Tomorrow will mark the first anniversary of the day we sent you to Rainbow Bridge. I’m going to spend tomorrow at a street fair, having fun and living my life with a great group of friends, because I know that’s what you’d want me to be doing. I plan to be too busy to post this tomorrow, that’s why I’m sending it out to you today. I hope that I’m so busy that I forget that it was the day you died and that I remember instead, the way you lived because you never let a single thing stand in your way. I don’t want to let anything stand in my way either, even if it’s hard sometimes.
A lot has happened this year. After you passed, we adopted Jet and I want you to know that I still wonder if I was temporarily insane. I really think that I wasn’t thinking straight when I adopted him. But then, he does something adorable or he does something that reminds me of you and I can’t help but smile. I was thinking of you when he found me, so maybe that’s why he’s been so good for my soul. I was walking down the aisles in the shelter, looking for someone and I was about to walk out. I told myself several times that it was too soon, that my heart hurt way too much and that none of these dogs were anywhere near yellow enough. My back was turned to his kennel and I was turning to head for the exit when he barked at me. I looked into his little black face and saw his goofy curly tail and I just knew, the way I knew when I saw your picture on the Lab board. I fell in love with Jet in a split second. Did I mention that he’s completely nuts? I’m sure you sent him to me to keep me on my toes, which is something he has a talent for.
Last year, Jet and I participated in Bark for Life, which is a walk for canine cancer awareness. We went with several of my friends from NaNo. It was a fiasco and some of what went wrong was Jet’s fault. I still feel bad about those blueberry cupcakes that he ate, but we’ll do it again this year. Jet and I have been attending dog school together and I just know he will be a better dog this year than he was last year, though he might still try to steal the food off the table, I don’t think he will knock the table over in the process, but this is a theory that has yet to be tested. I loved doing this last year anyway, in spite of how badly it went and I’ll do it for as long as I can in honor of your memory and with the hope that doing this will spare some other dog from your fate someday. I don’t know that we will ever find a cure for cancer, but I want to believe that if enough people fight hard enough and long enough, we can.
The first Christmas without you was very rough at first, but I hung the ornament on the tree that had your picture with Mugen and I smiled when I thought of you up there at rainbow bridge, without tumors all over your body, without even that white face that I loved so much and somehow, it was okay. I wish I could have known you when you were young and healthy, but I know that you were sent to me when you were for a reason. We were meant to be together, you and I. I saw glimpses of what you were like when you were younger and how silly you were, in spite of all that you’d been through. I still can’t understand how someone could have walked away from you and abandoned you. Aunt Cathy agrees with me on that point. I don’t think either of us will ever understand what can drive someone to abandon their best friend, not really.
Aunt Cathy misses you too and thinks of you often. The best part though of the last year, was going to Indiana to meet her and my little neice. I got to meet your friend Charlie too, who is everything I thought he would be and more. After she and I met and were finally able to hug each other, I had so much peace. I knew that you were safe and that you and I had a wonderful life together and that things had come full circle and I was able to let you go, even though I will always miss you.
I think you would adore Pepper. I’m positive she would have merited your famous three swipe kisses right across her little nose. One of the things that I loved most about you, was how much you loved children. I’ll never forget our first Christmas when I watched you sit in our parlor surrounded by ten children all playing with toys and when I tried to offer you a break by taking you upstairs, you refused to move. You were happy watching over the kids. You reminded me of Nana from Peter Pan.
The hardest part of this last year, was when Mugen went to join you at the bridge. My heart has never hurt so much. I dreamt about the two of you together at the bridge not long after he was gone. The hard part about that dream was that he didn’t want to leave me behind and I didn’t want him to go. I would give just about anything to have him back, but I take great comfort in knowing that you are watching over him for me and that you’re together, as you were always meant to be. At first, that was the only thought that I could take comfort in. Please make sure that Mugen stays out of trouble and don’t let him play too rough with the other dogs up there and let him know that I miss him too and that we will see each other again one day, I just have a lot more to do first. I’m sure Mugen’s told you all about Jet and how rude and obnoxious he is. Jet really needs a mom and I’m not sure that anyone else could ever live with Jet because he really takes a unique person to love him. Jet’s parents have to be just a little bit insane themselves. Most days, Jet makes me wonder who saved who, but he has his moments.
Your girl is growing up and getting her driver’s license. Your boy has a girlfriend and he has plans for his adult life now. Jazzmin is starting to get very, very gray and her hips are starting to bother her more and more, but she still has time for fetch every day, even if she can’t fetch for as long as she used to. Daddy started a business and named his company after you, Pretty Yellow Dog. It’s our business, though Daddy does all the software development, I have taken over maintaining the Facebook page and will probably do all of the other social media stuff for it too. It’s good for us to have something positive to channel our energy into. The first app that Daddy wrote, Sodium Tracker, receives 350 activations a day! That means that every day, 350 people open and use his app. That’s quite a lot for a first app on The App Store. We’re very proud of it. Pretty Yellow Dog’s second app is awaiting approval from Apple now and I can’t wait for Daddy to show it off! He’s spent the last year working on it in his spare time. I hope this app does very well.
As for me? I’ve been pretty lonely this last year. We didn’t have enough time together, you and Mugen and me, but I am learning to accept that the time I had with you is all I’m going to get and I’m trying to move on. I have finally adopted another yellow dog. Lexi’s personality is very much a blend of you and Mugen. She’s a little bit sassy and bossy, like you, but she’s also incredibly sweet in the way that Mugen was. She gives me three swipe kisses every now and then, which always makes me smile because I remember the first time you kissed my nose like that.
I can’t believe you’ve been gone for a year. It seems like it’s been a lifetime since I held you, but I will never forget how velvety soft your ears were, or the look on your face when you told me you were ready to go, or the smiles that you gave me every day. We really had a lot of fun together, even while we were giving cancer the finger. I hope that you’re still having fun at rainbow bridge and that there is cheese for you every single day. Run free. You will always be in my heart, my beautiful Miss Lucy Girl.