To Ralphie, Our Best Boy
Not quite one week ago, we lost our beloved Shih-Tzu, Ralph. He was our biggest hello and our hardest goodbye. Our hearts are broken, and this post is lovingly dedicated to his memory.
How it pains me to even write your name. I wish you knew how cold our bed, our home and our hearts feel without you. I am so worried you are cold and wish you were here so that we could buggle you. It is so hard to accept that you are really gone.
You were, quite simply, the best boy, such a little snuggly ball of love. You were the perfect sidekick and went everywhere with us, from law school to the office, and to so many wonderful places both near and far away. We brought you to Chicago (you tooted on the plane), to Camden, Maine (also brought your kitty cat; he broke an expensive television set) and to Canada twice (remember when you thought the border crossing was a McDonald’s drive-through and got mad when there were no chicken nuggets to be had?). You were there the day we got married, and in tow when we first arrived on Nantucket for our honeymoon so many years ago. Your little heart, like ours, loved that island more than any place on earth. I am so happy you got to roll in your favorite patch of grass one last time this past December. You were always with us and always by our side. You will always be in our hearts, and they will yearn for you until the end of our days.
You brought so much joy to everyone whose life you touched. You dearly loved our parents, and got so excited when we pulled into their driveways that you whimpered until we let you out of the car. You were sweet and patient with our little niece and nephew, even when they did silly things like push you around in a stroller. You were kindest of all to those that were sad or lonely. I know Bob will miss seeing “good old Ralphie” trot around the corner in his little coat.
Our sweet Ralph, Ralphie, Roo, Roo-man, Buckaroo, Buggleroo, Ruggle-boo… our little buddy… you were a gift, every day, and we are so blessed that we got to be your family. You were our biggest hello and our hardest goodbye, and our hearts are broken. We will love you forever Ralphie, and know you will be waiting for us, with a little woof and waggily tail, when we finally come home.
PS: Mr. Flick misses you so much too.
PSS: I really miss the smell of your itchy ears.
One Hundred Memories and Moments We Will Miss About You
1. Your goofy, toothy, monstery-faced grin.
2. How much you loved rolling in a good patch of grass.
3. Watching the sun rise with you and Leigh the first morning of our honeymoon in Nantucket.
4. How you adored your kitty cat, Mr. Flick, and loved to snuggle and wrestle and chase each other around the house.
5. Your jaunty trot.
6. Your puppy-like love of your toys and all their funny names, especially Big Red; Dr. Hoot; Flea; Pancakes; Piney-Po; Puffykins and Panchito.
7. That you came with us to law school every day, and after we graduated, snoozed quietly through the bar review course.
8. How you were so lazy 90% of the time, and generally preferred being toted around to walking.
9. That when I would bring you to Leigh so he could take you to work, you always stopped a few times and looked back at me before trotting away.
10. How you came with us everywhere and got to explore so many amazing places: Nantucket; Block Island; Newport; New York; Stowe; Chicago; Chatham; Camden; Killington; Kennebunkport; Halifax; Lambertville; Prince Edward Island; Peddler’s Village; Philadelphia; Provincetown; Portland; Portsmouth; Woodstock; Watch Hill; Sunday River; Stratton; Martha’s Vineyard; Montreal; Lubec; Lunenberg; Lake George and so many more.
11. The little jingle jangle of your collar.
12. How much you loved our parents, and that you hung on through Christmas, New Year’s and my birthday so that everyone could pat you one last time.
13. How sometimes when you closed your mouth, we could still see your snaggily little “ugly tooth”.
14. That on the Thursday before we lost you, even though you were feeling really rotten, you got up and went to the door to look for your cat when he got out into the hallway and began to cry.
15. How you would roll onto your back for a tummy rub any time someone said “belly time”.
16. The little white “Buddha kiss” on top of your head.
17. That your favorite food was McDonald’s chicken nuggets, and if you were fast asleep when we pulled into the drive-through, you would snap awake, leap into the front seat and stretch yourself out the window.
