In thinking what to write about for today’s blog, a number of ideas came to me but one in particular has circled rather strongly. You see, recently my dog of 14 years died, or more accurately, I made the terrible, awful decision to ease her suffering. It’s been a couple of weeks and I finally feel like I can talk about her without collapsing into a quivering marshmallow pile.
Brooklyn was my friend, my partner and my soul dog. We were together for almost 14 years and the greatest thing about her was she was always herself. In every situation, she was quintessentially Brooklyn. A silly, polite, courageous and soulful spirit who liked nothing more than a sunny patch of floor and a strategic ear scratch.
She was a peacemaker. We jokingly called her “The Sheriff” because at the dog park or at the beach, she was the one who calmed the other dogs and stopped them from getting just a little too excited. She knew when I was upset and she knew how to make me feel better, just by offering herself up for petting. She was unfailingly polite. She never let her teeth touch you when taking a toy or a treat from your hand. She was obedience school-trained but her politeness was inborn. She was always a great dog.
She was a brilliant listener. She provided her undivided attention whenever I needed an audience. It didn’t matter if I was running lines from a play, practicing a business pitch or rehearsing a speech I was giving. She let me know with the raise of an eyebrow or the turn of her head whether I had hit the right note. And regardless of how bored she might have been with my prattling, she never once fell asleep while I was talking. Again, unfailingly polite.
I learned so much from her that I apply every day to my work and my business. Communication happens even when there are no words, no language. She let me know every single day how valued I was. I can only hope I made her feel the same way. She was unendingly patient. When my daughter was a toddler, she would climb on the dog, use her as a pillow, a playmate and dress up doll. We have more than one photo of Brooklyn in a tiara or a tutu. She was kind to everybody, always. New people were just crotches she hadn’t yet sniffed.
Toward the end, when it was difficult for her to move, she would pivot on the floor, like a game spinner, just to keep me in her sight. Then she would grunt and settle down for another nap. Near the end, there were a lot of sighs, grunting and naps. I miss all of those sounds, including the snoring.
Even now, as I sit typing in my office, I look up and expect to see her gazing at me before resituating herself, as dogs will do. But she’s not there and I’m left with a yellow Lab-sized hole in my heart.
LB Adams is the Founder of Practical Dramatics headquartered in Charleston, SC. Her company produces training events utilizing theatre strategies to help humans grow more profitable conversations with other humans.