Happy Valentine’s Day, readers!
Today is a weird day for me for many reasons. No, I am not one of those negative Nancy’s about the day itself. This day in particular is heavy for me because a year ago on this day my dog, Pal, passed away.
My family and I got Pal in 2001; he was only two months old. We had went to a pet store in upper Manhattan where the North Shore Animal League were holding adoptions for these sheltered/rescued puppies and dogs. In the prior months before we got Pal, we had lost our dog Lucky, who was actually the dog that my mother got back in 1987.
When we finally got into the city and into the pet store, my family and I didn’t know which one to adopt. A few minutes later, my mother comes back to me and sister, holding a tiny little white furball in her hands. We knew that he was the one, and that his name would be Pal.
Pal was extremely goofy and extremely friendly. He would run around the house, play with me and my sister, cause mayhem, and do the funniest things that we still talk about to this day. He would love to be groomed (because he was a lowkey diva), he used to love vanilla ice cream, and he absolutely loved to play in the snow. Pal gave us a run for our money; he wasn’t the easiest dog to take care of in his younger years, but all in all he was a good dog.
Even when Pal got older, he never stopped acting like a puppy. If anyone sat on the couch, he would get up right next to you and lay his entire body on you like a prince, waiting for you to pet him. (He would whine if you stopped. #Spoiled.) He was an odd one sometimes; for some strange reason we had bought cat treats by accident, but Pal still enjoyed them like they were the greatest thing on earth. He used to love taking his treats or toys and pretend to bury them. No seriously, he would take them, put them somewhere on the floor, pretend to dig a hole, and then act like nobody can’t see the treat/toy still. He was cute and quirky in his own way, and he tried to protect us at all costs.
One time, the cops had climbed into my living room window while I was asleep because someone had used our address has a prank phone call to the police, and I didn’t understand how they got past Pal.
… I walk inside the living room and Pal is all giddy and jumpy, playing with the female officer. Big dog, not a scary bone in his body whatsoever.
When Pal’s 14th birthday came around on June 30th, 2015, something in me told me that this was going to be the last birthday we would spend with him. We did our usual birthday celebration for Pal: we gave him his favorite thing in the absolute world; vanilla ice cream. I personally wished him one final Happy Birthday. Shortly after that, Pal began to get sick.
Pal passed away in his sleep on February 14th, 2016. His old heart gave out and was finally put to rest. He wasn’t suffering anymore. He was in doggy heaven, being young, free, and goofy; just how he always was. My father drove Pal to my grandparents house in Pennsylvania to bury him. That summer, I went to go visit his burial and put a little sunflower on top of it. In all honesty, I am actually tearing up while writing this. Remembering his last moments here are always going to be sad and difficult to relive, but Pal lived an amazing 15 years being such an amazing dog.
He showed me how to unconditionally love a living, breathing being. No matter how long he’s been gone, he will always be one of my best friends I’ve ever had.
A year later, my family and I finally decided that we are ready to finally allow another pet into our lives. Having a pet in the family really does add unconditional happiness and joy into their lives, and I think that’s something our family needs back. We can’t wait to officially call another dog ours, and add our new goofball in the family.
Valentine’s Day will forever leave my heart heavy because of Pal’s passing, and even though he’s not physically here, he will always be here in spirit.
Rest in Peace, boobie.