Last week, we had to say goodbye to Kandy, our family dog. We got Kandy when I was a senior in high school, so she had been a part of our family for a long time. She lived a long life of 12 years but that doesn’t make it any easier when the end comes. This background is necessary to understand today’s post which is a letter to Kandy.

Dear Kandy,

I want you to know that you were a good dog – perhaps one of the best. I want you to know that I loved you more than I thought possible. And I want you to know that I’m sorry I couldn’t be there in your final days.

I’ve decided the best way to remember you and to cope with this loss is to remember the good times. I want to remember the moments that made me smile – not the ones that made me sad.

There’s the moment when we brought you home and the story I love to tell of how we convinced Mom to get another dog. When our first dog passed away, Mom said she would never get another dog. My sister and I were approaching the end of high school and she knew (well thought she knew) that we’d be moving out soon.

That all changed when we started volunteering at the local animal shelter. Dad had to volunteer with us (due to us being under 18) and called home one day telling Mom that we were adopting a dog. We really weren’t, but Mom thought he was serious and it opened up the conversation. Before I knew it, she said we could get another dog but that we’d take our time making the decision.

It was two days later when she told us to stop by the shelter on our way home from school to look at a puppy they’d found. We walked in and there you were – cute as can be with big brown eyes and soft fur. We took you out and played with you for a while before we were informed that they had already completed the paperwork to adopt you. You were Mom’s choice. You were her little girl from day 1.

We took you home and that’s when the real fun began. You were only a little eight week old puppy so potty training and more became front and center for the family. Luckily, you caught on quick and the puppy snuggles outweighed the clean ups.

There’s plenty of other moments that make me smile – too many to share them all in fact. None quite outweigh the memory or joy of bringing you home to join our little family. For now, let’s keep those other moments just between us.

There is one more that I’d like to mention before I close this letter though. And that’s the day I brought home Ella. I have to say that Ella should thank you when she sees you again. You’re the reason I adopted her. Our bond had shown me that I loved having a dog around, but Mom and Dad wouldn’t let me take you with me when I (finally) moved out. So, I found a solution and asked if I could get a puppy of my own. I was honestly surprised when the answer was yes.

I’ll never forget the day I brought Ella home. Mom and Dad were out of town for the weekend and it was just you, Sister, and me. Ella was scared to death and Sister ended up carrying her into the house for a bath. You just watched us both with a look that said “I don’t think Mom and Dad are going to like this.” You were a good girl though and didn’t freak out on us at all. You simply watched us with curious eyes.

You and Ella spent the next week or two peacefully existing in the same house but never quite interacting. Once you finally broke the ice, there was no turning back though. You two were the best of friends, inseparable until the end. And that’s why I left her behind when I moved to California. I couldn’t bear to separate the two of you.

Unfortunately, there are things out of our control that do eventually separate us from the ones we love. I promise you that we’ll do everything we can to make sure Ella is happy and safe, just like we did with you. I can tell she misses you from the things Mom has told me lately.

I’m afraid I have to close this letter here because I’m afraid I’ll write a book if I don’t. Kandy Girl, you were so much more than we could have ever imagined. You’re a part of the family and you’ll always be in our heart. I don’t believe in final goodbyes, so I’m choosing to view this as another “until we meet again” moment. I love you and I miss you.

Love, Pam