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.
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.
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.
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.
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.