Yesterday (4-16-2015), my beautiful Leah, companion of almost nine amazing years, and my own hero collie crossed the rainbow bridge rather than continue to fight a quickly spreading cancer, and as much as I miss her, I can’t help but reflect on the coincidences that brought her to my heart.
Leah was born in North Carolina on June 16th, 2006, and came to be fostered with Grace Bowles. While we were definitely prepared to come anywhere to meet Leah, imagine our surprise, and joy that she was already in Michigan, ready to come home when we began looking for a companion to love, and definitely prepared to become my dog when she joined us in March 2007. When Grace brought her to meet us, Leah immediately climbed up onto the couch, smiled at all all of us as if to say she’d found her forever home, and never really left.
Through the years, we formed more memories than I can say. While we were still getting to know each other, I fell down a drainage ditch while we were on a walk, and Leah not only pulled me up after making sure I was okay, she found a safe place for me to climb up from. Leah constantly stayed with me while I was ill, seeing me through a gallbladder removal, fibromyalgia diagnosis and a broken, then smashed ankle. She was always there to help me when I needed it, waited patiently on our walks for me to catch up to her and loved to help me by pulling off my socks at night, sometimes before I was even ready to take them off!
Leah was equally kind to several cats throughout the years and took over the mothering of a few very special kittens. I swear she was somehow part cat. She loved to groom her paws, and to be brushed, and sometimes to sit on my lap, even though she was far too large to do so comfortably. Her favorite game was a variation of fetch, wherein the human would throw her a toy, she would run to it and bark until the human retrieved the toy for her, after which it could be thrown again! She was a wonderful companion for the entire family, and loved joining my mom on walks to get the mail, or just going down the road with one of us. She always had a hug and paw to offer in greeting, and was very fond of shoving herself into a human’s knees, never quite realizing how large she was.
Leah was certainly a large dog, but I think that she almost had to be, because her heart was so large. She was the best part of my life, and the last few days of her life, as we prepared to say goodbye to her, days during which we spent a lot of time quietly sitting together, and enjoying lots of things that we could, will someday be some of my fondest memories, even though it hurts to think of them just now, knowing how much pain she must have been in. She still rallied enough to give us, and her current kitties, time to say goodbye to her.
Leah’s special kitty, Buzz, who she raised from eight weeks old, left for the Rainbow Bridge in early Spring 2014, and it helps to know that they are there together now, and that she is happily playing with all of the fur angels who have gone before. She was the sweetest, most amazing dog that I have ever known, and there’s definitely a Leah-shaped place in my heart where she will always fit, even as I try to start adjusting to my days without her, looking out at the lake and woods that she loved best.
Contrary to popular belief, she is the one who rescued me, and I wouldn’t trade our time together for the world, as sad as the ending is. It’s also the happiest one that I could think of, knowing how peacefully she left us, at the hands of her kind vet. We will never, never forget her, and I have been so blessed by getting to spend this lifetime with my special princess.
I will always, always, be grateful to Almost Home for bringing us together, and for setting the circumstances that allowed us to be together in motion. Thank you so very much for bringing her home to us. It has been worth every, every moment, and then more. She was truly one of a kind, and will always, always be my forever dog.
“Goodbye,” said the fox. “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
“What is essential is invisible to the eye,” the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.
“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
“It is the time I have wasted for my rose–” said the little prince, so that he would be sure to remember.
“Men have forgotten this truth,” said the fox. “But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.
Always loving the pup who tamed our hearts.
Leah’s Forever Family (Sarah, Karyl, and the kitties)