The first love is the deepest.

My first love walked…er, ran? scampered?…into my life just days before I turned five years old. She was a fabulous springer spaniel and border collie mix; perfect in only the way pound puppies can be. I named her Goldie, as much for the way her eyes shone perfect gold in the light as for her namesake, a little neighborhood beagle who frequently squeezed under the hedges to play with me.

I was besotted from the very beginning. True, I did sort of hide in my room with the door slammed shut or climbed to the tippy top of the back of the couch when my dad let her in the house after dinner. She was a very frisky puppy in the beginning and she liked to jump. And scratch. Oh, she didn’t mean to. The poor thing couldn’t help it. She just wanted to love all over us and lick us and call us George and thank us thank us thank us for rescuing her. We were all her family, but she always knew that I was her very favorite one. If my dad was the alpha, then I was her best pack-mate. I was the one who ran with her in the yard and used her short leash to teach her tricks, like to run down the hill with me and up over the picnic table. (Nice.) When I went through my outdoor-sy, survivalist stage, she was my pretend-wolf in all of my fantasies. I was the only one she wouldn’t run away on when she went through her prison-break stage. And when I went through my dark tween stage, I can’t tell you how many times Goldie lay patiently against my neck while I cried into her fur, because she was simply the only person who understood me.

When I was a junior in high school, my friend Jenny and I came back to my house in the wee hours of the morning on New Year’s Eve after having babysat for my aunt. We sat down on the couch for a second with my mom (everyone was camped out, asleep in the living room although the tv was still on). My baby sister sat up in the middle of a dead sleep and told me Goldie had died. I didn’t even get to say goodbye. A few days before I heard my dad had taked Goldie to the vet because she was sick. Turns out, Goldie had eaten a piece of metal somehow and it had shredded her stomach. They put her to sleep and just like that she was gone.

I’ve helped friends and family members take care of their dogs. The Ex and I had a beautiful black lab (my “Ex-Dog” named Cooper who will be nine this summer) and I love her dearly. But no one will take the place of Goldie, my very first dog. Sometimes when I dream, Goldie is there. She visits me and in all of the dreams I’ve ever had (and believe me, I remember them all), the only thing I’ve ever felt like I have really touched or felt in my dreams is petting Goldie’s coat and hugging her against me. I believe down to the truest part of my heart that it’s her spirit visiting me.

It’s a love no one gets over, I think, and one every one should have. No matter what, no matter how hard it is when it ends, it’s something every child, every grown-up should experience. The hurt hurts bad for a little while, but the joy will come back. Right now, one of my friends is dealing with the horrible, how-do-I-tell-my-kids? part, and I wish I could make it all better. So I will just say: today is Love Thursday, everyone. Love those who are still around you, and remember those aren’t.


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8 Responses to “The first love is the deepest.”

  1. Kathy Says:

    Thank you! And yes, it hurts.

  2. Cam Says:

    Mine was a Weimeraner named Beau. I’ve not had a friend like him since. I have introduced two of our furry friends with their very own posts this week, and the last of the three will be tomorrow!

    They love us with such dedication, and without judgement. I know Goldie still watches over her human. Thank you for sharing her story!

    Happy Love Thursday!

  3. Karyn Says:

    My best girl – my calico kitty Milo. I had her through 11 years (which is ancient for a farm cat) of car rides in the tire well, litter after litter, of a broken leg, of me calling her from across the field with my shrill 10 yr old voice. =) I miss her. I still think she hitched a ride to warmer weather. =)

  4. Gayle Says:

    I just wrote a post about my first dog last week. Her name was Muffin. You have written this so beautifully. Your last line is perfect.

  5. patricedodd Says:

    Mine was a Malamute mix. Kayak was our wedding gift to each other. She was a companion, a playmate, an adventurer, a lover of cows and car rides and the beach.

    She lived with us nearly 15 years, and she’s been gone for 10 years now. We’ve had several dogs since, and each one has been wonderful in their own way, but none have matched the bond we built among the three of us.

    I have a picture of her posted here:

  6. Christine Says:

    My first love was an orange tabby cat named Pogo. He used to watch TV. By himself. Love your post!

    Happy Love Thursday!

  7. Se'Lah Says:

    Mine was a sheltie “Poochie”. No other!

    Happy Love Thursday!

  8. vchelle Says:

    Sweet story of love. I’m sure she comes to visit you. My first love was Lans, a full collie! Happy Belated Love Thursday!

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