. 


I've been grieving for the last 24 hours, because I miss her so much that it hurts. But what scares me even more is that it hasn't sunk in for Rich yet: he usually has a delayed reaction to tragedies. 
He stays calm in the moment, dealing with everything that needs dealing with, having the added burden this time of having his cousin here who he wants to stay strong and positive for. 
But soon it will hit him, too. And when that happens, I hope with all my might that I will be strong enough to support him the same way he has supported me the last 24 hours.  

All of us dog-lovers know that getting a dog comes with a heart-break guarantee. I will pay that price for the rest of my life for the privilege of living - and being loved by - dogs. But man, it hurts like a bitch when paying time comes along. 

Nina, we'll love you forever. You were one of the very best ones. I will try to live by your example and embrace every day with at least a modicum of the same enthusiasm you had for every day and every person. You are an inspiration. 

Love, 
your mommy 




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8 comments

  1. Oh Dearest Miriam ..... yes all us dog mummy's and owners certainly feel your loss your pain.
    May the Lord cover you with his grace and compassion during this difficult time.
    Joanne

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  2. Oh Miriam, I am so sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you, Richard and the animals that will feel this loss too. This is so sad.

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  3. Okay so I just had a little crying thing reading this. So sad-so really sad. My best friend Riley is an 11 year French Bulldog who is having troubles and just the thought of being without him breaks my heart., Look up in the sky one night and find his star he will be there

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  4. My tears are falling for you Miriam. Heart breaking, I am so sorry.

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  5. Miriam,

    I am so sorry to hear this, I can only imagine the pain you feel to lose a member of your family. Nina was so sweet and I'm sure she felt every ounce of love you guys had for her. I wish you courage and strength in what I'm sure feels like a nightmare. Hang tough

    Xoxo
    Samantha

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  6. Miriam,

    Reading this post, I had a feeling where it was headed, but I kept praying it wasn't. I was shocked and cried when I knew for sure. I can't even imagine what you are going through.

    Pet owner to pet owner, there are no words. At least Nina got the greatest love and happiness in her too-short years, and it was because of you.

    So so so sorry for you and Rich's loss. Keeping you and your furry family in my thoughts.

    Sydney

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  7. I'm so sorry Miriam! I'm sorry for the shock, I'm sorry for your loss, and I'm sorry for the hole that has been left behind. Your pictures show a very loved and loving dog. I'm sorry that her time came too soon.

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