First there was only weeping, because we said goodbye too suddenly and after too short a time together, to our dear Newfoundland, Pearl on New Year's Eve. No revelry there. I woke up New Year's Day with with what felt like a steel-toed boat in my chest. As people tell you in situations such as this -- indeed, as you learn yourself with enough time on Earth -- it eases a little with passing days and months, though I can say that with less than a week under my belt . . . well, anyway.
No wallowing. I looked back here yesterday to see what I could find about Pearlie, and the task won me a little relief. It also made me want to stipulate some of the best things about The Best Dog.
1. Pearl gave hugs in three ways: by standing up and putting her great forelegs on your shoulders; by simply leaning against your thighs; or by walking boldly between your legs. This last came with the expectation that you would rub her butt.
2. Sirens made her sing. I mean really, really sing.
3. She liked to chase passing Harleys. Bikes with smaller engines did not do it for her.
4. She was an expert counter-surfer. This actually was kind of a pain in the neck, to be honest. She was known to have eaten at least one entire pizza.
5. Pearl caused people to stop their cars when they saw us out walking. "What kind of dog is that?" they'd ask. Some had heard of the breed. Those who hadn't usually tried to repeat the name, and would ultimately mispronounce it, as if they'd never heard of the Canadian province. But no one ever failed to smile. And once they'd start talking to us, Pearl pulled on her leash to insist on saying hello. Tail wag. Paws on open window. Sigh.
6. She was sweet with Roscoe. Mostly. And when she wasn't, he started it.
7. Her most mischievous act was to jump the backyard fence to chase deer.
8. She loved snow. It made her move faster on our walks, but she also loved to just lie in it.
9. Pearl knew that "Nap with the Mama?" had a particular meaning. It meant, "Follow me to the bedroom, and curl up with me." Which she did.
10. She was so soft. So soft. In every way.