On Nov. 10, after almost 13 years securing a spot in the hearts of anyone who came to know her, our Siberian Husky, Natasha, peacefully said goodbye to her mountain life here on earth.
Ryan and I have been writing blogs for buzz.snow.com for almost a year now and when he posted his last week, I immediately thought that even though she was also my dog, that there wasn't a chance I could write anything even remotely as eloquent as he had.
After all, Natasha, who's image I had put into a photo frame enscribed "The Love of My Life, had been there for him during the most tumultuous times in his life. She had an unbreakable and beautiful bond with him that I could only hope to share in, but when I first met her, I didn't know if she would ever let me. Granted, their four year long love affair with the Vail Valley had been rudely interrupted when Ryan suddenly (at least in her mind) disappeared for a few weeks, having him then show up with a strange, allergy-ridden girl accompanied by bright lights and a treat-less camera crew.
As someone who considers themselves truly loyal and protective of the people I love, I could understand the reluctance and warnings I saw in her piercing blue eyes. She happily welcomed any pets I gave her, but I knew there was a line she was weary of having any other woman cross...any woman that could potentially break her best friend's heart again.
Flash forward 9 years to the day we found out that our "pretty girl" would be given her wings. Trying to make it as happy as possible, Ryan took her for one last hike in the gorgeous mountains that she had called home -- her favorite thing to do with her favorite person. Upon their return, I headed outside to welcome them home.
I wrapped my arms around Ryan then kneeled down to Tosh's level to pet the especially soft spot between her eyes like I had done thousands of times before. As I attempted to look into those crystal blue soul-windows, I assumed I would see the same confusion and fear we had so abruptly seen start in that last week, but instead received a surprise gift I will cherish forever. She stared at me and without hesitation, licked my nose -- twice.
She had kissed me many times before, but this was undoubtedly different. For that brief moment, she wasn't frightened or in pain. She knew exactly where she was, who she was with, and what she needed to do to help her adopted mommy through one of the hardest days of her life. In that wet kiss (that oddly enough never gave me hives), all I felt was unconditional love and acceptance -- the acceptance I had worried I would never genuinely earn.
She was telling me that it was okay. She knew that her best friend was in loving and protective hands and she was ready to go. She had had a wonderful life and she was thankful I had been part of it. I just hope she knew that the feeling was mutual.
-- Trista Sutter