I took Wiggles' life personally, made every effort to give him the best food, the freshest water, lots of great places to play and walk and sleep, and yet ... time took its toll. The ravages of age crept up on him, and although I didn't want to see it, looking back now on the many photos I took of him over the years, it's clear that he wasn't feeling 'up to snuff' as early as midway through 2008, more than two years before he returned to Heaven.
From the first time we laid eyes on each other, we were a pair, a team, a match made in Heaven. Wiggles and I knew each other so well, were so attuned to each other that we often felt like one rather than two. We enjoyed life immensely, loved to work and play, walk and run, dream and sleep the sleep that comes from days well lived.
Wiggles Blue Heeler lives within me still; he always will. There is no doubt in my mind that a big part of me lives in his soul for all eternity. Here of late, Wiggles comes to me in a new way, through the life of Good Boy, the blind senior blue heeler (Australian Cattle Dog / ACD) that God and Wiggles sent me to rescue on March 2nd, 2011.
As I work in our yard and do springtime things like scrub and refill birdbaths, replenish topsoil, pull weeds, etc., I'm keenly aware of Wiggles' presence. He is looking out for me as he always did -- as he always will -- and the sweetness of his love and loyalty still knock me to my knees in prayers of thanksgiving!
Good Boy is learning to trust and become my dog, and Wiggles has a paw in this process. It's clear that Wiggles is guiding Good Boy in his antics, and sometimes I can almost see Wiggles in his old spot on the other couch, quietly watching me with eyes of utmost love and affection, letting me know that he is glad my heart is healing. Still, at some time each day and night, the lump rises in my throat and tears sting my eyes as the tsunami of grief comes washing o'er me.
For all the well-meaning, kind folks that try to understand, there are no words to offer them that sound anything but strange, even to me. They cannot know -- how could they know? -- the bond, the love, the two-halves-of-one-whole, that Wiggles and I were, are and always will be.
Good Boy is here in our home, going places with me in our lil truck, and enjoying our yard. He has come so far from his first days and weeks of pain and abject terror. Wiggles has helped me to help Good Boy, shoring me up when fatigue and frustration threatened to overwhelm me. Wiggles has been always with me through family issues, ever loyal and loving, no matter how strained things have been.
It's personal, this love of ours, and yet, I must write about it, because writing about it is like giving Wiggles another 'hugabug,' a way to wrap his dear self in my embrace and drink in his sweet fragrance (never, ever 'doggy') and hold his silken paw in my hand. As his book is written, and the chapters come out to meet the world, I will still take it personally, because no one else can share the miracles of Wiggles but me. For that, there are no words to encompass everything, but I will personally share fifty sweet memories of him. Each will be a gift from him, through me to readers, to soak into hardened or broken hearts and heal them. Wiggles lived every moment to love me, and he needs for me to share as much as I am able, what he was about during the dozen years he trod this earth as my-dog-but-so-much-more.
Stand by, world! Distilling the love of Wiggles cannot be rushed, though I know it is needed by so many. As I take it personally, it will be his to give the world, one heart at a time.
By Julie Kay Smithson