I've Lost a Dear Friend

The path to Heaven's meadow
The path to Heaven's meadow

I woke up this morning to find out that a dear friend had passed away during the night. We knew she was going away soon, you see, she had been sick for some time, but I guess one is never really prepared. It was a relationship that lasted a number of years. I first met this wonderfully feisty little girl around 2008. She came into our lives all bubbly and full of life. She seemed to stay in trouble of one kind or another, nothing really major, but it made us want to ring her neck at times. We couldn’t stay upset very long, though. She had a way of crawling back into your heart by doing something cute or just giving you that pouty look that caused you to smile no matter how much you tried not to.

In the end, it was her heart that gave out. The Dr. told us three years ago that there was a problem, but it was too late to do anything about it. Nevertheless, we were determined to make the most of the time we all had together, At the time there was no telling how much longer she would be with us. It could be days, weeks, or years. It didn’t seem to slow her down any. She was the same bratty little girl until the end. A couple of weeks ago, though, we noticed she was starting to develop a chronic cough. We all hoped it was just allergies, but it continued to get worse. I told Mary then that I didn’t expect her to be around much longer.

Then, a couple of days ago, I noticed her breathing was becoming labored. Yesterday she didn’t want to leave the house. She seemed to have no energy and appeared to be down a bit, taking to her bed and not wanting to get up. Then, last night, she began to breathe in gasps. All we could do was make her comfortable…and wait. There was no point in taking her to the Dr. There was nothing he could do and we had promised her she would be at home with us when she…left us. We made her as comfortable as we could and went to bed. You know the rest.

She was a special kind of friend. Although the quiet type at times, she always seemed to know when there was something bothering me. She would stay close to me then, not expecting anything from me…just being there. It was nice knowing she was there. Often, when I was having a rough time with the disease (I have a fatal illness left from the Army years ago) she would just curl up next to me and rest with me, saying nothing, just being there for me.

Our little friend
Our little friend | Source

There were times when she was upset with me, and turned her back on me, but those periods were short and I can never remember her holding a grudge or being ugly about it. It’s not often you find a friend like that. She loved to go with me when I went to the store, especially when I went to Home Depot. Almost everyone there knew her and found time to say hello. They never realized she was just tolerating them, and would really rather not have the attention. You see, she was a bit jealous of Mary and me.

You’re probably wondering how we were blessed enough to have this awesome friend and how we found her. She was introduced to us one day by a good Oriental friend. At that time, she had a boyfriend, but he eventually dropped out of the picture. From the time we met, we were all very close and we will miss her very much. You see, this awesome friend was our little Yorkie, Candy Lou. Many of you who know us have probably already figured that out. For the rest of you, she was the consummate “Daddy’s Girl,” following me around everywhere I went.

Tatters in his younger days
Tatters in his younger days | Source

I remember a time when I left in the Explorer with Tatters, our Pekingese. We weren’t even to the end of the block when Mary called on my cell phone. “Come get your daughter!” she said. “Candy is about to tear the door down and her crying is driving me crazy!” I had committed the “cardinal sin” by leaving with another dog and not taking her. It was cute to watch how she started to take care of Tatters after he went blind. She would lead him around everywhere by bumping him in the right direction or barking so he would follow her voice.

I can’t count the times she took him off exploring, him blind as a bat, and us having to go chase them down and bring them home. One time, they went so far that we couldn’t find them. We were worried sick and Mary even got up at midnight and walked the streets where we lived calling their names. The next day, while we were at work, a man knocked on the door and asked Bobbi, my sister-in-law, if we had lost two little dogs. After she described them, he brought them home. He’d found them walking down the main road about a mile from the house. Some trip.

Candy Lou's Babies
Candy Lou's Babies | Source

She died of heart-worms. We found out much too late, as she was adopted. Having never been on a preventative of any kind, she was a long-haired dog and stayed indoors most of the time, we didn't find out until we had her spayed after two litters of baby Yorkies. That was when we gave away "Choo-Choo," the boyfriend that came with her. She was a good "Mommy" and her babies are making other families laugh and love, just as she did ours. We learned the hard way that no dog is exempt, just as none of us are exempt from Cancer. We will have the rest of the household on protection next week.

Mary's new little pie-bald dachshund is lost right now. The two were inseparable. It surprised us, since Candy Lou was so jealous, but she took right up with the little one. I guess it was that "mommy" part of her. Lottie curled up with Tatters today when we left for work. They looked like two lost friends, mourning together, gaining strength from each other. Maybe Lottie will take over Candy's place and take care of Tatters now.

Candy loved us unconditionally, expecting nothing in return but food, water, and a warm place to sleep…oh, and a scratch behind the ears every so often. She never talked about us behind our backs or spread rumors out of jealousy. She wasn’t all loving to our faces and a completely different person when we left. She always let us know when she thought we might be in danger. We never could convince her that “cats” were not a lethal weapon, so they stayed on the “danger” list. She made us laugh, and now…she has made me cry. I’ll really miss my dear friend. They really are “man’s best friend” aren’t they?

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Comments 2 comments

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

I'm so sorry about your loss. I know it is hard to give up a friend such as Candy. Your tribute to her is beautiful.

There is no love quite like the unconditional love of a dog. Bless you and Mary.

Jaye


W. Joe B. profile image

W. Joe B. 3 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you both for your kind words. Nothing I say, though, can really express the wonder of a pet who loves its "human."

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