A Letter to My Golden Girls

Dear Callie and Shadow,

You girls have been together in Heaven now for three months. I miss you more every day. And I will always love you with my whole heart.

Callie, from the moment you were born you started filling a need in me.

When Kissy passed away, there was a hole in my life that nothing could fill. She was my first “fur-baby” and my soul mate in so many ways. I knew no other dog could replace her – and I wasn’t interested in trying to – but I missed the pitter-patter of doggie paws and the companionship of a soul who loved me unconditionally.

When Debbie told me you had been born, I knew my heart would start to heal. Little did I know that you would end up teaching me far more than I could ever teach you. You were such a sweet puppy; and you had an independent streak. Kissy had been wholly dependent on me, so I had to learn to accept that streak. You helped me accept it, and I quickly learned to love you for it. When Shadow joined our little family, you immediately took on the role of surrogate mama. You helped me raise her; and quite honestly you did a better job than me.

Shadow, you were such a sweet little puppy, too; but you didn’t have that independent streak like Callie. You were more “needy” like Kissy. You were my “Velcro Dog”. But you were a bit mischievous too. I still remember the day you grabbed your Grandpa’s hearing aid out of his lap and swallowed it whole. Dr. Steve was already gone for the day so I had to make a few phone calls before I knew what to do. You poor pup, you were so miserable the rest of that day; but at least you regurgitated the hearing aid the same way you swallowed it – in one piece.

And you were constantly trying to get out of the kitchen at night before you were house trained. Callie spent many a night sleeping on the carpet in the hallway, on the opposite side of the baby gate, so you wouldn’t feel so alone.

You girls were inseparable, almost literally. Especially at Dr. Steve’s office. Callie was always the brave, happy girl and Shadow the not-so-brave, reserved one. But as long as Callie was there with you, Shadow, you were a bit braver. When Callie had to have her knee-repair surgeries, you always seemed so “lost” without her. You clung to me most of the day while she was at the hospital. And when she came home and had to rest, you glued yourself to her side. You took care of her just as she always took care of you.

When Ducky Doodle Demon Dog joined the family, you girls had to put up with so much from her. Callie, you were the most patient one of us all. Bless you for that! All those times you played peacemaker between Shadow and Ducky? You were my hero. And the times you wouldn’t let Ducky exclude Shadow from your games? You never ceased to amaze me with your patience. And, Shadow, you sweet girl. You tried so hard to emulate Callie; but Ducky continually pushed your buttons.

Sabine earned my eternal gratitude when she convinced me to set up an intro date for Ducky at daycare. A Dog’s Day Out turned out to be the best option for all of us. And her first day was your eighth birthday, Shadow. And Callie’s half-birthday. It was probably the best gift I could have given you girls, along with the walk at the park later that morning.

Callie, when you went to Heaven we were all devastated, but poor Shadow most of all. I know you spent those last months of your life trying to prepare us – especially Shadow – for our impending loss. You did your best to teach Shadow how to deal with Ducky. And you did your best to teach Ducky how to be a good little sister. And you taught me how to manage the two of them. I hope I made you proud as you watched from Heaven. Shadow, you and I helped each other and Daddy through our grief. And we helped Ducky. I think Ducky helped us all more than we gave her credit for back then.

Shadow, when you were declining and I was in denial at times, I know you tried to tell me your time was near. And you tried to tell me you’d be okay once you reunited with Callie. Ducky was so good with you those last few weeks. She stuck by your side – just as Callie had always done – and made me so proud. I could almost see Callie smiling down on her. When it was time to say goodbye for now, sweet Ducky gave you kisses just as she had Callie that morning she left us. For weeks, Ducky looked for you almost everywhere. As time goes by, she accepts more and more that you’re not coming home. But, like me, she senses your – and Callie’s – spiritual presence, usually even before I do. Being Ducky, though, she is enjoying getting all the attention. She misses you girls in ways Daddy and I can’t because we’re a different specie; but she has been our rock. She is our little breathing entertainment center. She makes us scream with exasperation at times, but she also makes us laugh. I know you girls made it possible for our hearts to expand to include Ducky, and I thank you both for that blessing.

Always Remembered…

Forever Loved.

A Heartbreaking Anniversary 


Today – this morning actually – is the first anniversary of our precious Callie getting her angel wings.

I’m handling it better than I expected to. Yes, it hurts like hell. Yes, I miss my girl more every day. 

But – a BIG but – she’s not suffering any more. She’s a healthy, happy soul again free of her earthly form. I’m happy for my girl. 

I’m happy to have been her mom. Happy for all the wonderful memories she gave us. Happy that she helped me raise her and her younger sisters. 

Life has not been the same, will never be the same, without our beautiful girl. But we’ve adapted, adjusted, and done our best to move forward. 

I watch Shadow during the day. She prefers to sleep in Callie’s old favorite spots – in front of the bathtub, on the one dog bed of Callie’s that wasn’t ruined during her illness, on the kitchen floor next to my chair, and right outside the bathroom door while I’m taking a shower. And she loves to play fetch and keep-away, just as Callie did. Odd that she won’t play with Callie’s stuffed toys though. I know Callie wouldn’t mind – she was always good about sharing all the toys. 

And Ducky? In her own way I’m sure she misses Callie; but she’s been playing more with Shadow. And giving Shadow good-morning kisses when I first let her out of her crate. And she’s not snarking at Shadow as much any more. I think she has figured out that Shadow is truly her best doggie friend as well as her big sister. I’m pretty sure Callie is smiling down at them both. 

I still need to dab at my leaky eyes with a tissue at times. The realization that I can’t stroke her fur or kiss her good night, watch her snuggle with Shadow, or watch her teach Ducky to mind her manners still feels like a dagger in my heart. Yet the memories of such moments make me smile, with or without tears.

Hubby said last night that “she left us too soon”. I said that “even if she had lived to be 15 and a half, like Kissy, it would have been too soon.” But she hasn’t really left us. Her earthly form is gone, but her spirit is always here with us. She watches over us. And occasionally she lets me catch a glimpse of her spirit. Somehow she lets Shadow know, too, that she is still here. I sense it at times.