In October 2015, my dear stepdaughter, Stephanie Wilson, honored me by giving me her dog, Dapples. Dapples was an Australian Cattle Dog that Stephanie and I had rescued while we were living in Rhode Island in 2003.
Stephanie's business caring for animals was quite busy at that time, and Dapples had become an old lady in need of peace and quiet. So she came to live out the rest of her life with me. My husband, Frank, had passed away the previous year, and while Dapples couldn't completely heal my grieving heart, she comforted me, entertained me, and made me feel that I was no longer alone in an empty house.
Like most old dogs, even when her body was failing, she had the spirit of a puppy. From her grizzled head to her wagging tail, she loved with all her being. She loved me. She loved good food. She greeted each person with sweetness and affection. And the girl could sing! Had she been a person, I would have expected to see her on American Idol. Whenever I sang her favorite song, Indian Love Call, Dapples would sing along with gusto. On key. With perfect timing.
I knew our time together would not be long, but she seemed to know it better than I did. After a few months, as I watched her light begin to dim and her gaze move from the earth to the sky, she told me it was time to let her cross the Rainbow Bridge. She died in my arms eating delicious treats -- a foodie to the end.
I am happy she is free from the pain of her last months of life. I am a better person now because of her kindness. Yet, I still deeply miss her. My days are not the same -- no day can be when a spirit we love has left us.
I know her soul has crossed over. I know that the Light never dies. I know that love never ends.
And, sometimes, I think I hear Indian Love Call drifting on the wind just outside my window. Dapples and I will sing our duet together again someday. This I know too.