March 13, 2011

Dear Kempton

I miss you so much.

The house is so empty and quiet, and I think about you 1,000 times a day.

It's so hard to break the 9 year habit of taking care of you and worrying about you...

Did I remember to feed Kempton?

Where is he?

Is he getting into something?

What time do I have to be home to let him out to pee?

Can we bring him with if we go overnight?

Did he take his medication?

And sometimes I forget that you are gone. I left a piece of rotisserie chicken on the floor for 15 minutes the other day before I stepped on it and then realized that you weren't there to clean it up.

Mornings when I wake up and you are not there, and coming home from work are the worst, but night times are hard too and I would give anything to bury my face in your fur, kiss you on your muzzle, or to snuggle with you on the couch.

I am so, so sorry that I couldn't make you better. And that I put you through so much in order to selfishly keep you with me.

You and I went through so much together, and I am so grateful that I had you around to make me laugh, keep me company, talk to (though I still talk to you all the time without thinking...pretty soon I'll just have to admit that I am crazy and talk to myself), snuggle with, protect me, follow me around and keep me from feeling alone.

You took care of me just as much (and probably more) as I took care of you. Do you remember when Grandma Grow was dying and Jim couldn't understand why I wanted to take you up north with me? He thought that it would just be one more thing for me to worry about. But then half way up to Falls, you stood behind me on the back seat and put your head on my shoulder, and made sure I knew that I wasn't alone.

Or when Jim and I were going through the divorce, and I spent the afternoon crying on the couch. As soon as I left to go to the bathroom, you ate the entire pile of wet you were hiding the evidence so no one would know I was crying.

There were so many times like when Steve had surgery to remove his cancer and you laid next to him on the couch with your head across his lap and wouldn't let anyone else get close to him. Or when another dog would run towards me and you would throw yourself in between us or ram them with your chest to protect me...even if I didn't need protecting.

...but there were also funny times, and frustrating times (like when you ate Cal's hacky-sack and then puked it up one week later; or when you chewed up my eyeglasses; or when you accidentally locked yourself in the bathroom and then destroyed it trying to get out).

You were unlike any dog I've ever met.

Maybe it was your breeding.

Maybe it was because you were a rescued dog.

Maybe because I am dysfunctional and needy, so you became dysfunctional and needy too.

I'm not sure, but I appreciated the fact that you were stubborn and naughty.

Your howl never failed to make me laugh, even when you were doing it scold me or talk back when I yelled at you.

You had such a strong and unique personality, and even the vet said that they had never seen a character like yours. Dr.Bouchard sobbed when you died, and two of the technicians and one of the front desk girls bawled as well.

I am not the only one who misses you either. You wouldn't believe the number of cards and emails and phone calls I've recieved. And last weekend, when I went up to the cabin, Grandpa lit off a firework display in your honor.

Your friends miss you too. Steph, Chad and Koho came up this weekend to visit, and Koho wandered around the house and the yard searching for you. He seemed down and out of sorts all night on Friday night. Aly was the same way when Lyndi brought her over last Thursday. She searched for you high and low, and then just went and laid down and gave me dirty looks, like she knew that it was my fault that you weren't here.

I know that you are having fun wherever you are now. I know that Grandma Grow is feeding you milk bones and Bailey and Kody are letting you beat them to the ball (though I'm certain that Bailey still isn't letting you hump her). I hope that you have a big couch to sleep on, and someone to spoon you and listen to you snore.

When we get your ashes back, we are going to sprinkle some in the back yard (and on the other side of the fence, where the deer are and where you always wanted to be); some on Park Point where we used to park the boat and have fires and walk down the beach; on Rainy Lake at the cabin where you loved to be; and in Kempton channel where we got your name. Grandpa said he would like to put some of your ashes with some of Bailey's ashes, so you could be together. Auntie Steph said she would like to have some too, so that someday when Koho dies, you can be with your best friend again. And lastly, I am going to keep some for myself. Because I know that your favorite place to be was right by me. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

You were so much more than just a dog to me, Kempton. You were my best friend. I will always miss you and never, ever forget you.

I love you,


A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.  ~Josh Billings
 You think dogs will not be in heaven?  I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.  ~Robert Louis Stevenson
 There is no faith which has never yet been broken, except that of a truly faithful dog.  ~Konrad Lorenz
 In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semi human.  The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog.  ~Edward Hoagland
 The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's.  ~Mark Twain, letter to W.D. Howells, 2 April 1899
 We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults.  Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment.  ~George Eliot
 I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love.  For me they are the role model for being alive.  ~Gilda Radner
 A dog is not "almost human" and I know of no greater insult to the canine race than to describe it as such.  ~John Holmes

 "Near this spot are deposited the remains of one who possessed Beauty without Vanity, Strength without Insolence, Courage without Ferocity, and all the Virtues of Man, without his Vices.  This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery if inscribed over human ashes, is but a just tribute to the Memory of Kempton, a Dog."

1 comment:

  1. They will not go quietly, the pets who've shared our lives. In subtle ways they let us know their spirit still survives. Old habits still can make us think we hear them at the door or step back when we drop a tasty morsel on the floor. Our feet still go around the place the food dish used to be, and sometimes, coming home at night we miss them terribly. And although time may bring new friends and a new food dish to fill, that one place in our hearts belongs to them...and always will.
    xo Kempton. BAAAWOOOOO!