I’ve been meaning to write this for weeks but I couldn’t find the words.
The most wonderful soul I ever knew left this world a month ago, and without him the world is a little less bright. He was thirteen years old, he was my most loyal friend, and he was so beautiful. Evergreen in temperament, so strong yet so gentle; his spirit was as pure as fresh snow.
He was untouched by vice, free from the everyday shackles of envy and fear; his life was spent in a golden daydream and effortless he warmed the weary hearts of all who spent an hour or two in his presence; a presence in which I was lucky enough to spend over half my life.
Hearing his contented sighs at night kept my dreams free of monsters. On my very worst days growing up, when my heart was broken and everything seemed ruined beyond repair, I’d come home and find him sleeping soundly, dreaming. I’d hug him and listen to the slow beating of his heart. He was always there, every single day, for thirteen blissful years. He never let me down, not once, not ever.
The laughter he gifted me, the adventures we shared, the long walks on misty mornings where the only sound was his running footsteps over the fields and the chirping of birds, the silent understanding he imparted on me through his raised eyebrows: whoever said a friendship needs words? He gave me so much and he never asked for a thing back – apart from the occasional sandwich crust.
He was my best friend, he was my brother, he was my protector and I was his. But I realised recently that he was something more. He was the last link to a past that no longer exists. He was the one constant in my life that never evolved into something unrecognizable; never changed or grew up or faded away. He was a living monument to a long lost innocence, a happy little relic from a time now passed, before the divorce, before all the heartbreak, before our family broke apart and set out forever in different directions, before everything.
After 13 years, the whimpers he made in his sleep still brought smiles to all that heard them. The sound of his footsteps downstairs still filled me with love. His deep brown eyes never lost their twinkle; no scars wore his spirit away. His body may have aged far beyond those of us he left behind, but unlike the rest of us, he left this world with his heart just as young and free and joyous as it was the day he first joined us.
On the last day of his life I made him a ham sandwich. He could barely walk by then. He never showed it, never made a sound, but he must have been in so much pain. And yet, you should have seen the look on his face when he realised that whole sandwich was for him.
His mischievous streak never dimmed, his joy at smelling the flowers every morning never faded, and his love for us never faltered. He was perfect, he was beautiful, he was my best friend, he was the person I wish I could be. He was a dog, and he was called Paddy.
I love you, big guy. I love you so much. I always will.