I know some people will never understand or know the unconditional love that comes from a pet. I am aware that I am not the first person to experience it or try to explain it, but it is like nothing else in this world. We were fortunate to have two dogs that were exceptional. When our older dog - Martini - passed, Latte, our younger dog, became very courageous and quite the care taker of my husband and I. She consoled us and kept us going during that difficult time. She really had a way about her that cheered us up; as she did with everyone she met. Latte had a vitality about her that is hard to explain. She possessed charisma, a vital force within her that attracted everyone to her. As we would go on our walks and outings I would catch glimpses of people smiling at her. Strangers would go out of their way to stop by and say hello to her. She had a fan club about the neighborhood too. It was not uncommon for people to greet her by name (people who never knew mine!). There was even a group of elderly men who would sit outside on the warmer days to take in the sunshine and as I would walk her down the front steps of our building they would all shout: “LATTE!” ~ like she was Norm at Cheers. Latte really was truly special.
During the holidays of 2016 I could tell our dear sweet Latte was struggling. She was having a difficult time walking, getting up and down the stairs was not the easiest for her, plus her hearing was no longer there. I can remember getting up extra early on Christmas morning and when she started to stir I got her ready for her morning walk. The two of us headed out in the dark and very chilly morning, and had some quiet girl time. It took us a while to make our way around the block, but I didn’t mind. I let her sniff and stroll through the neighborhood. As always she had admirers: a local fireman, a couple from the hotel across the street, and your average street person came by to great her and wish her a Merry Christmas. She had tons of fans and made friends wherever we went. We stopped to admire the Christmas tree on top of the space needle before we headed home. I loved our moments like that. I cherished all of them.
Unfortunately in the months that followed that Christmas, Latte’s health declined fast. It was hard to accept it. We still saw her as the vibrant girl we knew in our hearts but, that was just not her any more. Her sight declined, she was falling a lot, and no longer had an appetite. I found it hard to find the joy in our everyday life when I knew that she was struggling so much. How could I be happy when the dog I once knew is now only a shadow of her former self? Day to day, and hour to hour was such a struggle for her. It broke our hearts, but we could not keep her in the discomfort that was now all to familiar to her. By the time summer came, we had to come to a decision that it was time to let her lay in eternal rest.
Our home was now so still and silent. Our companion was gone and the emptiness in my heart was gnawing at me. Being out and about in our neighborhood was even harder. Just about every person I would pass started to frown when they noticed she was no longer at our side. It’s amazing to realize how much of an impact Latte really had on everyone. We received many kind words, cards, and hugs from friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, and even the old men of the street. No matter how hard it was, it really was comforting getting that support from everyone. It is no surprise that it has taken me and my husband a very long time to get over this one. And I freely admit, I still don’t think we are over it.
With all of this I had no desire to sit in front of my computer and write about food, let alone about her. It made it all a bit to real I guess. We all heal in our own way and time. Not writing was just a part of mine. Hopefully I will find it easier to get back here more often now.