Sweety died she died so hard
She shook the ground in my back yard
We lowered her down with a golden chain
And every link we called her name
Bye bye Swee, You good dog you
Bye bye Swee
You good dog you.
-Adapted from an old folk song-
Sweety was a gentle dog, a good dog. But mostly, she was a friend. She dominated the second decade of my life. We loved her , but she loved us more. Who can tell if I could have made it through life without her. I certainly couldn’t.
I think fondly of all of my memories with her, the time we lived at the Summit Flats, when she would lounge by the window by the stairs. And I would read and drink tea, leaning on her tummy, sitting on a step or two below her. She would look at the butterflies and when the wind came up, she would sigh contently.
In the evenings, she would take herself to the nearby school playground, and play with a dozen other neighborhood dogs. When I walked back home from work, she would see me from afar, and jog along the fence from inside the playground. At the gate, she would swiftly climb under it and we’d go home , she jumping all over me , dancing around me, and me laughing and wondering if I seem a bit mad.
The neighborhood loved her. If I happen to come home early from work, I would find her playing with a soldier from the camp next door and she would look at me guiltily, but she wouldn’t come home until it was time for the soldier to go away. Hrrrmph. I would say when she finally made her appearance.
She would wake up with my father, go downstairs and wait with him while he cooked. While she waited by the kitchen door, she learned to grow a grudge on some pretty weird effin crows , who took it their hearts to torment her by sitting on the trees behind the kitchen, then flying low over Sweety’s head and going back up to their posts. Sweety hated this. She would wait silently , until they came close enough and would snap snap snap but her sparkly eyes gave her away. She took this to be play.
She was also spoiled. My father made her meals seperately and she hated it if anyone else attempted to make her meals. She would starve herself for a couple of days , if he had to be away and someone else took care of her. She would also sleep in his bed , while he was gone.
For such a cutie, she had such ugly boyfriends. I would hear my father scolding her about it in the mornings. He would wonder outloud where she was all this time and that he was not happy with her choice of boyfriends. So ugly. He would say. I would say she had a type. Missing ears, wobbly legs, patches of fur gone. The more run down looking, the better she loved them. She even kept this one boyfriend for a long many years before she dumped him for someone far less appealing.
She had a best friend next door who was a big German Shepherd who was about three times bigger. They would play in the sand for hours on end, having such a ball ! When Sweety once tried to slip through a barbed wire fence to go to the camp side, she was badly scratched on her back and it was the German Shepherd’s owners who took her in and dressed her wounds.
Once at my mother’s house, which she loved for all the space it provided for her roam around in, she went sniffing through the woods behind the house and alarmed a porcupine. She came home with a few darts in her neck, passed out and my father cancelled his day to take care of her. He cancelled our christmas, for the first time in his life, when she was taken seriously ill a couple of years ago.
Long years ago, nursing a broken heart late at night, I would stay up and she stayed up with me nuzzling my neck and licking my face.
We trained her to travel long distance since we travelled back home quite a bit and she always travelled in my lap so that she wouldn’t get car sick. At the vet, she would hide her face in my shoulder and stay there till the good doctors were done with what they had to do.
She was a good dog and we loved her. From the first day, when she licked my face at first sight, to her very last, she loved us more. I miss her immensely, there is a Sweety shaped hole now in my heart. I don’t know if I could ever fill it.
Isn’t it strange how we are made up of the people we love, the pets who take away our loneliness, the gardens we walked in? Now some of the people we loved are gone and in their places are only these memories. And that’s ok. Grief and loneliness are not something we are meant to get over. They just reshape us , we morph into different creatures , we go on, our sadness now a permanent part of ourselves. I accept this.
I feel as if my soul had to stretch on to accomodate all the pain. If my mother, and then my bestest dog Swee, had to teach me one thing, it was to love and love anyway, despite how others may see you or treat you. I’ll try to remember this.
If there is such a thing as heaven, my mother must now have company. I imagine my mum and my dog walking on the golden shores together, smiling happily, while calm waters lap silently at their feet. I imagine locks of my mother’s soft curly hair , ruffled by the wind, she would pat them away the way she always did, while Sweety would squint her eyes at the wind and grin which she always did whenever the wind came up.
Rest in peace..