A Different Year


We’re less than 24-hours out. The start of a new year, a new beginning, a chance to do things over, better or different. And, boy will it be differen for me. I will begin 2022 without Piper.

Since October 2008, she has been my constant companion. Although she shared the limelight with her brother Cooper until March of 2014, she ruled the roost from the very day we brought her home.

She was the feistiest of the litter and her personality pulled me to her like a magnet. I wanted to name her Palin (appropriate for the times) but was outvoted by my husband (at the time). He thought it was too controversial. So, I named her Piper. Little did he realize, Piper was Palin’s daughter’s name. Guess, I got the last laugh.

Piper was bossy, sassy, and pranced around like a princess. She knew when I felt low or sick and stuck to me like glue. She was there when my husband left, through three moves, and every illness I faced. When we moved into our new home, she guarded the corner like it was her own special place in the world. Our neighbors knew her well.

Her favorite places were perched on the top of my sofa, or the pillow wrapped around my head every night.

When I returned to work to help out with Covid, Piper sulked. She didn’t like me being away. Janet, Bill & Missy, her surrogate family, and next-door neighbors were gracious enough to take her into their home on the days I worked. Piper loved them and they, her. Those days of walking with Missy and lying next to Janet or Bill brought joy to her life and I’m forever grateful. You can check out Janet’s tribute here, Piper.

On December the 20th, Piper became very ill. She was in excruciating pain from massive tumors that seemed to appear from nowhere. She had been with me through every joyous and hard moment in my life over the last thirteen years. Now, it was my turn. I could not help – except to let her go; anything less would have been selfish. It was heartbreaking. I loved her. She’d been there for me. The least I could do was be there for her.

Just like when I had to say goodbye to her brother, Cooper, I wrapped my arms around her and told her all the things she meant to me, how much I loved her, and all the things I would miss. Then, I sang to her – “You are my Sunshine.”

Piper brought so much joy to my life and to those around her. She took her job, being my sidekick, protector, and partner in crime seriously and along the way, taught me a few life lessons.

She taught me loyalty, the power of touch or a snuggle, the joy of a walk even when you didn’t feel like it, and the importance of making connections.

Piper, in the short time we lived in this neighborhood, left her mark. For a week after her passing, I couldn’t go to the door without finding a flower arrangement, gift, cards, or other expressions of sympathy. The whole neighbor felt her loss.

I pray when my time comes, my presence will have such an impact and legacy.

Christmas was different this year. We missed Piper, a favorite time of year for her. There will be many more occasions we pause and remember our girl. Our fur babies are family and a gift from God. I’m grateful for all the love and memories of the last thirteen years. I am confident she is running through the fields next to Cooper and have no doubt, they will one day run to meet me with their tails wagging and bunches of kisses.

Here’s a look back at Piper being Piper.

7 thoughts on “A Different Year

  1. Sheila, this is beautiful. I cried through the whole thing. Piper was a sweetheart and we loved her like a part of our family. I loved seeing the pictures of her – she was quite a special little girl. Thank you for sharing her with the Alden family and everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, my heart! Such a loving tribute to your precious Piper. Made me think of my daughter’s little dog, a Maltese/dachsund mix, cutest thing! She had him for nearly 15 years, and it broke all of our hearts when she knew it was time to put him down, for his own sake.

    Thanks for sharing your story, Sheila. It’s good to hear from you.

    Liked by 1 person

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