Friday, December 10, 2010

Our Sweet Bonnie - 16 Years Of Happiness

I have some heavy news today. My childhood dog, Bonnie, passed late yesterday evening. She was 16 years old so it's safe to say she lived a full and happy life but it is still so hard to let go. She had been in my life since I was 10 years-old. I grew up with her. She was there for every milestone in my life up to now so I can't help but feel like a part of me has died. It's almost as though she was the the very link to my childhood and I have to say goodbye to all those days. That's not easy to do. Some of my best and most innocent memories were with her.

I remember the first day we got her. I had read enough books for the public library contest in which my prize was to see the movie "Milo and Otis" in theater. For those who are not familiar with the movie it is about a pug named Otis and an orange tabby cat named Milo. I instantly fell in love with the pug breed and begged my parents to have a dog just like Otis. That summer we had a garage sale where I sold ALL of my barbies and lots of other toys and clothes to save up money so I could get the dog of my dreams.

We found a breeder and drove an hour to Indianapolis to meet the breeder at a McDonald's there along with a litter of about seven or eight pug puppies. I was in heaven, surrounded by all those puppies knowing that we could pick one of them to come home with us. My brother and I originally wanted the runt of the litter because it was the smallest one but Dad saw Bonnie and it was as though they picked each other because he said "This is the one!" and with that, Bonnie became the newest member of our family. I think Bonnie somehow knew that Dad was the one who chose her because for her entire life she favored him, she was most loyal to him, it was clear that he was the one she loved most. And the rest of us were ok with that. We enjoyed seeing how much they loved each other. Whenever she would ignore us and run to him, my Dad would always say "She knows I picked her over her runt sister!" And we would all laugh and call her obsessed for how she would make such a fuss over my Dad.

My father travels quite often for his work and every time he was out of town Bonnie would literally become depressed. She would lay all day on the couch facing the front door just waiting for his return and as soon as he would come home she would have a noticeable "hop in her step", her tiny little curled tail would wag, she would squeal with excitement and she would literally smile. Her tongue hung out and her mouth curled up....I'd never seen a dog so happy to see one person in all my days. She sincerely loved my Dad like no one else on earth. It was something we always smiled about.

This is a photo of my Dad and Bonnie taken this past summer. They shared a special bond.

In this next photo, Bonnie was smiling at my Dad who was just off to the right. This is a glimpse of how happy she was when she was with my Dad. So sweet.

Bonnie was the best little companion. As a child she would let me dress her up in doll clothes and push her around in strollers. She was my live baby doll. She tolerated me and my friends dressing her up and putting on plays or making fashion calenders starring her. We have so many pictures of her in different hats and dresses. I wish I had access to some of them so I could share them with you but they are all overseas at my parent's house.

Bonnie truly was part of the family. When we moved to Brazil, South America when I was fourteen, she came with us. She helped keep our sanity while we were there. She entertained us, she loved us, she protected us...well, at least she thought she was protecting us from drowning in our own swimming pool. She would wear a doggy life jacket and if we went under water she would bark her head off and run frantically around the pool and if we stayed under water too long she would jump in after us. She was concerned for our safety and that was just another way she showed us that she loved us too.

She was there to burrow under the covers and sleep at my feet every night growing up, well past my teenage years. She was there with concerned face-licks when I was sick or sad. And she would greet me with a little wag of her tail every time I came home no matter how long it was in between visits. Not with the enthusiasm she showed my Dad, but I could always tell she was happy to see me, even if I wasn't her favourite person, she knew I was family. She was such a sweet, smart, loving dog.

Everyone who knows our family knows Bonnie and how much she meant to us. She was and always will be more than a dog but a part of our family.

I'm not certain if animals will be in Heaven, the Scriptures are not clear on that, but God tells us that Heaven is the most perfect place and for those who believe, we will one day call it home. Earth is not complete without animals so my heart tells me that Heaven would not be complete without animals either - it gives me hope that we will be reunited with ALL of our loved ones someday...even our four-legged companions. But even if we are not, I know that I shared some of the best moments with Bonnie while she was here and being in the presence of my Lord and Saviour in Heaven will be more than enough. Having our cherished pets there with us will simply be a bonus.

Thank you for all of the kind words of compassion and comfort during this difficult time. True friends shine when you need them most. For anyone going through a similar loss, my heart goes out to you. It hurts, but I know in time the sadness will be overshadowed by smiles when we realize the happy memories outweigh the sad ones.

In loving memory of our sweet, Bonnie.

Myself and Bonnie for my Senior Prom

Jared and Bonnie during a recent family visit
Thanks for all the smiles, Beebo. I love you to infinity and beyond!

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