My beautiful, wonderful and forever irreplaceable best friend, Archie, passed away this morning at 4am.
The following is a letter written by my dad's girlfriend of more years than I can remember:
"I have never felt such a horrible feeling of loss and grief. I know that to say that is a testament to my relative good fortune in this life, but it is no less
true. He was 'just' a dog...whatever that means...but he's been more than my best friend. He's been a memory keeper, the one who figured in every dream
of mine, the one who could bring me back to the present moment every time with his lovely snore. He loved me unconditionally, as dogs do. If he knew my imperfections,
my character flaws he didn't let on. He was inscrutable that way---he could keep a secret. He loved everyone he met--dogs, cats, people...no matter how they felt about him.
He was capable of instant forgiveness, which he demonstrated on many occasions. He was my teacher, the gentlest and happiest part of my heart. He was my child.
So please forgive me if I completely fall apart...
For 12 years, every single time I'd walk in the door, he'd be there to greet me, usually verbally...he was very verbal, and very very loud...it always amused
and delighted my Mom. She said his greeting always sounded half happy-to-see-me, half, chewing me out for leaving him...even if I was only gone for an hour...
Only in the last few months, after the seizures started, did he stop giving me those talky, screechy greetings...
In the last few months, when I'd come home, he wasn't necessarily at the door, so I'd immediately go looking for him. He might be soundly sleeping...or just not feeling up to
getting out of bed...sometimes he'd be in an odd place--under the bed, or stuck in a corner---a symptom of his neurological disease.
So what happens now when I come home...he won't be there to greet me, he won't be there to find in the house somewhere...I don't know what I'll do...
what does one do?
I haven't decided where to put him...every alternative seems unbearable....but as Dad said. I'm a big girl and need to buck up...he's right of course...
he also said, "this is the price you pay for loving someone. And it's worth it".
It's worth it, I repeat to myself. It's worth it. This is the way Life is. Be grateful for the time you had. Well, right now--- I'm not feeling it. I'm NOT liking it. At. All. I don't approve
of this arrangement. (hey GOD are you listening??) I haven't stopped crying. (You should see how swollen my right eyelid is, I look like I've been punched. And I have.)
Is this the price you pay for love? Is this what I signed on for when I first laid eyes on him (at the Pug rescue)--and fell in love at first sight with his sweet little scrunched-up face?
Archie and I met on Valentine's Day, 1996. I went to a pug adoption fair held in the parking lot of a pet store in the Valley, hosted by the Little Angels Pug Rescue.
I was inspired to get a pug by my nephew Adam,who had a sweet, stout little pug named (improbably) Prancer. He and his mom, Mary, had done their due diligence and researched the breed.
Good with kids, playful, fun-loving, nice disposition. That adorable little smushed-up face was a bonus. I really do remember the first moment I saw him. He was trying to engage another dog in play...he was looking
at this other dog with (I swear) intelligence, interest...there was something so open and friendly and perky about him...I remember saying, "that one has a cute face". Cute didn't
do it justice. It was an epically great face. He was 6 months old. His name was "Chico" and he had (no kidding) some kind of gang tattto on his belly. He was wearing a red
bandana. I had to compete for him---mostly there were older pugs there--and everyone wanted the younger ones. I made a conscious decision to charm the guy that was
interviewing people and making the placement decisions. I don't know if I charmed the guy, but I did get the pug. It was fate. It was love. True love. And nothing can stand
in the way of that...
Long story short...I re-named him Archie (after a character in a screenplay Doug wrote). I was prepared for adorable, and he was, in spades. I never met so many strangers
out in public as I did when I was out walking Archie. Suddenly everyone was a friend. Everyone stopped to admire, and pet..many times I'd see people pointing and smiling from their cars.
He soaked it up, accepted every compliment, every stroke. He was a star. What surprised me was what a comedian he was. For all those wrinkles, and that over-serious expression, he was
a total clown, and he made me laugh continually...
But one time, recently, he looked at me in such a way it was as if he'd known me for centuries. It was a serious look. I was honestly taken aback. My little clown--turned profound. I had a vision of us meditating together
in a past (or future?) life in a peaceful valley high in the Himalayas...surely we have known each other before...and will again...
Archie and I just had our 12th anniversary on Valentine's Day. I bought him a meatball to celebrate.
Archie was 12 and a half years old. He knew I wanted him to be a teenager, but there it is. I'm sure he did the best he could. Baby, I'm not disappointed in you, could never be...
Dad quoted me the Rubaiyat this morning...
Ah Love! could thou and I with fate conspire
To grasp this sorry Scheme of things entire
Would we not shatter it to bits---and then
Re-mould it nearer to the Heart's Desire!
I would Archie, I would smash this sad sorry scheme to bits and bring you back to me...and you would be with me every day of this life, not just the few we shared.
But oh, Archie, yes it was worth it....it was worth it...thank you my friend...thank you...now look around for your new friends...I've described them to you...
a couple of big sweet black labs, Duchess and Cappy, a lovely Pit Bull named Gilbey, a loud bossy red dog with a British accent named Elizabeth, that lovely girl
pug Prancer who started all this...and many more besides...
mama loves you and will always....
thank you all for listening....I love you all...."
Listening to: Foreigner