end of an era

It’s taken me a few days to be able to sit down and write this post. This week I had to do one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Say goodbye to my best friend of more than 16 years.

Sydney came into my life through a comedy of errors that included talking a co-worker into being a translator, a drive late at night into one of the worst neighborhoods of East LA and negotiating the sale with a 12 year old girl with special needs who only spoke English as a second language. It was under those auspicious circumstances that a handful of fur and wrinkles sporting a wet nose became my sidekick through thick and thin.

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I joke that Sydney is my longest lasting relationship, but the truth is…she was. She moved with me from one coast to another several times, living in So Cal, Cleveland, NYC, Connecticut, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Southern Utah. She knew what it meant when the moving boxes came out, and took it all in stride. She definitely saw me at my highs and my lows, but through both extremes never judged me. It was probably because her only focus in life was food, but I like to think it was unconditional love.

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Anyone who ever met Sydney has a story. Don’t get my dad started because you’ll get a recounting of the time she jumped from the back of the couch to the table to devour $80 worth of Berolina’s Bakery Christmas cookies, or he’ll go on about how she loved to eat entire bars of Ivory soap out of the shower whenever we were visiting. She earned the nickname “Sydmonster” from my then three year old niece, and for good reason.

Despite my explicit and repeated warnings never to leave anything accessible to her, anyone who ever babysat for Sydney has a story of how they didn’t think she could “jump/shimmy/unzip/unlock/decode” the “purse/bag/high school locker combo/suitcase/kitchen counter” to get into whatever they were trying to keep her away from. But she could. That list included bubble gum, entire loaves of bread, Subway sandwiches, Axe Body Spray, Ambien and many other items that if consumed should have killed her. But they didn’t. The dog had a stomach of steel. And more than nine lives. She was also a connoseuir of cheap beer. She only liked Bud Light, and if you put anything else in her bowl (especially Coors), she would snub it. Clearly she was my dog.

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In the end, I joked that Sydney was my little Evita. Her mind and spirit were as strong as the day she came into my life. She liked nothing better than to carry around a ball or a chew toy and have you try to get it from her. She jockeyed for position with the other two girls to always be in the thick of things, even as they knocked her down and ran over her. Her little body just couldn’t keep going, and it was finally time to say goodbye. After an afternoon cheeseburger and fries from In-N-Out, she left this world in what I believe was her ideal state…fat and happy.

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I said goodbye to my best friend this week. Five months shy of her 17th birthday. It’s a struggle to imagine life without her, and I have a hard time remembering life before her. She’s been a constant to me, and the emptiness in the house is glaring. I know it will get better with time, but I also know there will always be an empty spot where I expect her to be snoring away while she waits for her next meal…or opportunity to steal a meal.

Thanks, Syd, for all the memories and good times. I love you more than my luggage, and you’ll always have a place in my heart.

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7 responses to “end of an era

  1. You brought tears to my eyes as I look over and see my best friend who just had his 11th birthday. I dread the day. I’m so glad that Sydney had a human like you.

    • It’s the price we pay for all the good times they bring us. Doesn’t make it easier, but at least we know there will be others who need the love and attention from us. Thanks for the nice comment.

  2. Beautiful post. I think she also ate a piggy we got at Dave and Buster’s! I might even have a picture. I’ll look for it.

  3. Tiffany Rapplean

    I”m so sorry Sydney’s gone, and I know what you mean about the emptiness they leave when they go. These are some great pictures, and it’s cool to see how she changed over the years. Almost 17…that is an amazing long doggie life!

  4. Oh my gosh I’m crying. I’m so, so sorry. Even though we know they can’t be with us forever, it never seems like we have them long enough. I’m so glad we got to see Sydney when we visited in April. I so relate to the whole “longest relationship” thing. I’ve had my favorite cat for 15.5 years and I feel like for most of that time, he was one of the only men in my life I could really count on. I’m going to be a wreck when he goes. Hope your heart heals fast, my friend. 😦

  5. This beautiful tribute made me cry. So filled with true love for Syd and so descriptive of all things dog. I love my pups to the moon and I know that a day will come when I have to say goodbye. Sydney was so lucky to have you and I know your life was enriched by having her in it.

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