Your Pet Loss Stories

'She Was A Good Dog'

by Benji

A dogs life is a beautiful thing. I have always thought that dogs are probably the most pure, most innocent, most honest creatures in this world. No other creature I have known has been as precious to me as my dogs. I have owned many, and been owned by many, and I have experienced my loss of many, as well. Sometimes people ask me if the pain I feel when they're gone is worth it. If I really want to put myself through the tears, through the guilt, through the anger... to which I reply: Yes.

Cinnamon was probably one of the best dogs I have ever owned and been owned by. In fact, I might go as far as to say she was one of the best dogs that I have had the pleasure of sharing my life with. We got her as a puppy, from a pet shop long before we knew better. We would have gotten her brother, but something about her attracted us to her. Maybe it was her kind eyes, or maybe it was the way she walked right to us, tail wagging, never nipping, never jumping. Her disposition even then was that of a kind, sweet dog who would never harm anyone, would never hurt anyone, whether intentionally or accidentally. Her brother was a far more beautiful dog aesthetically, but she was more beautiful in soul by miles. So, she was the one we took home. She was pick of the litter. And we have never regretted it.

We took her in, we raised her from a sweet puppy, into a beautiful, sweet adult. The one thing you should know about Cinnamon is that she was always a good dog. Even in her last hours, Cinnamon was a good dog.

We were told Cinnamon would stay small. The pet shop owner said she wouldn't be any bigger than maybe twenty-five pounds, at most. He couldn't have been more wrong. Cinnamon grew to be more than twice that. She was definitely a shetland sheepdog mix, like we were told. But she wasn't exactly the dog we were expecting. Much bigger, and much younger, but we still loved her just the same. We kept her, and we cherished her, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

We thought Cinnamon would live to be twelve. Maybe she would have even made it to fourteen, or fifteen, or why not even sixteen? But the problem with life is that it can often be unpredictable. It can often take you by surprise, and those surprises aren't always good.

She was only six that fateful day. We didn't know what was wrong. We couldn't have known what was wrong. She had acted listless that morning, but we thought it was because she had gotten in trouble for digging in the litter tray. It was a habit we'd been working on, one we'd been trying to break. In the old house, the litter tray was set up in the back of the house, shut away from the dogs but not from the cats. But in the new house, keeping it away from the dogs wasn't a possibility. So, we'd decided to break her habit. Of course, it was mostly a fruitless attempt.

She always acted a bit upset after digging through it, and we assumed that was all it was. So, when we left the house that morning, we were unprepared for what the evening would bring.

When we got home, fate took its toll. My mother and I instantly noticed Cinnamon's state. She wouldn't move, she was lethargic, and she was obviously sick. I haven't addressed my mom by 'Mommy' since I was twelve or thirteen years old. But instantly, I- a full grown adult - dropped to my knees and said "She needs a vet, Mommy." Those words still echo in my ears. Even now. It wasn't long before my mother was on the phone with a vet. She explained our dogs - our best friends - condition, but she was told at that point, it would be best not to move her. She was told that taking Cinnamon to the vet then could put her in greater shock. We were given instructions on how to take care of her. Make her comfortable, keep the house as quiet as possible, don't move her. We did everything we were told, but in my heart, I knew what was yet to come.

I sat by my companions side for the next thirty minutes - but what felt like hours. I coaxed her, I pet her, I tried to make her feel as comfortable as I could. I wanted her to know that she was a good dog. Feeding time came, and I knew I had to get up to feed the other animals. It is my job, after all. My responsibility. About halfway through is when it happened. I heard a soft 'thud' and when I asked what happened, my mother said she thinks my dog had a heart attack. I was instantly at Cinnamon's side once more, my mom feeding the last three of the animals. My last words to Cinnamon were "I love you Moo Moo," and then, she was gone.

I will never forget how I always called her Moo Moo. To this day, I'm not sure how the habit began. We called her our Cinnaminnie Moo Moo when she was a puppy, but why I started calling her just Moo Moo, I couldn't tell you. I had a song that I would sing to her while taking her on a walk and admiring her poise and her beauty. "Cinnaminnie Moo Moo, I love you." Even now, those words are on my tongue sometimes in the middle of the night. Except now, they're bitter sweet.
Cinnamon only passed away two and a half days ago now, and the grieving period is still taking its toll on me.

What I've learned from losing pets before her, though, is that while you never forget, it does get easier. I keep telling myself that one day, I'll be able to look at her pictures and the tears in my eyes will be of happiness. That one day, I'll hold her favorite Milk-Bone toy and smile, remembering all the times she'd squeak it in the middle of the night. But the grieving is just as important as the remembering. For only through grieving can I learn to accept.

Cinnamon was a good dog. She was a good dog when we brought her home from that pet shop, eyes full of excitement, tail wagging at the thrill of having new people to kiss. She was a good dog in puppy hood, when she'd hide behind the step that led to the dining room with our then kitten, Noble, when she'd eat next to the cats without ever stealing their food, even when she peed on my sisters boyfriends shoe. She was a good dog in adult hood, when she'd greet everyone she met with a tail wag, when she'd herd the little dogs back into the yard, when she'd lay her head on my lap when she knew I was sad. And she was a good dog even when she took her last breath.

Cinnamon will always be remembered, always be loved, and always be cherished not just for the dog that she was, but for the good dog that she always was. For, a truly good dog, never really leaves.

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