A letter to Annie from Dan Krause –
Yes, I realize that dogs do not read letters. At least not as far as we know. But none of us really knows what happens after we pass out of this life.
You and I had talks about that afterlife notion in these last few months during our walks. That was one of the things that most endeared you to me, your listening skills. You absorbed every word I said. What you did with those words, I’ll never know. But in our talks about religious traditions and about what happens after this life, you gave every one of those perspectives serious thought.
That was a skill I tried to convey to my students over the years, the ability to listen to someone else’s ideas. I told them that effective listening was an acquired skill, and it took practice. But I’m not sure they were listening.
Anyway what I wanted to say here is how much I admired you for how you handled a difficult life. When we adopted you and your brother from that shelter, you were recovering from a cancer operation. And your teeth had already been ground down from years of worry. I think if I lived next door to aggressive dogs they way you did for so long, I would have been grinding my teeth too. Although Annie, I could have told you some of my neighbor stories that would have you grinding your teeth all over again.
You watched over your brother like a mother hen and although Luke occasionally bristled at your attention, we could tell that he loved having someone watching his back all the time. Your experiences kept you from making friends with other dogs, but you more than made up for it with your relationships with the two-legged animals. I never told you how many people came to us to say how much they enjoyed you and your brother and how meeting you changed their attitudes about dogs.
In Golden Retriever years, Annie, I suppose you had a full life. All I say can is that it seemed far too short. We are going to miss you being at the door when we come back home, we are going to miss you asking for one more walk on a beautiful day, and we are never going to get used to not seeing you curled up next to the fireplace watching over the house and us the way you did for so long with your brother.
Just in case you can read this, Annie, I wanted to thank you again for your contributions to our lives. You were an important and enriching element from the time we adopted you, and your departure leaves a big hole in our lives. And if some of those religious traditions are correct about reincarnation and you do come back, maybe you can stop by and let me know you read this letter.
Rest easy, Annie.