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Two days ago was one of the saddest, most horrible days of my whole life.
In my grief, I spent the entire day and most of the night full of self-doubt. Scrutinizing every detail of the past several days. Second-guessing every decision I had made and every action I had taken — or didn’t take. Trying to calculate whether I could have or should have done something more, something quicker, something better, or something different that might have made things turn out differently.
Torturing myself, wondering if I had done anything or not done anything that might have actually made things worse.
A few of our closest friends reassured me that I had done exactly the right things — the most loving, unselfish things that anyone can ever do for a beloved pet that is an incredibly important member of their family.
My wife reassured me over and over that I had done everything that I could do — and that I had done all of the right things. That I had done the only things that I could have done out of love for our little Mini.
But no matter who tried to make me feel better, I was completely inconsolable.
Late that night, exhausted, I lay in bed, continuing to replay every recent memory I could think of over and over, unable to find the missing puzzle piece that would reassure me and bring me peace.
I had hoped that sleep would eventually bring me some relief, but when I finally fell asleep, it was fitful. I remember waking up several times during the night, sometimes after only 15 or 20 minutes. And each time, the tremendous sense of loss and the deep, empty aching in my heart washed over me immediately.
But at 5:00 in the morning, I had an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime dream that ended my agony, confirmed my beliefs, woke me up, and made me eager for my wife to wake up, so that I could tell her about it.
In my dream, I was sitting at my desk, facing my computer screen, just like I’m doing right now. But Mini was sitting in the middle of my desk, right in front of my monitor, looking at me expectantly. She looked strong and healthy, and her coat was shiny, with the dark, rich-colored markings of her youth.
In real life, there is no way that Mini could ever, or would ever, have been sitting in the middle of my desk, but in my dream, it seemed perfectly normal that she was there.
Just like I had done thousands of times before, I leaned forward slightly and gently cupped her right shoulder with my left hand, as I stroked her velvety smooth, warm little head with my right hand. Her ears went back in her long-familiar “smile.”
And just like I had also done thousands of times before, I leaned forward a little further and softly pressed my lips against the place right behind where her snout meets her head — in the way that she had always loved for me to “cuddle” her. For several seconds, I gave her tiny, gentle, comforting kisses as I continued to stroke her little head.
Then she did something that took me by surprise — something that she hasn’t done in many, many years: She gave me several happy puppy kisses all over my face.
You’re welcome, my little sweetheart. You’re very, very welcome.
And thank you.
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