A true friend

“I had the best dog. But I still have the best friends!” me, 2/7/12, Facebook comment

For the first time since I was a year old, I won’t have a dog in the house. After nearly thirteen years, I put down my beloved Talula to rest yesterday, accompanied by my life partner, Blues, and our family veterinarian. Talula had had cancer for well over a year and we just couldn’t stand to watch her fade away slowly.

Dogs are great friends. They love unconditionally. They don’t cast judgment. They don’t engage in gossip. They don’t complain. They live in the moment and share joy with everyone they meet.

What I loved best about Talula was her genuine joie de vivre. A pit bull mix puppy found wandering in a bad Hayward neighborhood, she was always gentle and happy. Apart from my parents’ mellow Lab, Pinto, Talula was the sweetest dog I have ever known. I trusted her with my toddler. Her early experiences made her skittish but never aggressive or unpredictable.  She proved that she was more than a breed or a beginning.

During the painful process of putting Talula down, I asked Blues why humans aren’t more like dogs. Then last night, on the same social network that often makes me doubt who people really are, I was reassured that my oldest friends and some of my newest friends are loyal, trustworthy, and loving.  People, like dogs, have the potential and capacity to be authentic and selfless.

I will never forget my wonderful dog. She knew me before and after my recovery, before and after motherhood, and always gave me her heart.  While I grieve her absence, I rejoice in the peace of knowing she is at well-deserved rest.

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