Today is January 17, 2017. There I said it and now realize that TODAY IS JANUARY 17, 2017. Today my sweet girl Brittie would have been 17! If she were here on earth, we would have celebrated today as her Golden Birthday with special salmon and sweet potato cookies and Beef Stew. Brittie, if you are listening as I write this, know that we wouldn’t have your favorites without you.
Back to today’s date. The date snuck up on me and tapped me in my heart when I opened Facebook and saw my memories page. Naturally, they were of Brittie and previous birthdays and her first birthday without her (2016). The flood gates opened as did my picture folder of her. The tears are for missing her and for laughing at the memories as I scroll through my photos of her. She was a curious dog and this bug really had her intrigued.
Every animal has a personality all their own just like humans. In fact, by watching animals in varied situations, we humans could learn a lot. Such as do dogs feel guilt?
I doubt it from looking at this photo of her holding evidence of a recent sock theft. Do dogs care about how they look to humans?
Nope, I do not believe so. Dogs do what they can to be comfortable. Brittie was just annoyed that I had the camera out. (Maybe she does care a little?)
Dogs care about the important stuff such as playing, snuggling, sleeping and being sassy (well Brittie was sassy).
When memories of loved ones sneak up on you, embrace them. Cry, laugh, chortle, or gasp; whatever comes naturally for each memory. Your loved one will know at those moments that they are not forgotten and who knows, they may have had a sneaky hand in sending those memories to you. At least, this is what I believe.
HAPPY 17TH BIRTHDAY BRITTIE! We love and miss you. Thank you for the wonderful memories.
(Note to reader. This is not my typical post for this webpage even though it is a Word of the Day post. In fact, I have not written anything for this site since July 8, 2015. On July 9, my old dog took a turn for the worse and on July 10, 2015, my family and I had to make the heartbreaking decision to let her go to heaven. I was her main caretaker for the past few months as her health deteriorated and she needed excessive help to do things. Her will to live was so strong up until a few days before she passed that I chose to be her hospice caregiver. Today was the first day I have been able to write. This post is to help me through my grief process. Thank you for reading it. Brittie and I hope you enjoy it. – Traci Bold)
sobriquet – noun
[soh-bruh-key, -ket, soh-bruh–key, –ket; French saw-bree-ke]
1. to allow (yourself) to have or do something as a special pleasure
2. to allow (someone) to have or do something even though it may not be proper, healthy, appropriate, etc.
3. to patiently allow (someone) to do or say something
4. to do the things that you want to do because of (a feeling, interest, desire, etc.)
crunchy – adjective
1. having a hard texture and making a loud sound when chewed or crushed : not soft or mushy
roller coaster – noun
1. a ride at an amusement park which is like a small, open train with tracks that are high off the ground and that have sharp curves and steep hills
2. a situation or experience that involves sudden and extreme changes
egotist – noun
1. a person who has the feeling or belief that they are better, more important, more talented, etc., than other people
Before the Rainbow Bridge fifteen and a half years ago, a runt was born into a litter of fourteen Brittany Spaniel puppies. This little girl grew slowly but at six weeks old, was big enough to be adopted by us. We named her Brittany Coal Bold.
Now, Brittany is not an original name for a Brittany Spaniel by any means but it made sense at the time. We very rarely called her Brittany though. For the most part we used many sobriquets, such as ‘Best Babe’ ‘Brittie-Poo’ and the most commonly used one, ‘Brittie’.
As a puppy, she was rambunctious, quick-footed and clever as most puppies are. One of her favorite activities was to follow my husband around the backyard while he did yard work and nip him in the achilles heel and run off by way of caprioles quick as she could. She leaped as high as her legs were long.
Her other favorite activity was to run our daughters (her kids) up the slide. When they slid down, she would nip at them as well and their squeals revved her up more. These two antics alone provoked her sobriquet of ‘little devil’ until her biting phase stopped.
From puppyhood on, new games developed that we indulged with her. Her favorite one started like this: shewould hunt down one of the girls’ socks. With the sock in her mouth, she would sneak up to either of them or both, and wait until she caught their attention. Their reaction of “HEY THAT’S MINE” OR “BRITTIE GIVE ME THAT” would trigger an instant game of chase me. One day she was bored with stealing socks, clothes and mittens so she stole my daughters YOO HOO MOON.
Besides socks, Brittie stole garden gloves and would proceed to bury them in my flower garden while ripping out my just planted hummingbird-enticing perennials. To save money on buying new flowers that she destroyed by digging, my husband created two sandpits in the backyard for her to indulge her digging pleasure,making her very happy. In fact, these sandpits became treasure pits for her to bury everything she could think of in, such as garden gloves, shoes her toys, bones, hats, mittens. If she couldn’t dig outside , she tried to dig in her toy crock.
Brittie had several favorite activities that she enjoyed throughout the years; digging, walking her girls to school, stealing the girls’ things and pheasant hunting. At three months old, she showed us her first point. She even pointed on her last day on earth.
Brittie’s hardest part of her life was when her girls left home for college. She watched them out the window every time they left. When they came home, she was waiting for them, listening for them to come in. But while they were gone, she took turns laying on their beds, all sad. Them leaving and coming home was quite an emotional roller coaster for her.
Now my family and I are left with favorite memories of her such as watching her eat crunchy foods which were her favorites. She had a sweet tooth which she shared with my daughters so naturally, her favorite crunchy food to eat was their Captain Crunch cereal. We loved hearing the sound of her carefully crunching each piece.
Another favorite was watching her while she sat by us begging for our food only because she had so many cute expressions. When given food, usually she was quite gentle.
She told us, like all dogs do, what she was feeling by her expression and sometimes by vocalization. For Brittie, it was more her expressions which are right now the best of all memories of her. Here are some of them:
curious Brittie = ‘Whatcha doing?’ Brittie =
‘Wearing this thing for your amusement is flumadiddle. Such utter nonsense the things I do for you.’ Brittie =
Happy Brittie =
‘What do you have there?’ Brittie =
‘Yeah I am kind of cool’ Brittie =
‘Not gonna look at the camera’ Brittie = ‘I am human’ Brittie =
Hugging Brittie = “I suppose I will take a picture with you’ Brittie = Contortionist Brittie = ‘I want to eat now!’ Brittie = And of course, Gotta sneeze Brittie =
But most of all for me, Brittie was and always will be my muse. She was by my side for everything and me for hers. I have loved every dog I have ever owned but Brittie lived the longest and had the most personality of any of them. She was not an egotist in any way. She lived for us, her family, and she loved us unconditionally, which us humans take longer to learn.
As much as I love the poem, ‘Rainbow Bridge’* by Author Unknown, I do not wish for Brittie to wait for me/us before she crosses that Rainbow Bridge. I want her to cross it into heaven and find her dog family that she left behind to be with us and have fun up there. I do not want her to miss us. I just want her to meet me/us in heaven when it is my/our time to go.
I have heard people say that heaven is the mimesis of life on earth but I believe they are wrong. Heaven is it’s own real world that life on earth tries to imitate.
I love and miss you Brittany Coal Bold. You are my new guardian angel, and my best babe, forever and always. Rest in peace good girl. Brittany Coal Bold 1-17-2000 to 7-10-2015 (The last photo she let me take with her one week before her death.)
*for the full ‘Rainbow Bridge’ poem please click on this link. http://rainbowsbridge.com/Poem.htm