This letter from Mom to Alice was written on Monday, October 7, 2013Alice

Dear Alice,

I probably should have told you much of this long ago, but like so often with those we care about, I never got around to it. I don’t know if you would’ve cared that much, because we just cruised day to day, and it was clear that you were mine and I was yours. Still, sometimes I think you felt that you needed to prove your loyalty, when you really didn’t need to. I knew it.

Everyday we would wake up, and the first thing was your breakfast. You needed breakfast before you went out – so I fed you immediately, worried that your bladder was about to burst. Fortunately, you always ate in about 10 seconds (or less), and then gladly went outside. I loved to see you in the morning – our routine, so easy and so dependable. You smiled every day. But when I left for school, your eyes were so sad. I thought of you throughout the day, and couldn’t wait to get back home, to make sure you were okay. And you always were. The best dog. The perfect friend.

Sometimes you went to school with me. The art students were very sad to hear that you were gone. Jeremy wanted you to know that he always thought of you as the Mother Teresa of the dog world, the way you’d make your rounds cheering up and bringing happiness to the poor and frustrated art students. And Samantha wanted me to tell you that you were the sweetest, most cheerful dog person she’s ever known. She remembered how students would squeal with happiness when they rounded that corner to the painting studio to find that you were in residence that day, and you never once failed to share your infectious smile with anyone lucky enough to be around you.

You and I hung out with Kona and the rest of Laura’s pack, and we met new friends, Oslo and Oliver. When you were younger, you dove into Lake Cumberland, and snored hard after a long day of swimming. Even then, you were sometimes sore, but you were tough, because having fun was so worth it.

On the day we got you, I was skeptical. Someone had allowed you to get fat like a big licorice jellybean. But you caught the ball like a major league catcher, never once stopped wagging your tail, and you were so calm, and so quiet. I connected with your eyes on the porch that day, and there was no turning back. Later that night, I knew that I was smitten.

And although you were nearly perfect, you did the occasional bad dog thing. You ate white oil paint – tube and all. The house had white paw prints everywhere. And when you were getting x-rayed at the animal hospital in the middle of the night, the vet literally chuckled at what a beautiful barium x-ray you had. Later that week, there were those stay-puff marshmallow piles left in the backyard. I didn’t care at all --- I was just so glad you were going to be alright.

Alice, my beautiful girl. I love so much. I’m so sorry you hurt those last few days. I would’ve done anything to make it go away, to make you not suffer. Thank goodness, Maureen and Courtney helped both of us so much. Without them, I wouldn’t have known what to do. They came to us like angels. That says a lot about the kind of dog you were – when friends and even total strangers would give everything they had to ease your pain.

I miss you so much. I think I just always thought you would be there – every day. My house isn’t the same without you. The quiet is too quiet. And Wylie misses you, too. Everyone here misses you, and I know they hope you are in a dog park in heaven or on a cloud somewhere hanging out with all the other loved and missed dogs.

Remember not long ago, when the art students put the unicorn horn on your head. Although you weren’t’ feeling so good, that made you smile. All of us smiled the day you became a unicorn. So, most likely, when you’re not at the dog park in the sky fetching your soggy tennis ball, you are probably with your fellow unicorns.

And I know from now on, I will have YOU to thank for all the rainbows in my future.