Dear Olive

You were the sweetest little girl. You were quick to snuggle, quick to press up against a hand or leg for affection, and quick to comfort. I wish you were here to comfort me now.

But you're not. And part of me blames myself for that. I could've taken you to more training classes. Maybe then when I saw you on the stairs and our eyes met, you would have come back inside when I called you instead of darting off down the stairs. If I had leashed you on the porch while I was working out there, you wouldn't have been loose in the house and therefore wouldn't hav been able to run out when the front door freakishly sprang open as the wind picked up outside. If I had looked to see where you went instead of running inside for your leash and my keys, maybe I would have found you faster. If I had circled through that parking lot, maybe I would have found you in time.

But I didn't give you the inclination to run when you could. I didn't give you your curiosity, your independence, your slow-maturing breed. And ultimately, I didn't hit you and keep driving. It was just an accident, a strange accident at the end of an otherwise lovely day. It's the kind of thing that no one sees coming, and that's what makes it so jarring, so startling, so difficult to get over. Thursday evening we were at the dog park. Friday evening you were gone.

Please know that you were loved deeply. Please know that I will miss you in every step of my day--when I wake up, I'll miss you by the bed. When I get ready for the day, I'll miss our morning walk. When I leave, I'll miss the way you knew just when to put yourself in your crate at the end of my routine; I'll miss saying goodbye to you as I head out. When I come home, I'll miss the sound of you shifting in your crate, happy to see me; I'll miss our evening walk, even the way you would tug on me after a long day waiting indoors. I'll miss you coming up to greet me as I lounge on the couch. I'll miss calling you into the bedroom when it's time to go to bed, and watching you curl up on your cushion in the corner.

We still had a lot of growing up to do, you and I. We needed to learn to stop jumping up, to keep our paws to ourselves, and how to walk nicely on the leash. We needed to learn those things, to practice those things, together. You drove me crazy sometimes. And by sometimes I mean at least once a day. You could be restless and grumbly, you scavenged from the counters sometimes, and you were so in awe of the world that sometimes I had to fight for your attention to get you to do what I wanted.

You were full of life is all. You were young and silly and energetic and sweet and beautiful and perfect. You were my little girl, my darling angel, my boo boo, my chicken nugget, my sweetheart, my doggy doppelganger.

I am so sorry this happened to you. I'm sorry I wasn't there sooner. I'm sorry that you suffered.

I'm grateful to the man who sat with you and petted you until I found you, who lifted you and carried you to the car. I'm grateful to the man in my apartment complex who came and told me where you were. I'm grateful to my mother for coming to the clinic with me so I didn't have to do this alone. I'm grateful to the boy for sending flowers, for calling as many times as his tour schedule allows. I'm grateful that you didn't suffer long.

I love you sweet girl. Rest in peace.