I think this is one of my favorite memories of Heidi: taking her to Santa Rita on a beautiful blue-sky day, and letting her explore while I strolled or sat, deep in my own thoughts. She'd come trotting back to me all the time, grinning, visiting with me, before heading off on her next sniff adventure. She never liked to roughhouse with the other dogs; she preferred to do her own thing, but she was always ready to go home with me as soon as I said the word.
Heidi shared my bed every night since I was in middle school. We learned all sorts of things together: how to do tricks, run an agility course, romp. She saw me through all those years, through my saddest and happiest days, through family events and all those relationships. And when I went away to college, and my parents took over her care, she accompanied them through job changes and birthdays, always with that dogginess of living in the moment.
And she always made people smile. Even the ones who didn't like "little fluffy dogs" seemed to gravitate toward her, her sweetness and perpetual grin always won them over. My mom said that even when she took her outside of her office at work, on the last day, that she made the postman smile. Mom wrote to me, "We were lucky, weren't we?"
I was so grateful for all the messages of sympathy and love that came from people who knew her, for we all grew up together. Even more so, I am grateful to have gotten the news here in Colorado with Robert and Julia, and that we could mourn together the loss of our family member.
I feel somehow that her passing also signals some change for me. The things I thought I would be, when I held her as a puppy, never came true. I've changed so much in the course of her life, moved all over the country, changed jobs and future plans and now? Now, she that most strongly meant "home" for me, that somehow despite all my changes, anchored me into myself, and that shaped the person that I am, is gone.
She has left us here, holding memories and the trappings of her life, trembling with the sensation of gratitude.