Have any of you ever had a "forever dog"?
This is the animal that rides in your car to do errands with you, the one who you confide in, tell your problems to, is your best friend, playmate and psychiatrist all in one. This is the dog who turns a horrible day into a fabulous day merely by greeting you with love an affection. No matter how your day was, the minute you walk in the door, you are the most loved and important thing in the world!
I have had the joy of having a forever dog. Some people are lucky and have more than one in their lifetime. I have not been blessed in that way. Now don't get me wrong, those of you who know me are aware that I currently have two dogs, and I do love them. But they are not like my Amber.
Amber was a dog who found me. In 1992 I was stationed at a Reserve Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I was outside taking a smoke break.....don't judge....we were all young and dumb once...... , and this cute little puppy runs up to me trailing a rope around her neck and jumps on my white skirt with muddy paws. There were 4 of us outside. Why she chose me???? It was love at first sight. I had never even owned a dog in my life, but I decided that if nobody came to claim her by the end of the day I was going to take her home to care for her until her "real" owner showed up.
This was rural Arkansas folks....no chips...no tags...no collar. Just a rope. So I took her home, and within a week I decided she was mine. I named her Amber, and thus became a 15 year love affair. We did everything together. Ran errands, watched tv, went for walks, etc. I was young and single, and Amber totally filled my heart!
She thought she was a lap dog, even after she turned into a 40 pound lab/pitt mix. You could never convince that dog she did not belong in my lap cuddling. She slept in my bed, and I even had an armchair that was "hers".
During our time together I moved to 6 states with her, drove across the country with her, got married, had two kids, got divorced, and she was with me through it all. I knew I could always count on Amber for unconditional love and support.
She got out of the yard one day, and was struck by a car. She was about 9 or 10 years old at that time. The emergency vet was sure she was going to die that night, and gave her drugs to make her comfortable. He was shocked when Amber was making a strong recovery the next morning. I wasn't. I knew what she was made of. She did recover from that head injury, although she lost her right eye, and had ruptured her ear drum (she was struck in her head by the car). She also had a new bump on her skull that wasn't there before, but she was happy, and loving just as before the accident. She ran a bit crooked after that, but her injury never slowed her down.
Looking back on it, I do think it was that injury that eventually took her life, although I will never truly know. One day she started walking in circles and had nystagmus of her eyes. I called the vet, who promptly sedated her and thought maybe she had some vertigo going on that was a temporary thing. Amber was 14.5 years old. She recovered, but started walking in circles again within a couple of weeks. The vet decided she had a brain tumor and there wasn't anything we could do except make her comfortable. She was too old for surgery, so we made her comfortable, and did the most humane thing, which was to gently put her to sleep. We were all with her loving on her when she died. Her head was in my lap, being covered with kisses by myself, my partner K, and our children. She was covered in a blanket to be kept warm, and we all laid our hands on her to comfort her while she gently passed to the Rainbow Bridge.
Amber was the best dog EVER!!! She was an amazing friend and confidante! She was my best friend. She is missed tremendously, and I will never be able to love a dog quite the same way. I can only wish that everyone can have a love experience like mine. It was amazing! Amber was amazing!!