My dog, Harper Lee, died this week. The X-rays showed her heart was big, very big. And canine cardiologist told me that once we’d drained the cancer-caused fluid from her insides she’d have 3 to 4 months. Instead, she had a week.
She was my pick of her litter at 5 weeks old because of the way she chased her tail and snuggled in my lap in the breeder’s back yard. I named her Harper Lee after my favorite author because it just sounded right. And the name suited her–Southern, strong, one-of-a-kind, so smart. She always rode in the front seat of my car, head out the window, smiling. (She really smiled. I swear it.) And if I left her widow open as I went inside to pay for gas, she’d follow me, jumping out and racing through the automatic doors and inside the gas station. She moved with me all over the Southeast, posed with me in my wedding dress, and settled into our Charleston home, welcoming home Julia and Max with gentle kindness and tolerance that I didn’t even possess.
She was loyal, sweet, and so full of life that I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around the fact she won’t be bounding up to me again, tennis ball (or two) balanced in her jaws ready for a game of fetch. And she won’t lay down heavy against my shins as I sit at my desk to work, looking up at me with those knowing brown eyes or nuzzling my skin with her cold nose looking to have her ears scratched. But that’s how she will be remembered in our house, forever.
So this post is to you Harper, from me. Because I know that you had a big heart from the very beginning.