18. Your funny Roo-noises.
19. On the day we got married, we brought you up to Lambertville and watched some of the original ‘Father of the Bride’. You were snuggled up there with us and matched the beautiful black and white toile bedding.
20. How much you loved to munch on baby carrots.
21. Checking to see whether you had “cold wet nose or warm dry nose”.
22. That we smuggled you, in a Whole Foods bag, into so many hotels and sometimes restaurants.
23. That you got to stay at some really fancy places (sorry Ocean House, we know you had a no-pet policy) but were just as happy slumming it at the Chalet Killington.
24. How much you loved to snuggle in Leigh’s mom’s lap.
25. How adorable you looked in all your little sweaters, especially your autumn owl sweater, stripy nautical French sweater, foxy-fox sweater and festive Christmas sweater.
26. That when we walked by Cold Noses in Nantucket, you would head on in and pick yourself out a treat.
27. How my dad would make you special food (chuck steak with mixed vegetables) but sometimes you would leave it on your plate until after we had eaten, because that food was already in the bag and you knew my dad would sneak you something from the table if you begged hard enough.
28. That if you were feeling peppy, you would lead yourself up to the Common for some park time.
29. How you cried for hours on the night we brought you home and I told Leigh 1) “there will be no dogs in our bed” and 2) “we are taking him back because we are going to get evicted”; suffice it to say you quickly won me over on both points.
30. How Leigh’s dad took you on far more walks than were ever conceivably necessary.
31. How when you had a short haircut, you looked like a little goat (with little goat ears) from behind.
32. That you only ate people food for most of your life, and loved almost everything (even spicy Indian food) but wouldn’t touch lobster or shrimp.
33. That time that I thought you actually ate a shrimp, but you really just brought it over to your bed and left it there for us to find a few days later.
34. How excited you were to go with Leigh to his office so you could drink “the good water”.
35. That you let Luca pull you around in a wagon and Camilla push you around in a stroller.
36. How you liked to watch television when you were home alone during the day.
37. Giving you a kiss on the top of your head or on your little black lips.
38. That the morning of our wedding, my dad and I rose before it was light and took you outside, just the two of us.
39. Your love of sitting in clean piles of laundry, especially if they had already been folded.
40. When you felt sad or scared and would paw at my leg until I picked you up.
41. That you would bark like crazy when someone knocked on the door, then run under the bed and hide when they actually opened it.
42. Your fondness for taking my dirty underwear off the bathroom floor when I was showering and sneaking it into your bed.
43. That when I worked at the law school library on Saturday nights, you liked to sit with Walt and keep him company… and also liked to go back and visit him for years after we had graduated.
44. When we brought you and a teeny-tiny Flick to Block Island, and the wind blew through your fur as you rode the ferry together.
45. Your Easty-Westy paws.
46. Watching the first sunrise in the States with you in Lubec, Maine last summer (and then watching you and Leigh snooze together on the patio in the morning sun).
47. How you always climbed into the driver’s seat when we put you in the car, then politely moved over to the passenger’s seat when we opened the driver’s side door.
48. The morning we thought we lost you in Nantucket because the screen door blew open and you decided to take yourself out for a walk and go sit under our neighbor’s bush.
49. Your bed-beard.
50. That day I was doing errands with you and pulled into the McDonald’s drive-through to get you chicken nuggets. Their credit card machine was down and I didn’t have any cash so we pulled away. You whined so much that there were no chicken nuggets to be had that I stopped to get cash so we could go back and get you some.
51. That the first time you met Kate, you snoozed in her lap the entire ride up to Houlton. You did pretty much the same thing this summer when we drove together up to Lubec.
52. How kind you were to your foster-brother Henri, even though he was a terror and once peed on your head.
53. Bringing you to Ringer Playground when we lived in Allston so you could hang out with your buddies McGregor, Dozer, Bubba and Jenna-Bear.
