So George was dead. How she had loved him! She had fallen in love with him from the first moment they met. She had looked into his eyes and was seriously smitten. There was no going back and she knew it. They just fitted together, two peas in a pod, meant for each other. It was like destiny had determined their meeting. She had not intended going to the centre that day, but somehow found herself there, and as they say – the rest is history. They were rarely apart. Where you saw one you saw the other. If she was ever on her own people asked “how’s George - not with you today?” – almost surprised that she would be without him. She had wondered if the love affair would dwindle but it seemed to only grow. She missed him when apart or if she went on holidays - as flying was not for him, thereby she settled for staycations where they could be together.
The years flew, the love grew and her soul was immersed in his. She often wondered had they met in a previous life, in a different form whereby their spirits just needed to reconnect in this life. His traits and habits seemed almost familiar to her from the outset. They grew together in love and friendship. She confided in him like no other and he was such a wonderful listener. He just gazed at her with those soft caring brown eyes and let her relay all her fears, worries and concerns. She shared her day at school and told stories about her students to him. He was just content in her presence. She never felt such love before. He seemed to adore her. She was his queen. He was her protector. She had never bonded like this before.
She remembered when her mother died, and how he just left her hold him and relay all her fears and sadness and heartache, patiently allowing her to offload, just gently withdrawing after what seemed like hours to go and get a drink. He was kind to other people too, always helping old Mrs Burke to cross the road. Everyone felt safe and protected when he was close. She often wondered if he loved her as much as she loved him, but then she’d see him looking at her with those loving eyes and she knew he was hers as much as she was his. No words were ever needed, they were a pair, they fit.
His illness came quite suddenly and was so unexpected. They had been together for fifteen years. Fifteen wonderful years - sure he was getting older, weren’t we all! She wasn’t in the first flush of youth when she met him after all, and she knew it wouldn’t last forever. But when the end came it was still like a bolt of lightning and a shock to her spirit. Lung disease they were told. He had looked at her and his eyes that once were so bright and full of life and mischief were dulled. Was it with pain or effort to breathe? She did not know. She knew it was time to let him go, with dignity and with love, but she did not want to say goodbye. How was she going to go on without him? Her world, her life revolved around him and their life together. All their little rituals, and habits and ways, she couldn’t imagine life without him. He was her soul mate, her precious, precious friend. The ache in her heart was unbearable. She knew her life without him would be so empty without him. They belonged together; she did not want a life without him.
She brought him home for one more night. She knew that was what he wanted and she did too, more than anything. He was comfortable, lying on the sofa, but he was so quiet, so still - and those sad eyes! “I’ll always love you, you know - you do know that don’t you?” She whispered to him. She sat beside him, with the fire burning, sipping a glass of red wine. Her heart ached, but she knew also that it was for the best that he let go now. He was suffering and expending so much energy just to breathe. “I love you George, always have, always will, thank you for everything, miss you already, but love you more”. He gazed at her with love, but remained quiet. She must have dosed during the night, even though she had intended to remain awake with him. When she woke he was gone. Her love was gone! He had left while she slept, gone to a different place. He was still warm as she kissed his head over and over. “Goodbye George, goodbye my friend, I’ll love you always, you were the best dog in the world!”