I just got word that my friend’s Malamute passed away today. It was very sudden. Holly was eight years old, a beautiful black and white Malamute that my friend rescued from the street years ago. I never got to meet her in person, but her mom, along with a few others, were among my first cyber-friends when Thor came to join our pack six years ago. I had joined a list forum called Sibernet, for Northern breed owners, rescuers, and breeders. I knew Siberians and other northern breeds are unique among dogs, and I wanted to make sure that I did everything correctly with Thor, even before he got here. Holly’s mom was a member of the same list, and always full of encouraging advice.
Eventually, having become friends despite never having actually met, and wanting to talk about other things as well as the dogs, a number of us formed another group on Yahoo. We were all owned by Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Samoyeds, Belgian Tervurens, even a cat, and we all became good enough friends that we had each other’s phone numbers and addresses, some of us met in person where it was possible, became friends on Facebook, and in general, no one who saw our posts teasing each other, encouraging each other, crying on each other’s shoulders, no one would know that few of us had ever actually met. Often, I had more in common with these people I had never seen than I did with people I’d known my entire life. We had conversations about so many different things, but the core, always, was our dogs.
I felt like Holly was one of my own dogs. I’ve read about her and heard so much about her over the last six years, she was just “my” dog that lived somewhere else, if that makes any sense. If you have a close friend with a dog, you probably know exactly what I mean. A part of you shares in that dog’s life, and vice versa. Holly has been part of my life for nearly seven years, and to hear that she was gone was a shock.
If a dog is a part of your family, you know that eventually that day will come when you have to make a horrible, gut-wrenching decision that will tear your heart out, but is the best thing that you can do for your pet. We all know it. They just don’t live as long as we do. And you will make that decision, because you won’t want to watch your baby suffer when s/he doesn’t have to. And you will hate that you have to do it. And nothing anyone says can make it any better.
I believe in the poems about the Rainbow Bridge. They will all be there, all young, all pain-free, romping and playing until their beloved humans arrive, and the humans and dogs will cross the Bridge together. Holly will be there, waiting for her mom and dad. I believe that wholeheartedly, and I will have a candle lit for Holly tonight, to help light her way to the Bridge. Wear your silver harness with pride, pretty girl. You will be missed, so much.