Life’s kinda rough. Not saying it’s isn’t beautiful or anything like that, but to be frank the best part is easily those who love you. The ones who choose to love you are pretty awesome and the ones that pretty much have to get a slightly bigger high-five.
Then there are dogs, who have to love you for survival but choose to love you simply because dogs are the effing best and that’s what they do. The Mendola family dog for the past dozen or so years has been named Auggy. She’s a jet-black lab who joined our family for my brother’s 10th birthday, which happened to fall approximately 3,650 days after he started asking for a dog on a daily basis.
While I’d love to wax poetic about Auggy’s love for swimming, walks with my parents, lazying around with my brother Sam or my personal adoration for using her as a pillow — something that became impossible over the past few months and slayed my heart — there’s one thing that isn’t said enough about dogs: the lessons they teach you about your family are invaluable. I know more about the character of my father, mother and siblings because of Auggy. She was also kind enough to show some silver hairs as she got older to match my father’s salt-and-mostly-pepper stylings.
By now I’m sure you’ve realized that Auggy left us today, but not before teaching us a few more things about each other. Aug had a tumor on her heart that made it hard for her to run, digest and breathe, but I’ll be damned if she didn’t give us one more vintage Auggy day on her last one here. She was a cuddler, a nuzzler and a jester right up until the moment she quietly drifted away from us.
I thank God that my family found Auggy and she found us. I hope the thousands of tears shed, and pets petted showed her just want she means to us. That dog will live as long as we do, settling into the parts of our souls that bring us joy. I love you, kid.
I’d also like to thank the veterinarians and techs at the Brighton Eggert Animal Clinic. You could not pay me enough to have to shepherd families and dogs through that process and they’ve got their bedside manner down to a science (a sad science, but a necessary one).