I miss her so much! I miss her warmth and humor and sweetness. I miss the 9-week-old puppy that entered our house for the first time and immediately took over. Fearlessly exploring every inch. Throwing herself at the couch in frustration that she couldn’t jump up by herself. I miss the old dog, who barely ever left her dog bed on the floor, who sometimes stood miserably by the couch, remembering that she could no longer jump up by herself.
When she was barely a year old, we moved to Boston. David was in school full time, and it took me a little while to find a job and to make friends. Steenbeck was as good a friend as you would ever want. David got out of bed at 6 am, and Steenbeck would move up and put her head on his pillow, and lie alongside me. We’d sit on the bench in the park. She sat next to me, and she was so tall, and had such lovely shoulders, that I could just sling my arm around her neck, and she’d lean up against me. A woman once scolded me for letting Steenbeck put her paws on the bench, so she sat on my lap, and leaned up against me, and together we watched everyone in the park.
She was with us for one third of our life. And our life changed so much in that time. The life of a dog is so fast and full of grace, and it makes you think, more than you might want to, about time passing. I mourn her, and I selfishly mourn the person I was when we got her. So many memories are hopelessly tangled with memories of Steenbeck. It’s painful but strangely precious to sort through them now.
I miss her speed and strength and beauty. She was so full of life it was almost frightening sometimes! I miss her stillness, too. I can’t describe the comfort of lying next to her when I couldn’t sleep, or didn’t feel well, and all of her strength and energy were contained in this beautiful quiet warmth.
So here I am, with an aching emptiness where Steenbeck used to be, crying over the last three pieces of apple in my cereal bowl.