Farewell Sunny Girl

We experienced the sudden loss of our dog, Sunshine over the weekend. She was just a couple of months shy of five years old. Sunny had a normal week and weekend. Nothing was amiss. She ate her dinner with the usual gusto. She played and wanted to stay outside as usual. Scratch was with her in the yard and he is fine. Her body seemed at peace. There was no evidence of an external source or cause of death. She just looked like she sprawled out on the porch as usual to survey her domain (she was the queen of the back yard just ask Scratch, the squirrels, the birds and all the little "yucks") and didn't wake up.

On January 6, 2009 I thought I was going to loose her but we got an extra three years for which I am grateful. But it wasn't enough.

She was an energetic, playful, outgoing pup. She adored her early morning runs with David, she liked to lay her head on a knee for absentminded petting. Her favorite place at home was the back yard. Her favorite place in the house was on the futon with her head dangling off at odd angles (how I wish I had a picture of that). I loved holding her face in my hands and feeling the softness of her ears. She always let me hug her and bury my face in her doggy fur. And, unless she'd found something less than fresh to roll in, she always smelled like musty outside puppy-ness. I loved it.

It's been almost 48 hours. I still can't believe it. She was so healthy, so full of life. I'm writing and looking at pictures and thinking I'm going to go squish those soft ears... but no.

The back yard is no longer animated with her joyful whines and barks when we step out to play. Her favorite toy is still and I haven't heard her paw on the door to come in. Her favorite peep hole into the neighbors yard (she was so nosy!!) still bears the marks of her face and the fence has a line of paw marks where she'd try and get the squirrel that always teased her.

I expected her to live at least ten years unless she broke her neck flying full throttle into the back fence after some lizard.

Life is short. Sunshine was a good example of living it up to the last minute. And she never missed a meal. She managed to pass on after dinner. And probably timed it just right so she could have a second dinner upon arrival in heaven. And yes, I think dogs do go to Heaven. Why not? Every creature worships Him, not just humans. There is comfort in thinking about her trotting around showing the other dogs who's boss. I'm sure she picked out the baddest looking doggie up there and promptly humped him. She loved showing Scratch who was the boss. Poor guy would "woof" from the back porch and we'd holler "Sunny quit humping Scratch". And she'd give us her most haughty look and move away. She could be such a turd.

She was a lover though too. Most dogs are. So happy to see me or David come through the door. When David was running late from work she'd pace between the garage door and the front door waiting on him to stride through, set down his things and greet her with a pat. Eager to play and crazy excited to take walks.

When we brought Scratch home in December 2007 Sunshine was about 6 months old and already a spitfire. She taught Scratch the ropes about being in a family and not being afraid of anything. She helped him learn to be friends with other dogs and showed him how fantastic walks were and to expect treats at all times and how to train a human. She infused him with life and energy and helped transform him from a scared dog that would only hover in corners and didn't know how to enjoy life to a crazy lover boy that doesn't meet a stranger and has expensive taste in treats.

There is a tangible void in our lives right now. No, she wasn't human but she was a huge part of our family. And the thing about dogs is that they never hurt your feelings. They aren't mean or impatient or rude to you. They don't put anyone over you or make you feel bad about anything. All they want to do is play and love and, for Sunshine, be tucked in at night in her crate with a pat on the head and a cookie. (Occasionally David would forget the cookie and she would tell me about it oh my word so I'd give her a cookie and she'd turn around a few times and tuck herself in tight for the night.) She was so animated and vocal. It was crazy.

Mostly though she was mine. She was my dog and wow do I miss her.

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