A very dear friend of mine passed away recently. Before cancer devoured her, I had the opportunity to tell her how much she had meant to me all these years. She was a lovely woman who embodied endless energy, and was always heralded for her huge heart. It was because of her, both as a breeder and friend, my life became blessed with the gift of knowing the most majestic breed of dog as well as understanding unconditional love.
I don’t know how to begin my letter to you other than to say how much you mean to me.
I remember when we first met at the vet’s all those years ago- you with Xander and Xoee, me with my three cats. Let’s just say it was Love at First Sight:-) Love- for the most beautiful breed of dog I was yet to adopt, and love for a friendship with you and Pat I would forever hold in my heart. I know I never told you this before, Kiki, but you have always reminded me of my own mom. This was always so special to me because in knowing you, I somehow stayed connected to her, too. Although my mom was much older, she had the same European flair as you. Not to mention the same smiling eyes and dry sense of humour, too. Her love of dogs, flowers, gardening and books; her “no-nonsense“ and “waste-not” approach to life… oh my Kiki, I’m certain had you known one another, you would have been good friends, too.
Kiki, thank you for always saying such kind things about my work with couples. I also want you to know something. It is because of YOU that today I know and teach “Unconditional Love”. Yes, you! When Jethro and ElleMae came into my life, little did I realize that I began a journey of building better and more unconditionally, loving relationships with both family and friends. You may laugh, but I believe their purpose was to help me cultivate and understand compassion. I always tell my couples that, unlike humans, dogs never worry or hold a grudge about what happened yesterday. They actually remind us that we need connection on a daily basis. I tell you, Kiki, those furry kissin’-cousins taught me through their wags and wiggles that no matter how stressful life can be, there is always time for a cuddle, walk or a giggle. And talk about Loyalty and Undivided Attention! Today, I can literally walk through the front door a hundred times, and Lotti is always so happy to see me!!! I continue to tell my couples, “If you want lessons in Love, don't look up to a married couple for a role model, simply look down. We have much to learn from them because Dogs Get It”.:-) So….from my very full heart, Kiki, I thank you for my “therapy” dogs. They have helped me and others heal in so many ways.
Over the years I have always enjoyed receiving emails and photographs from you. They were often the highlight of my day. From your extended family of Bernese folk and furry kids- to your very own precious family of Pat, Tim, Cornelia, Matthew, and Alexander- I have always loved the way you proudly posted updates on everyone’s antics and achievements. One of my all-time favourite pics is one where you’re driving a tractor and Pat’s drinking a margarita while petting a cat!! It’s really the essence of you (and also of Pat:-). In my eyes, you were forever the dynamo with the steely determination to get things done! A great role model for sure! I think the only thing I never saw you do is ride a polo pony!!!
Kiki, as much as I don’t want words to fail me now, I hope by writing you I haven’t done anything to upset you, either. Like I said, I just want you to know how much you have touched my life. I know I can’t take away your pain or find a cure for this damn disease, however, I truly hope you find some comfort in this letter. I’ve never done well with goodbyes. So, I’d rather say Thank You…thank you, Kiki, for honouring us with your life, thank you for being such a dear friend to both Dick and I, for deeply enriching our lives, and especially for giving us the gift of knowing unwavering love through the heartfelt bond of canine companionship. Priceless.
Love you forever, Lydia, Dick & Lotti ox