Almost 15 years ago, I wrote a blog post to introduce you to our newest family member – our sweet dog Angel. We already had our ridiculous, wonderful dog Charlie, and we thought a second would be twice the fun.

And it was. Angel grew our family, then it grew even more. We gave birth to our first daughter. We moved all over the country. We lived in the tropics where the eagles hovered, and the rainforest where pythons circled. We gave birth to our second daughter. We lived on a mountain on an island at the bottom of the country. We lived in the alps.

My mother-in-law would laugh at how we would all roam the house together as one organism. All six of us – two dogs, two children, my husband and me… all in a square metre.

We lost our beloved Charlie. At which point Angel grieved for roughly… zero seconds. And really came into her own element. She THRIVED. She was THRILLED to be the survivor. ADORED every moment she got to be the only pet of our household.

Maybe this is why she lived so long.

Well, that and the fact she was obsessed with my husband. “White Shadow” we called her. She was always at his feet, following every step he took, gazing adoringly at his every movement. I could understand. We have the same taste in soulmates.

When I think of all the years with Angel, I remember how much she lit our hearts up with joy and love and silliness. How we used to have to warn visitors to be wary – she had a strange obsession with leaping into stranger’s laps and STICKING HER TONGUE INSIDE THEIR MOUTHS. You think I am joking, just as our visitors did. But sure enough, when they least expected it, she would zoom from across the room, clamber to their face to french kiss them. It was mind boggling and disgusting and hilarious all at once.

I remember how we tried to give her Doggy Xanax to prepare her for a flight, and instead of being chilled out, she got high and hyperactive and started running into walls.

I remember how she would sit patiently beside our toddlers for hours as they pet her soft ears.

She was the sweetest ball of fluff I ever did meet.

We nearly lost Angel almost five years ago to an enormous tumour on her spleen. Even though she was 14, we didn’t feel ready to say goodbye. We just wanted a little more time with her. She amazed our vets with a truly miraculous recovery after the tumour removal and splenectomy. Since then, she’s continued to defy odds. There has been so many moments where we thought we would have to say goodbye. And we haven’t been ready each time. And she has held on and bounced back and made her miracle recoveries again and again.

In her elder years, as her needs increased, my husband became the living embodiment of devotion. He has doted on her, tended to her, spent three years waking up through the night with her, doing all he could to give her all the love she has ever given us. I could not be more in awe of him and his kind heart.

Today, our sweet girl’s number was finally up. 19 years old, our magnificent grand old dame. I held her as she left, whispering to her all our memories and how much we loved her. Just as with Charlie’s death, it felt like a profound honour to be with her as she ushered back into ocean of god.

The house feels a little empty without her. This new space will take some getting used to. My love and I have had a dog or two in our home for over 20 years – almost our entire relationship. We don’t know if we will have one again any time soon. My love needs a long rest from his years of attentive caring for high needs doggies. And maybe someday, we’ll holiday more than 30 minutes from our home, and without a furry friend by our side.

In the meantime, we’ll be going through gads of tissues. Holding each other and our kids softly and gently. We have been so very very lucky to have so long with our beautiful Angel. So much dear history shared. So much love. The grief and the gladness and the gratitude are all intertwined.

My heart is soft and sore and wide open.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Big love,