A Life Well Lived: Lizzie, the Best Dog Ever

In Living Gently by Jamie18 Comments

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It’s been two weeks since our Lizzie returned to the universe.  She played like a puppy on Friday.  Saturday the grand mal seizures began.  She never recovered.  Lizzie was in her thirteenth year.

I totally loved her, my friend Lizzie, the best dog ever.

I want to share, if you will allow me gentle reader, how a deep friendship with one of other species opened my heart and changed me forever.

To understand a friend who belongs to another species

I’ve loved every dog and cat who has been part of my life.  Lizzie was different.  Becky was a pal when I was a boy.  Honey cat came in through the kitchen window when I needed a friend.  She stuck with me through the worst year of my life.  Smudge and Em, Sherman and Z, Meg Dog.  So many others.

Lizzie was different.

It might be because she came after the others.  It may be because we spent nearly every hour of everyday together.   Or it may be because I was finally ready to accept the boundless unfettered devotion of the most gentle soul I have ever encountered.

Some folks thought Lizzie was timid.  I think she was humble.  Day after day I watched how joyfully she greeted friends and how smoothly she avoided conflict, free of self-importance.  And I learned.

Lizzie always wanted to go, she on her olfactory quest, me on my visual plane.  Ready to go but never in a hurry.  Slow down, she’d urge.  Life is a wonder to be explored and savored.  And I learned.

We played together.  A lot.  We ran agility when she was young.  I loved to watch that girl run.  To see her jump and play and chase her ball.  When she grew too old, Lizzie enjoyed hide and seek.  She never stopped playing.

In sharing my days with Lizzie I learned about being a better version of myself.  I came to realize my friends whether canine, feline, or human (and everyone else!) are each made singular, beautiful, and lovable by the same forces that made me.

What would my world have been without Lizzie?

It takes courage to love our friends intensely

Our dogs are with us for such a short time.  Yet we allow our fates to become intertwined knowing our friendship will last no more than a score of years.  Lizzie’s death wounded me.  I miss this friend I once could touch.

We don’t know when, but those who arrive will leave one day as well.

A friend cannot be kept within sight or reach.  She must follow her own path.  And I've come to realize - though Lizzie no longer walks beside me, she remains in time and place, in my love and memory.  I am comfortable knowing how my friend still graces this vast and miraculous universe.

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Me tengo que ir …, como el viento.
Sin saber donde…, pero contento.
Contento de haber vivido, de haber soñado.
Feliz, por los que amado.
Y doy gracias por haberlos tenido.
Por haberlos disfrutado.

Me tengo que ir…, como el viento.
Amando, feliz y conquistado.
Como el viento…susurrrando, firme y no olvidando.
Me tengo que ir…, con el viento.

T.R.P. 917

I have to go ..., like the wind.
Not knowing where..., but happy.
Happy to have lived, to have dreamed.
Happy, for those I have loved.
And thankful for having them.
For having enjoyed them.

I have to go ..., like the wind.
Loving, happy, and deeply loved.
Like the wind ... whispering, steady, and remembered.
I have to go ..., with the wind.

Jamie Wyant is a retired American.  After living in Valencia, Spain, he set out on a long, slow journey with his wife, Susan, and their senior cats.  He writes about the joys and tribulations of living and traveling gently .  Jamie also manages the technical aspects of GentleCycle.net

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Comments

  1. I am sorry for your loss. Your tribute to Lizzie touched my heart and soul. It made me very sad knowing that someday some of our loved ones (human and animals) will have to go.

    May you both continue your adventure and life’s journey in Valencia. Stay happy and safe.

    -Maria

    1. Author

      Thank you for your kind words Maria. Recently I came across these words in Carlo Rovelli’s book, The Order of Time,

      “It isn’t absence that causes sorrow. It is affection and love. Without affection, without love, such absences would cause us no pain. For this reason even the pain caused by absence is in the end something good and even beautiful. Because it feeds on that which gives meaning to life.”

      I found the idea comforting. By missing our departed friends (of every species) we are continuing to love them.

  2. Your heartfelt and heartbreaking tribute to your dog brought me to tears. It was beautifully written and your words pierced my heart and soul with how deeply it was felt. To lose an animal you love and experience a close bond is a gut wrenching event. I do not think you ever totally recover. You go on but there are days, moments that cast you back to those precious memories.

    1. Author

      Thank you for your kind words Sandi. I hope that my friendship with Lizzie continues to help me be a better person.

  3. I have followed you for a long time . I’m sorry for your loss. They are family and the pain of losing a loved one is immense.

    We have a lab who is getting older and can’t think of losing her.

    You all are in our thoughts

    1. Author

      Thank you Joseph. Yes, the loss does hurt, but I willingly accept the grief because in many ways it is just transformed love.

  4. Beautiful, tearful tribute. Sometimes I think dogs have four legs because they need them to carry such big hearts. What a journey!

    1. Author

      Thank you Shannon. Our dogs’ do indeed have generous hearts.

  5. Such a loving tribute. Yes, we are all so lucky for the animal friends that grace and enrich our lives. They are the best teachers. Lizzie was a special one indeed. Glad to have known her. Sending love and hugs, Arlene & Dave

  6. Thinking of you. I remember visiting with Susan and Lizzy at WHS, etc. What a beautiful soul Lizzy was. And the adventures she had – moving to Spain! She experienced a lot in those 13 years. She was blessed to have shared her journey with you and Susan, you were both blessed as well. Sending you love from Turner, OR. ♥

    1. Author

      Thank you Shirley. Susan, Lizzie, and I were lucky to have found each other. That’s for sure.

  7. Your estimation is correct: Lizzie, the best dog ever! True grace of a loving companion. I am deeply saddened by your sudden loss.
    We know the ache of their absence. To paraphrase Alfred Lord Tennyson: It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved (and been loved by Lizzie) at all.
    I am grateful for Lizzie’s sweet life shared with you and Susan.
    🧡 💛 🖤 🤎

    1. Author

      Thank you for you kind words. We are grateful for the time we had together.

  8. Sorry for your loss. Lizzie was different and I consider myself lucky to have met her.

      1. Thank you Jamie. My Lucy (13 also) had to go suddenly on April 23rd. I am bereft. Your homage to sweet Lizzie is balm for my soul.

      2. Author

        I’m sorry to hear of Lucy’s death. I hope that you can find solace in the notion that she is still with you in an important way and will always be in the person you have become because of the friendship you shared.

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