My black Lab passed away on Oscar night earlier this year. My friends and family know that he is my favorite thing about my life so far. And now… you know it.
I’m ready to talk about how much he meant to me, and if you’ve lost a pet I hope you can relate and feel comfort in the fact that you are not alone.
I got Flash when he was 5 weeks old. I was 19 and he was the first thing in my life that I had to be responsible for. I welcomed the responsibility. They say the good ones pick you. He absolutely did that. He was in a kennel with about 9 other pups and he jumped and kissed my hand through the gate. He was mine.
For the first two years of his life, he terrorized me. He ate my undies and my bras and even ate 25 laser discs. That’s right, I said “laser discs.” Even though he was a pain in my ass, I was so in love with him and we did everything together. You know what I’m talking about. The kind of pup who rides shot gun and feels entitled to everything you put in your mouth. He ate everything in sight. The best was when I had a party and I would wake up to find that Flash had cleaned the table. He ate whole cakes and half a large pizza on the regular. And he NEVER threw up. That little pup was solid. He once ate a bowl of Hershey’s kisses at Halloween and I thought he would die because dogs aren’t supposed to eat chocolate. Nope, not this guy.
Flash loved the ocean and going on hikes. For about 10 years, I walked him every morning and every night. I also threw the ball for him at least once a day. He had so much energy that I never could make excuses to be sad or lazy. Flash would nudge me until I woke up, fed and walked him. But he also knew when I was really sad or sick. He wouldn’t ask for much during these times. He would simply lie by my bed and give me kisses when I started to cry.
But what I miss most about Flash was how he made me feel like I was his favorite thing in the world. Every single time I walked in the door, he jumped and kissed and wagged his tail. However, he also gave me my alone time. Flash knew when I wanted to be left alone and he gave me my space. We had this unspoken language. In fact, I don’t remember ever talking to him in commands like “sit”, “stay” and so forth. From when he was a pup, I spoke to him in full sentences. And well, he acted like he understood me.
I have another beautiful dog, Melba, and she has helped me through this loss. And I can’t really explain how it feels without him around, except to say that I feel like I’m floating most of the time. Every time I see another black lab, I lose my shit. I’m grateful that he passed away in my arms and that he didn’t have to suffer for too long. He was 16 and lived a great life.
I will remember how he bumped everyone’s crotch who came over to the house. How he would “complain” to me whenever I left for a long period of time. The glorious place on the side of his cheek that I loved to kiss. His crooked tail. How great he was with other dogs and children. How much respect he had for Melba. And how much love he gave to me.
After he passed away, I walked out of the hospital room in a daze and all I heard was “And the Oscar for Best Director goes to…” from the giant TV on the wall. I couldn’t help but think he was leaving me a little bit of encouragement to go after my dreams. A little glimpse of the future possibly. Either way, I will think of him on Oscar night and smile because he inspired me, and I am a better person for being his mom.
I love you Flash Man. R.I.P.