Today marks the one year anniversary of Erin's passing and to say I miss my dear friend is an understatement. She was never just a dog to me but the reason the sun rose and set thus her absence in my life has been extremely difficult. Our special bond was established early in the relationship and continued to grow throughtout the years in a way that made our connection very unique from most human-dog relationships. As a novice dog owner I had alot to learn about raising a puppy and most certainly I made mistakes along the way but her loyalty and patience never wavered even when I started to doubt myself. Upon entering my life she captured my heart, mind, and soul and gave me a reason to live when often I believed there was none; Erin was my beacon in the storm and when I called her "Daddy's Angel" she would give me a coy look that said "Uh oh, Are my wings showing?" I thought of her as my angel in fur as she possessed the traits necessary for inclusion into that exclusive group and over the years her actions proved my suspicions were correct!!
Erin opened my eyes to the world while teaching me life lessons that I never would have learned without her guidance but learn and grow as a person I did. Her positive influence upon me increased my capacity to love while teaching me the value of friendship and not ever wanting to disappoint her I thrived to be the friend she truly deserved. It was my sincere intention to give Erin the most amazing life a dog can have and in that regard I feel contentment as her journey was filled with many years of love, friendship, and adventure. At my side she led a most wonderful life that would make any dog envious; she trekked across a dozen countries, served the community as a therapy dog, attended church, and performed onstage in a local production. Beaches, parks, forests, lakes and so many other locations were explored with the sole purpose of injecting happiness into her life; nothing brought me more joy than seeing her beaming smile and rapid tail wag. My life revolved around making her happy hence if Erin was happy then I was happy!!
While Erin's journey was filled with adventure and excitement it's what was inside that really separated her from the pack; she had the ability to touch everyone that crossed her path and rare was the heart that was not affected. People fell in love with her soulful gentle nature, felt complete ease in her company while her friendly personality made it easy for folks to become instant friends. It's these attributes that led Erin to be so popular wherever we ventured and the affection felt for her was clearly demonstrated by the show of grief and love at the time of her death. I feel so blessed to have received her love and friendship for nearly 12 years while sharing so many smiles and I'll cherish those memories for the remainder of my days. My love was certainly not a one-way street as Erin's passion matched mine in intensity and her display of affection always filled me with warmth; she was often referred to as a "Daddy's Girl" due to her desire to be near me and I wouldn't have it any other way.
I'm prouder of my relationship with Erin and the wonderful life I laid at her paws than anything else I've achieved; our years together are the highlight of my existence. Everyday with her was a true blessing and words can't describe the sorrow and pain I've suffered upon the loss of my beloved friend. If I was to amputate a limb there would be less ache ravaging my body as it certainly feels that my heart has been fractured beyond repair. Given the opportunity I would have gladly sacrificed my life to have one more day with Erin; just one more day of stalking squirrels, another day of frolicking at the dog park and just another day of being best friends. In a state of shock and oblivious to the world around me I told Erin how much she meant to me, how everybody loved her and how we would miss her dearly. It was very important for me to let her know that she was the best friend I could ever ask for and how incredibly proud she made me. During that timeframe I witnessed the most incredible act of devotion as Erin suddenly pushed herself up in respond to my words but I eased her back down and continued to provide comfort. Thinking of that scene brings tears to my eyes as she was minutes from death and in obvious distress yet she loved me so much she still tried to please me.... That defines love and devotion!!
Our final photo. Erin would pass away a few hours later.
Her passing came suddenly after the onset of an illness and was a complete surprise to all including the veternarians who oversaw her treatment. Within 36 hours of taking ill she was pronounced dead and despite an unbreakable spirit her body could not continue the journey any further. I'm so thankful I was able to hold her paw while lovingly looking into her eyes so she could make the journey with a friend; there was no way that my beloved Angel was exiting this world without me comforting her as she did for me on so many occasions. The medical staff left me alone as tears ran down my cheeks onto her lifeless body, knowing our time together was limited I stroked her coat and smothered her with kisses for the final time. A pair of scissors was located then I proceeded to snip off a handful of her beautiful flowing coat and before long a vet tech returned to ask if she could remove the collar; I shook my head and muttered no. It was my responsibility and honor as Erin's Daddy to remove it myself so the leather collar was unbuckled then I reluctantly walked into the waiting room where family members were sobbing. The outpouring of love for Erin in the days after her passing was remarkable while the support of friends and family kept me from being totally consumed with grief and to them I'll be eternally grateful.
One year later it's still hard to believe that she's gone and while I miss my Angel beyond words I'm comforted by the fact that she led an incredible life and was loved by so many people. Thanks to everyone for keeping the memory of Erin alive!!
RIP Erin!! October 20 1998 - August 16 2010
"I think God will have prepared everything for our perfect happiness. If it takes my dog being there in Heaven, I believe he'll be there" ~ Rev. Billy Graham