This afternoon we said goodbye to our Snickers, the sweetest dog to ever walk the Earth (in our opinion, anyway). She has had a great life, but in the past six months her physical health has deteriorated. Even with medicines, the pain of normal daily activities has increased to a point where the inevitable decision was made.
Those who know us well know how much joy this dog has brought into our lives over the past 13 years, 2 months, and 26 days. Those who know us professionally or in passing likely also are well aware of our love for Snickers, as she has always been our favorite topic to discuss whenever afforded the opportunity.
She has been a part of our lives for two months longer than we’ve been married, and she joined our family just two short days after we moved to Janesville. She has been by our side for so many adventures, ups, downs and everything in between. She never once complained, and we did whatever we could to show her how much she was loved and appreciated.
I have always joked that Snickers came to us with two strikes against her, because we were at least her third home by the time she was 18 months old. I stopped wondering long ago why no one could see through the boundless energy and unbridled enthusiasm for life, because I realized that she was just doing her best to find her Forever Home. And that is what she found in us.
Katie had a couple dogs while growing up, but because she was so young they were never “hers.” I didn’t have a dog as a kid, because my Mom knew (rightfully so, I’m afraid) that she would be the one that ended up taking care of it. As simultaneous first-time home owners and pet owners, we definitely made some mistakes and did some things we probably would not do if given a second chance. But everything we’ve done has always been with love and affection and Snickers’ best interests in mind.
We eventually got the hang of it, all three of us figuring things out as we went along. And in the process, we became a family and a bond formed, one stronger than I ever imagined I would have in my life. Katie and I went from our 20s into our 30s and, for me, into my 40s, the whole time accompanied and protected by a trusting and faithful companion whose happiness revolved around us.
It is hard to begin to imagine a life without her there to greet us when we arrive home, or to wake up in the morning without hearing her tail thumping the bedroom floor because she was so excited for another day to begin. Her fervor for life and her gentle nature perfectly complemented our personalities and taught us so much about how to show unconditional love.
But time marches on, declining to make exceptions for any being or circumstance. We are doing our best to view this as a happy time, a celebration of Snickers’ life and all the happiness we’ve experienced together. While she may be leaving her physical body, her spirit lives on in both Katie and me.
On the morning of her final day, as we dread each minute that passes and brings us closer to the inevitable, we shared some of our favorite reminiscences and talked about how we have each grown as individuals because of the lessons Snickers taught us.
Needless to say, this conversation was full of tears and could have gone on indefinitely. But this is the conclusion we both reached: We are much, much better off for having had the past 13.5 years with Snickers, and moving forward we will continue to grow and change and mature and live, because that is what Snickers would want us to do. There may someday be another dog that comes into our lives, but there will only be one Snickers, the best dog in the whole world.
This dog just *knows* us
Our final Sunday together was Oct. 21, 2018. I was trying to take selfies of the three of us, and began crying. Snickers noticed and started to give me kisses and lick the tears off my face. I had my eyes closed and was trying to snap a few still photos, using my memory to hit the on-screen shutter button. I had no idea I was shooting video until a few minutes later. This is truly a gift from Snickers for us to cherish and through which we can remember her and all the joy she brought us.
Snickers’ mic drop
This short clip also was shot on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. It’s a perfect example of how Snickers, throughout her entire life, marched to the beat of her own drummer and never let anyone or anything get in the way.
In this clip, all I wanted to do was capture the three of us enjoying a sunny day. Snickers obviously had other plans, which is exactly the way we’ll remember her.
So long, beloved dog; you have brought endless joy to our lives, and the memories we’ve shared will live in our hearts for an eternity.
Rest in peace, Snickers.