I love you. I may never meet you, I may never lay with you on a comfy bed or lick your hand, but believe me when I say - I love you.
My name is Viola, and for ten years I lived a beautiful life. Toys, doggie friends, a family. I loved everyone I met, and they loved me. My body changed as I aged, as we do, but I refused to let what happened on the outside affect how I felt on the inside. When the growth grew over my eye and blocked my vision, I still loved. I could still feel the happy warmth of the sun as I lay in the grass, no matter how little I could see. When the Valley Fever took hold untreated, finding its way into the corners of my body, I still loved. It would not stop me from snuffling into your hand searching for a missed crumb before dinner. And finally, when the bump on my foot became more than a bump, and cancer became a dirty word in my home, I still loved. My swollen paw could still hold my favorite toy as I poked and prodded its well-worn squeaker.
When I was returned to AAWL after ten years - with the growth, the cancer, and Valley Fever - I learned to love even more. I loved the people who did not know me, but loved on me and my failing body. I loved the woman who held my hand as I fell asleep, waking to see clearer than I have for years, no growth blocking my site. I loved the man who sat in my kennel and hugged me the first time we met.
Because no matter how I may look or what ails my body - what the valley fever, what the cancer can never take away - is my love. That will always be mine.
I hope I can find somebody to love me as I love them. As they walk the buildings with treats and praises, as they bend down and greet bouncy puppies or shy but loving bullies, I hope they see past my gray muzzle, the scars around my eye, and a smile that I imagine has aged as well as the rest of me. I won’t measure my remaining time in days or months, but in the moments I share with those who love me, in times I rally my inner puppy during playgroups, in the gazes I share with new friends and potential families. I hope they see the love I can give for as long as I am with this world, for as long as I am with them.
No matter what, remember that I love you. Even if we never meet, never share a gaze, I love you.
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AMAZING UPDATE: I have a new dad! He lost his senior dog a month before he met me, and he told me he wanted to give another senior dog the best years of their life. Now we are together, and my life is full of happiness and love.Thank you to everyone who helped share my story!