Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The First Dog I Ever Loved

The Flora family lost a valuable member this week. Taylor, our sweet lab, died on Tuesday almost two weeks after she collapsed during her morning walk and we discovered she had a mass in her chest. Graham and I were by her side, petting her, as she quietly took her last breath.

I never had a dog of my own growing up; I didn't have that responsibility or connection. I was never a dog person, and I never understood why someone would call his or her dog his or her best friend. I was actually afraid of most large dogs until I met Taylor. 

My time with Taylor taught me more than I could have ever repaid her for.

She made me a more patient person. She held me accountable. She gave me practice in having someone entirely dependent on me that would become more imperative when Victoria arrived. She was patient with our toddler as Victoria jumped on her back as if she were horse. When I was sad, she comforted me. Her unconditional love was an example to all of us. She was also our protector. We never felt afraid with Taylor by our side. She was our travel companion, our hiking buddy. She tested the waters for us nearly every time we visited a body of water.

She witnessed Graham's growth. Our family began with just Graham and Taylor alone in his Phoenix apartment. She was his only friend when he first moved to Phoenix, before he would meet me and we would begin our journey to marriage and, now, parenthood. She was there for everything: the highs and the lows.

In her final days and moments she reminded me to be grateful for our memories, to accept change as it comes, to let go, to not fear and to not waste any more time not making our goals a reality. Life is too short.

Tomorrow we will be picking up Taylor's ashes. We plan to take some with us on our travels, because that was one of our favorite things to do together. She will always be with us.

If you are reading this, do me a favor? Hug your pet a little bit tighter today.

One of our last photos of Taylor.

Favorite posts featuring Taylor:

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