I Love You This Much
Written by Penny Cary
For all who have had to make the decision.
When you were just a pup, and you were new to home and heart, I used to laugh so hard and pick you up and hold you squirming and struggling in my arms and whisper to you “I love you this much.”
I laughed as you tried to rid yourself of those pesky tapes and watched as you struggled through the puppy stuff, and mostly I didn’t mind for I knew that puddles turned to piddles, and piddles would soon pass.
I even managed to grin when you decided that our house should be free of all wood products, and we fought constantly to decide who was right about the crate. I guess you were because I cannot imagine not having you at the foot of my bed at night. I don’t know how I would have made it from room to room without your guidance or stood erect without your silken head to rest my hands on, but then, I never had to.
And I smiled a lot as you grew and decided that squirrels were indeed evil, and that there was no really good reason for cats; that every dog in the neighborhood posed a potential threat and needed to be sent packing.
And I was delighted when you discovered children, and you found they were much like you – they liked to run; they liked to play; and there was an endless quality to the day when they were around.
And when you gave me my first CD, I smiled then, too, even though it was you who led the way or dawdled behind to visit at ringside to see if someone else would step in to complete the routine.
You and I as adults together developed a deep and abiding respect for one another. Your constant devotion made life’s valleys a little less deep, and there were times when I needed you: to listen, to love and to lick away the tears… and you were always there.
You liked Chinese food, spaghetti and cheese. Lettuce and pickles and heartworm pills were for other dogs. We adventured, you and I. We camped, we fished, we hiked, and we played ball. Oh, did we play ball.
And through all those years, you gave so much, and I could only hold you in my arms at the end of each day, and we’d both smile, and I would whisper “I love you this much.”
And now we’ve come to this. I don’t believe I have the strength to say goodbye, but you tell me it’s time. Neither one of us has smiled in a very long time, and the only part of you that doesn’t indicate pain is your stubby little tail. I cried when the doctor told me, and I railed against the Powers That Be, and all the platitudes in the world and all the comforting friends can’t make up for the undeniable fact that you will no longer be with me. And I don’t think I can do this. I envy those with ones who passed so quickly. The shock must numb the grief.
But now, as I have done so many, many times before through so many, many years, I fold you in my arms, lay my head upon your velvet cheek, and whisper one last time, “I love you this much.”