"She was a good girl" - is what we all have said.
My friends' strong and good greyhound Ivy passed away recently. She was on a walk - her favorite thing - on a beautiful day - her favorite kind of day. It wasn't that she had been sick. Instead, she unexpectedly had a massive heart attack.
Our hearts have been broken at the loss.
My friends adopt greyhounds from the race track. They have had different dogs during the time that I've known them, these past 15 or so years - usually two at a time. They have ensured that their dogs have nice days in their latter years, have welcomed them into their lives. Often they have overlapped dogs - when one has passed away, they have adopted a second one so as to keep their now-solitary dog good company while they are at work.
Ivy was different. She came as one of a pair - with Scruff as her best friend. It was a perfect match. Scruff was slightly aloof though always gentle - a beautiful boy, and very protective of his friend Ivy. (He has been a little sweet on me too at times, and acts as though a celebrity has arrived whenever I come to visit.) Ivy had a powerful chest and strong smile - willing to bond and bother, always a little underfoot, but in an endearing way - especially at dinner time. She had a joie de vivre that we all should have as we live these days that we call our lives.
Over the past year or so, Scruff had started to slow down a little - still interested in going for a walk, but not so much a long one. Ivy continued with her unbridled enthusiasm. I really had come to expect that my friends would lose Scruff in the next year or so - but I had no such thoughts about Ivy. This is why it came as such a shock to us all, when she passed away.
Ivy had a song within her - a song that she could share at random, or upon request. Sometimes she would start barking for what she wanted - which garnered no desired response - and then she would (as if on cue) switch the bark to a song-like baying - "rooing," as I've heard it call - and then the humans would laugh and be charmed, and then she (usually) would be given whatever item she desired. She knew what worked, that's for sure. And we knew that she shared without hesitation.
So good for Ivy - if she had to pass away - that she left us while doing exactly what she loved - taking a walk with Scruff and her human being, all on a lovely summer morning.
I will miss her. And I will miss her song.