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In Memory of Alabaster

What can you say when a dog so special comes into your life and just a quickly leaves? A hole is left behind. I knew Albert (Alabaster) was sick when I agreed to hospice foster him. I knew he likely had less than a year left, but I also knew I would make that year the best year of his life. I took Albert everywhere with me and he charmed everyone he met with his toothless smile and his gigantic tongue that always hung out. He loved to wear his sweaters and bark at me to greet me. I loved him as my own and he was part of my pack. My younger frenchies always treated him with respect and were never rough with him. It was like they sensed he was fragile. He was very quirky and endearing. I had secretly hoped he would pass quietly in his sleep, but that was not the case. His advanced heartworm disease and kidney failure were catching up to him and I had to make the decision "do I let him pass with some dignity or do I prolong his life as long as possible so I don't have to choose?" I chose dignity. I found this poem and it embodies everything about our relationship. I miss him everyday and he has forever changed my life for the better.

One by one, they pass my cage,
A little old dog, arthritic with age.
Way past his prime, can't run and can’t play.
They shake their heads slowly and go on their way.

When I had come to the end of my rope,
You looked at my face and I finally had hope.
You saw through the gray and the legs bent with age,
And felt I still had life beyond this cage.

You took me home, gave me food and a bed,
And shared your own pillow with my poor tired head.
We snuggle and play and you talk to me low,
You love me so dearly, you want me to know.

I may be with you for a week or for years,
We will share many smiles, you will shed tears.
And when the time comes that God deems I must leave,
I know you will cry and your heart, it will grieve.

I promise to return all the love I can give,
To you, my dear person, as long as I live.
When I arrive at the Bridge healthy and new,
Please remember that forever my heart is with you.