Yesterday was a good day. Today is also a good day but for very different reasons.
I first met Ripley at the Fort Lauderdale Humane Society in 2007. I had my heart set on getting a beagle, but instead, a thirteen-week old German Shorthaired Pointer puppy caught my eye. I rescued her and took her home a few hours later.
For the fourteen and a half years since we met, Ripley was the one who rescued me.
This morning, in our back yard, on a blanket under the sun, and with my husband and me next to her, Ripley drew her last breath and left this world.
It’s a good day today because I know that Ripley is no longer uncomfortable and is at rest. She lived a full, happy life and knew she was loved right up to her last sleep, and I know she loved me. She is, at least I hope, among new friends she’s meeting for the first time and running in fields of gold. She’ll be greatly missed.
I’ve done a lot of crying these past few days, but I’ve been slowly and steadily grieving over this day for over a year. I’m not sure when I’ll stop grieving or if I even want to. Ripley made my world whole, and now there’s a Ripley-sized hole in my world.
I have a lot more thoughts and pictures of Ripley’s life to share soon, but for now, I hope you’ll get some joy out of seeing my forever “little girl” as we saw her last night.
Thanks to our friend, Leah MacDaniel at Flit Photography, for capturing some beautiful memories of my Ripley during her last evening in our loving care and for my sister, Elissa, for coming to say goodbye and help us give Ripley her favorite human treats—pizza crusts. Special thanks to my husband, Britt, for taking care of me and Ripley when I wasn’t my best self over this past year; I don’t know what I would do without you by my side.
If you have pets, please give them an extra hug today.
Before you see the photos from Ripley’s going away party yesterday, I’ll leave you for now with a quote from the bedtime story that we all listened to as we fell asleep last night:
Weeks passed, and the little Rabbit grew very old and shabby, but the Boy loved him just as much. He loved him so hard that he loved all his whiskers off, and the pink lining to his ears turned grey, and his brown spots faded. He even began to lose his shape, and he scarcely looked like a rabbit any more, except to the Boy. To him he was always beautiful, and that was all that the little Rabbit cared about. He didn’t mind how he looked to other people, because the nursery magic had made him Real, and when you are Real shabbiness doesn’t matter.Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
Click/tap any photo view it in a larger size.