I'm going to start this out with the disclaimer that this is not one of my happiest columns, though — in considering it to be about the celebration of life — perhaps it should be.
This story starts out with a puppy face; not from a pouty child trying to get his or her way but rather with an actual puppy.
A soft-coated wheaton terrior, to be exact, and the central focus of a recent tragedy brought upon my family.
Wynie was a family dog that entered our lives about five years ago. She was just so cute at the pet store that my parents spent their "discretionary" dollars on adding a member to the family rather than purchasing a new window to replace the one that has needed replacing since we moved to my childhood home.
That, was Wynie.
Now, if you haven't picked up on the trend yet — that was Wynie.
Wynie was put to sleep on Tuesday afternoon after a last-resort dog therapist my parents consulted said there was nothing to do about Wynie's progressively worsening and more frequent aggressive behaviors. Wynie, in the past 12 months, had agressive outbursts toward not only the other two dogs she lived with (an older golden retriever and a golden/Irish cream retriever mix puppy but), but also against my sister's bloodhound.
For some reason — and perhaps a memory we can always hold dear — Wynie was good friends with my pup, Mara (see the video with this column). Sadly, if Wynie had not been laid to rest on Tuesday ... that could have changed.
Wynie had a good run until the past few weeks, when things just went downhill fast. Before that, she was a cute, little "princess" — and she knew that! She was a good dog to take on runs, constantly challenging my apparently too-slow pace. She was fluffy. And she loved digging her head in the snow on walks, burrowing right along.
That, was Wynie.
Wynie is not the only part to this story, either.
Wynie's death comes just about one year after my family had to put down our other family dog — the dog that would have passed as a golden retriever except for the fact that he was ... black. Max died because of age-related complications. He had stopped eating and the like, and it was his time.
We probably will never know exactly what type of dog Max was, but we all assume he had a knack at keeping Wynie in line. Wynie's problems seem to correlate with the loss of this dog, and in hindsight — Max was pretty good at maintaining a dominance around Wynie.
Other dogs? Not so much.
I will admit I've shed tears on several occasions this week. Dealing with death is painful, and not accepting the tears would put me into some sort of denial.
Plus, when new loss like this hits me, it always brings up thoughts of former moments in my life that were flooded with grief. Other beloved creatures I have held so dear that are now gone to me — pets and people.
As some might often say when dealing with grief — it's just not fair. The problem is, there's not much I can do to change it.
So, at 25 years old, I am welcoming loss as an uninvited fact of life. I accept that it's here, and I'll deal with the fact that everything's not in order — but that's merely because I didn't ask it to come ... it was unexpected.
In loving memory of my grandfather Lester Beyer; our family dogs Dylan, Max and Wynie; cats Trouble, Ttocs and Antcy; rabbits Murphy and Chopper; Guiness the guinea pig; and William Dryer.
Editor's note: Attached to this column are photos of some of the above-mentioned beloved. Please feel free to add photos of the people and pets who you miss dearly, in memory of.