What is on my mind. Hmm.
Well, I wake up this morning and first thing I see is a text from Austin telling me that Sheila is dead. My perfect, wonderful Sheila.There are people in the room, getting ready for the day, and I recede under a pile of pillows and blankets, fighting off the tears. After spending thirty minutes curled up in my bed, I make it to the bathroom where I spend an hour and a half sitting under the shower head, to get away from the eyes and ears.
The sobs come out. I haven’t wept like this in years. I think about when we found out her mama, Nikki, was pregnant. I think about those months, visiting Ms. Debbie’s house and watching the entire pregnancy as an ten year old girl who had just lost her first dog. I think about the night she was finally born. I think about when we picked the perfect one for us, and I think about when we decided to give her her name. There were a lot to choose from- Domino (she had two spots on her forehead as a pup.), Dot (same reason. Originality at its finest.) Australia (“Aussie” for short, but we decided against it, since Bekah started calling Austin “Aussie.”), and a few others. We finally picked Sheila. I remember we kids were soo pleased with that name. She was a blue heeler, which was an Australian breed, so of course we had to give her a name which boasted of her heritage, right? So proud.
I remember when we took her to puppy school every week, and I remember working with her all day everyday, drilling her to make sure she earned that important doggy diploma. I remember those floppy ears which soon became half-up, half-down, which soon became upright and noble. She grew up. I remember how she loved it when we moved to our fifty-four acre property in the country, where she not only chased deer and rabbits, but the birds in the air. She was convinced she would catch them.
I think about the last time I saw her. It was 4:30a, and I had to be at the airport by 5:30a. I wouldn’t leave until I had hugged her goodbye. Even though I woke her up, she happily ran to me and licked my face, squirming and wagging her tail as I held her to me. I love this dog. She really is one of my dearest friends. I’ll miss her.
I think about how I’ll never see her again.
I finally emerge from the bathroom, all cried out, and put on my “life goes on” attitude. It does, anyway, go on. I walk out to the kitchen where the kids ask my questions about my dog.
“What color was she?”
“Black and blue and tan.”
“Was she a good dog?”
“Was she smart?”
“Too smart, honestly.”
“Will you miss her?”
“More than ever.”
I get back to my room, where I read the newest text from Austin. I had asked him, once I got out of the shower and had come to terms with this, how she had died.
“She was just asleep.”
Oh, so she died in her sleep. That’s good. Peaceful. I wonder why though. She wasn’t sick…
I call my brother. “In her sleep?”
“Anita, she was just sleeping…”
“Yeah, I saw her sleeping, and you know how she looks dead when she sleeps, I was just kidding-“
I’m furious. I never want to speak to this child again. “HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?!” and I crumble into tears again. I hear a snicker. He’s laughing. LAUGHING. He thinks this is FUNNY. He said he was just “joking.” I hang up.
He texts back.
“Aren’t you overreacting?”
All that to say, my dog is alive, guys! My brother, on the other hand….might not have much longer. >_>