Today marks one year since a giant piece of my heart just plain fell off. I miss my dog, Ruckus, so very much and think about him every day. I couldn't be more grateful to have known him and for us to grow up, in many ways, together. He was the first dog I adopted. My husband and I have many incredible memories to hold in our hearts forever as a result of our bond.
I am so grateful for the photographs I created of Ruckus and having these images only solidifies the importance of what I do as a pet photographer. They help bring back the details. I cherish them.
I have found that writing has helped me a lot this past year... I've composed this letter from Ruckus' perspective, to me, on the first day we met. I know that all of us suffer when we lose a loved one. I am doing my best to focus on the happy moments. I hope the letter will resonate with someone in need of support today.
Thank you for adopting me! I'm excited to spend my life with you. Here are a few things you don't know today but you will, someday.
You don't know now what it's like to raise a puppy, not really. You'll do a good job though and we'll get through the puppyhood thing together.
You don't know that I picked you as much as you picked me at the shelter today.
You don't know now that I scammed you into thinking I couldn't bark and that I high-fived all of the other dogs on the way out. (You'll find that out later–sorry!)
You don't know now that you'll be forever reminded of me when you see a dog with an under bite.
You don't know now how kind I will be to all of the other animals you adopt into your family.
You don't know now that I will grey prematurely on my muzzle, probably because I am a worrier, just like you.
You don't know now how much I will become your shadow–follow you to the bathroom, down the hall. Like a tap dancer, I'll click, click, click, behind you.
You don't know now how much I will LOVE chasing the ball in the backyard and how eventually, I'll have some problems with my feet and back that will cause me to ride the bench for a while. That'll be hard for both of us.
You don't know now that we'll develop a routine: I'll hop into your bed and snuggle up at night for a few minutes before I head to mine. And in the morning you'll awake to my brown eyes looking back into yours as you rub my soft chest for the AM ritual.
You don't know now how much I will support you when you are having a hard day or fully realize how much you count on me being there for you.
You don't know now, really how much you'll love me and how much I'll love you back.
You don't know now, that when we have to say goodbye, how big the piece of your heart will be that falls onto the emergency clinic's floor. You'll feel you won't survive the sadness and in that moment feel you could never, ever, go through that again.
What you don't know now, is that while that missing piece of your heart will never fully repair, your heart will actually grow larger to make space to love others.
Now go on and enjoy those other fur balls–I know you love me. And I love you too.