54. That my parents always covered “your” armchair with a cozy blanket before we arrived (and that sometimes you would be naughty and jump up onto the couch instead).
55. How you would get so scared during a thunderstorm.
56. When Bob would call you “good old Ralphie” and give your head a pat.
57. That you were such a food monger and a relentless beggar.
58. How much you hated oceans, rivers and lakes and would run away in terror any time we tried to dunk you.
59. Waking you to Whole Foods and getting you chicken and sweet potato from the salad bar.
60. When you would stand up on your two hind legs and do a little dance for a treat (circus dog!).
61. How much you loved to explore my parents’ backyard and roll in their impeccably lush grass.
62. When you horrified everyone on your first Christmas Eve (when you were just four months old and a tiny little furball) by humping the stuffed soccer ball that was as big as you were.
63. That Ms. Jean used to walk you every day when we lived in Allston and left funny little notes for us in “Roo’s Poo Book”.
64. When you embarrassed us by scooting at the most inappropriate moments possible.
65. That warm summer morning that we realized, after ten years, that you actually did know how to swim, and dunked you in the Charles. You were mad at me for an entire day.
66. How you loved to show off for visitors by growling and shaking your little toys.
67. That you wore the same leather Burberry collar your entire life.
68. How Leigh and I could never do sit-ups on the floor because you thought it was a game and would walk on top of us with a toy in your mouth.
69. The way you used to run around and into my office like a maniac whenever I brought you to work.
70. When you would start doing your funny snorty breathing and we had to plug your nose to reset you.
71. How you generally preferred to hang out at the foot of the bed.
72. How you would cuddle with Leigh’s Grammy and she would say “that’s a good boy Ralphie”.
73. When you barked and barked at the hotel we stayed in for Christine and Jordan’s wedding and almost got us kicked out.
74. That you loved to hang out with Matt and Missy and would sometimes get to sleep in their bed.
75. That you were the proud owner of not one, but two bowties.
76. How absolutely terrified you were the time we took you out boating on Lake George.
77. That you unfailingly chewed to oblivion any set of headphones that you happened to find or discover.
78. How funny you looked wearing your little orange booties in the winter snow.
79. When you snuggled in my lap during car rides.
80. How excited you would get for “park time” in the Boston Common, but when we took you to play with the other dogs, you were generally the puppy equivalent of the weird kid who sits in the corner and eats paste.
81. That you had a snuggie for dogs.
82. When we took you to Larson’s fish market on our honeymoon and then back gain seven years later. “Same dog, same place, different lobster”.
83. Your giant dog bones that you somehow still managed to drag onto the oriental rug.
84. That you knew you were not allowed upstairs in my parents’ house, and would sit patiently at the bottom of the steps (and sometimes whine just a little bit) until we came downstairs.
85. When you tried to walk in snow that was so deep that you would sink in.
86. How much everyone loved to pick you up because you were the best snuggly ball of fur.
87. That you were my buddy whenever I had to do errands and always kept me company in the car.
88. That when we got you from Belinda, she took you out back and washed you for us before we took you home.
89. How having you, Flick, and ‘Love Actually’ when I lost my job kept me from feeling alone and depressed during the days I was home by myself.
90. How much you hated water and would leap over puddles.
91. That you had three Nantucket leads during your lifetime and we somehow managed to lose all of them.
92. That you really didn’t need a lead anyway because you were such a good boy.
93. When we made you a Thanksgiving dinner plate and you ate everything except the fiddleheads.
94. Your fondness for hanging out under the bed.
95. When we would take you to the park and you would run around in circles like a nutter until you wore yourself out.
96. How my dad would sometimes sneak you to the groomer when you were overdue for a trim.
97. When you would take your plate and dump it on the floor (or preferably, on our rug) so that you could make the biggest mess possible when you were eating.
98. How when you got a little mangy, you looked like ‘Animal’ from the Muppets.
99. The smell of your itchy Roo-man ears.
100. The unconditional love you gave us, and the joy you brought into our lives each and every day.