There can be a lot of loneliness attached to being a military wife. We spend countless hours, days, weeks, and months away from the people we said ‘I do’ to, and often longer from our extended family. It makes it no surprise that furry friends take on a role so much deeper than the label of pet.
I had never been a dog owner before. For some reason, I got the idea in my head to take on the awesome responsibility before my husband deployed many years ago. I had no clue what I was doing, but God seemed to pair me with the perfect mate for my inexperience. It was 2004 when my sweet girl Precious became a part of my life. I did not know at the time just how much she was saving me, rather than the other way around.
She was my very best girlfriend. Sidekick. Confidant. She kept all my secrets and never made me feel any less than the most important being in the room. I was her person. In her eyes, I was everything. I don’t know if there is any other living thing on this planet that can make someone feel that wanted.
There is something so very special about the unconditional love she made me feel. She was by my side through many moves, babies, and a very sad chapter of postpartum depression. For every goodbye I had to say to my Marine, there was never an empty house to come home to. In a lifestyle that can easily make us feel abandoned or left navigating rough waters solo, she became a constant.
For 13 years and one day she loved us, and we loved her. Sadly, this week Precious left this world and crossed over to what I can only hope is a space that I will see her at someday.
My house has a feeling like it is missing something. I am not sure I truly understood the value of her presence until it was no more. I keep opening the door forgetting she won’t ever be greeting me on the other side again. There is no panting or collar jingle, no brown eyes looking up at me asking to play in the yard. No barking at the same mailman she has seen for the last five years. It’s a strange thing how you end up missing the very characteristics that you took for granted. I hope when she closed her eyes for that very last time that she knew just how lucky her parents were.
Hug your fur babies a little tighter for me tonight.
One last note, if there was such a thing as an obituary for dogs, I imagine hers would have read something like this:
Precious Marie Strzalkowski was born on April 12, 2004, in Jacksonville, North Carolina. She loved chasing animals she could never catch, surprise bones from the pet store, anything other than dog food to eat, and guarding her humans against mailmen and UPS drivers. A black lab mix, she was always the prettiest girl on the block with her perfect stature and energetic nature.
She is survived by her mom and dad, brothers Alex, Nicholas, and Christopher, and an extended family in NJ that loved to spoil her when they visited. She is predeceased by her best friend and sister, Lady. In lieu of flowers, spoil your fur babies with extra love today.