This was the day my girls would leave me.
My morning starts early. In this part of the country in May, it starts to lighten up at four-thirty a.m. and I love to watch a new day being born, so as has been my habit for decades, I have had my morning coffee in the yard with my dogs, watching the dawn come and this day was no different. Well, almost no different.
To the girls it was just another beautiful day as we went outside with my coffee in hand, smiling as they chased a squirrel into a tree. For Vision, this was the end of yard activity. She would sit there for hours watching that squirrel move from tree to tree not paying any attention to her sister Echo who bored of the futility of it. After all, the squirrel was not coming down just because Vision was burning holes in it with her eyes. Even when Echo begged her to play Vision refused. It was all about the thing in the tree.
I was going to miss their antics. When my cup was empty we went to the house.
“Today’s the day kids! How much fun are we going to have today! Let’s have some breakfast and go for a nice long walk. Just us.”
There is, of course, no better word in the canine dictionary than ‘walk’. Everyone loves to go for a walk. I checked the clock, decided I didn’t care what time it was and if we would be late for Matt, who generously donated his time to help my girls reach their new home. I did apologized silently, so I must have cared a little, but not enough to shortened the last walk I would get to take with them. Matt would understand and if not well, I wasn’t marrying the guy.
Spring had finally arrived and we did not hurry, stopping to sniff this and pee here as we strolled through all the years we had shared together. I watched the beautiful little butts in front of me as I thought of the first time I took them out into the big world. From the minute they drew their first breath in my hand, to their exploration of the world beyond their mom I had been privileged to be part of their experience. I thought about that first walk, the excitement and wonder at everything from the snow falling to a pinecone as they bounce along with no idea of protocol or properness. In the beginning, I had a view of little fluffy baby butts, now they were mature, one of them a mother herself. They were now seniors. Always together. They responded quicker to ‘girls!’ than they did to their names. I thought about their first trip to doggie day camp where they learned they were stronger together than apart, not always a good thing in the play yard, but acceptable in the canine world and it would serve them well today and their move forward. I had been blessed to see their mother Ammulett teach them manners and secretly wanted to have the kind power she held over her children. She could move them off a spot with a look. It was a talent I never mastered, but then, I wasn’t their mom. I watched Vision teach her children with the same ease. Echo loved playing with her nieces and nephews, sometimes teaching them things their mom would not, like how to open the dog food bin and dig a proper hole without getting into trouble. Vision was ‘the good girl’, never liked doing anything wrong. She worked so hard at being perfect. Echo, well, she wasn’t that concerned. Together we had had a rich life filled with only us and love. We had gone to shows, travelled and vacationed, cried, worried, laughed and sometimes misunderstood each other.
That one last walk took seven years.
By the time we got home and had a treat, Matt’s truck was in the driveway. The seven years together were over and for a moment I could not breathe.