One day she was here. The next day she was gone. A week later you came home with a funny smelling box. I think that was my sister, but I couldn’t be sure. You let me sniff it for a little while and then you put it away. For those of you who have had dogs who grew up together, you know that we don’t all go to the rainbow bridge at the same time. One pooch usually travels before the other. Calliope was fourteen, a lot older than I am. She had a lot of problems with her teeth. Sometimes you added a lot of water to her food to make it easier for her, especially after she had teeth removed. I don’t think she had too many left. You called her Twinks and put a Chanel bow in her hair. Maija, one of your girlfriends, loved her very much and made a big fuss over her when we all walked together.
I came into her life long after she was part of our household. She was shy, “reactive,” and smelled of old things I find along the beach. When I was a puppy, I tried to steal her food, but she told me immediately her bowl was off limits. I admired her for that. I have kept my nose out of her food ever since. When it came to important things like food and treats, she let me know what she wanted
People asked me if I miss her. It’s hard to explain to you how we were together. When we drove to California, I took up a lot of space in the back of the car and she usually curled up next to me. Every once in awhile, she would put her head on my back, very gently, but mostly she kept her distance if she could. We shared the same dining space, but were very, very different kinds of dogs. I am an extrovert. She is an introvert. (Remember, I have a very large vocabulary.) It may have looked like we weren’t paying attention to each other. She didn’t talk to me much. She barely wagged her tail at me, but when I came home from my many adventures being a therapy dog, wagging my tail like mad and jumping around and leaping into the air as usual, she was at the door looking quietly at me, telling me she was still my elder no matter how many exciting people pet me. After a quick, sneaky, sidelong sniff to find out where I had been, she resumed her spot in a curled up position under the dining room table, away from everybody.
When I was off doing a job, I liked knowing she was home taking care of business. Before she didn’t come home, she took her walks separately because she was slow and couldn’t go further than around the block. She received her daily meals, her pets, our walks together around the neighborhood without nagging, not like me. She accepted everything with love. She taught me gratitude and acceptance. I am grateful she was my sister, and I accept that she is no longer with us.