Goodbye To An Old Friend

22 Feb

When I was 12 years old, my family finally got a dog: a toy poodle named Tilly. When she arrived, she wasn’t even 4 lbs of bright apricot colored hair, and we were so thrilled. Considering my sister is allergic to fur, we never thought we would have a dog – but there she was! She immediately became attached to everyone in the family, but especially my parents, who, at the time, were the responsible ones in the home and able to teach us the kind of care that Tilly needed.

Tilly slept in their bed every night, with occasional trips throughout the house to check in on everyone else. I always knew when she was peeking into my room to make sure I was there, and alive. It was a rare, but very special, moment when she would come all the way and hop into bed with me for half an hour or so, only to move on to my brother and sister.

One of the best memories with her any of us will ever recount is teaching her to sit. Tilly wasn’t even 1 year old yet, and we put her on the dining room table (children: do NOT try this at home), and we all took seats around the table. Tilly was so ecstatic: everyone was focused on her. She ran back and forth among everyone like a ping pong ball. We let her calm down a bit, and everyone would take turns saying, “Tilly, sit.” I think it was a bit much for her, because she didn’t really get it that day, even though she did get it eventually. But I also think it was a bit much for my brother, who when taking his final turn at trying to teach her screamed, “Tilly, shit!” Thankfully, she didn’t obey that command either, and the rest of us fell to the floor laughing.

As we three kids moved on to college, and our own lives and dogs, Tilly remained with my parents, living the high life. They spoiled her rotten, feeding almost exclusively human food, letting have total run of the house at all times, bringing her on road trips and with them pretty much everywhere.

Last week, just a few months before her 17th birthday, Tilly passed away. Heartbreak cannot quite suffice to describe the emotions we feel about losing Tilly. She was my first dog, my brother’s first dog, probably my sister’s only dog, and to my parents, she was truly another child. We will miss her terribly, and simultaneously cherish the memories we made with her. And we will hold our current dogs so much more tightly, recognizing their worth in our lives and honoring Tilly by loving them.

We love you, Tilly.

Tilly 1996-2013

Tilly 1996-2013

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9 Responses to “Goodbye To An Old Friend”

  1. Diane McCornack February 22, 2013 at 10:32 AM #

    So very sorry for your loss and the pain that you are all feeling right night but what a lovely tribute to Tilly! All of your lives were blessed by this sweet little spirit. Run free and whole again little girl.

  2. peaceabull February 22, 2013 at 11:20 AM #

    Sorry for your loss. She looks like she was a little cutie pie and it sounds as though she lived a wonderful life.

  3. Emily @ Adventures of a Dog Mom February 22, 2013 at 11:21 AM #

    I’m so sorry, it’s tough losing a furry friend.

  4. barbarajkennedy1014 February 22, 2013 at 11:51 AM #

    Sorry for the loss of your beautiful Tilly. No matter how long they are with us, it’s never enough time.I’m sure she’ll live on with you through wonderful memories.

  5. OhMelvin February 22, 2013 at 12:54 PM #

    Love every word in this post. Thankful to Tilly for nurturing your love for dogs and sending hugs to you for your loss. She’s just lovely.

  6. Queen of Zoom February 22, 2013 at 1:47 PM #

    This is a wonderful post for an obviously very much loved family member ♥

  7. Liz Blye February 22, 2013 at 7:31 PM #

    Thanks for writing this Josh! She definitely was a very loved family member and we will all miss her!

  8. Christina Berry February 24, 2013 at 2:01 PM #

    So very sorry for your loss. We lost our Sophie at 16 a little over a year ago, and it’s still tough. Hold tight to your wonderful memories.

  9. Emily @ Our Waldo Bungie February 24, 2013 at 7:48 PM #

    Oh I am so sorry to hear this, Josh. Big hugs to you. 😦

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