My friend Erin, a great animal lover and our friend, was one of the first to learn that Bradley has a highly aggressive form of cancer. Her wisdom was to encourage me to write a letter from Bradley to me. Here it is:
I see how sad you are today. Me too. I don’t want to leave this place by your side ever. Life is so very wonderful with you and Beth. I feel very happy and loved.
I want you to know a few things that may help us both. I have heard you talk about gratitude a lot and I want you to that I am very grateful, too. And it’s because of you. Yep, you!
First of all, you have been feeding me like a king! I still can’t get over how great you are buying and cooking food just for me. I have felt healthy and powerful eating this great food and I know I’ve lived longer and happier because you have made that choice. It has made me feel like a treasured member of the family, not just a pet.
Second thing – you talk to me like a friend, not an animal. When you look at me I see a person who cares about me enough to treat me with dignity and friendship – like I matter. I am lucky to have you as a friend.
Third, you play with me, sit with me, walk me in the middle of the night, lie down next to me and pet me. I always feel that you make time to be with me. I feel loved – even when I’ve done something naughty – because you always come back and forgive me.
In these last 7 months, I have been so lucky to ride in a truck! I have loved it so much, but I think you know that. You and Beth made a comfy nest for me in a big seat just for me. Thanks!
I’m a little, old rescue dog who can get kind of snarky and viscous at times. (Sorry about that, by the way.) But seriously, you guys took a chance on an ill-mannered southern boy with a scruffy beard and premature grey, wiry hair. You could have gotten another Lab or some other pure breed but you picked me. Thanks. I’m one lucky mutt.
I know that it takes a lot of extra effort and money to care, feed, worry, find a sitter and one hundred other things that we dogs don’t notice. But my hope is this – you know that I’ve tried my best to be a loving dog for all these years. I hope I made you half as happy as you’ve made me, Scotty!
Listen, dying sucks. Getting old sucks. Big changes like these really, really suck. So, It’s okay to be sad, mad or just zone out. Take my advice and don’t forget to live your wonderful life even while mine is ending. It’s all good, big guy.
I don’t want our time together to end with too much drama. I’d rather be remembered as your fun playmate, your friend and protector. (That UPS truck was evil, man!)
Seriously, don’t get too serious. I know that you want to grieve. But that doesn’t mean be sad and moody. It means be present. Be open. Talk about us with a sparkle in your eye, not just a tear. Will you do that for me? I want you to be happy. I love you!
Now, let’s eat!