Katie was my beloved companion who passed away on St. Patrick's Eve a decade ago. I posted this remembrance last year and think it's fitting to offer it here again in tribute of one of the great canine loves of my life. And though the piece was written with the idea of honoring her on the eve of the day Ireland and all of us with a bit of green in our blood celebrate the Emerald Isle's patron saint, if you would, hold up your Guinness, or your Bushmills, or whatever it is you fancy, and say, "To Katie. She was a good dog"
And Katie, my dear, as you probably know, it's raining . . .
Those of you who have read my memoir, When Katie Wakes, know that the unconditional love of a Labrador/German Shepherd mix named Katie helped see me through the dark days of being a battered woman.
On St. Patrick's Eve—nine years ago today—I lost my dear Katie. She is buried just steps from me, in the backyard, facing the bay, under the shade of a palm tree. It was where I could find her on most any sunny day.
She was with me for 18 years.
Katie and the might Atticus in a game of tug-o-war.
As I buried her-it was about 3 o'clock in the afternoon-a soft rain began to fall; the sky did not clear until morning. My other dogs stayed by her grave, throughout the night, refusing to come in despite the weather. I think they were watching over her soul as it transitioned to some place we can't yet know.
I find grace in the fact that as I write this, a spring shower has just arrived. I cannot shake the feeling that Katie brought the storm on as a cosmic kiss.
I miss her everyday, but on this anniversary of her passing, with the scent and sound of rain engulfing me, the loss is fresh, new, overwhelming. Yes, indeed, a remembrance is in order.
Katie: a black dog with a white heart, ticklish feet, eyes that left no doubt she was an old soul.
Katie: a wild child who smiled with a largess that escapes even some humans; she showed all her pearly canines.
Katie: she had a sense of humor, knew I was going to cry before I did, and never suffered fools.
Katie: the Houdini of Dogdom, defying the laws of science, escaping through cracks in a fence she couldn't fit through.
Katie: cow-barker, cat-licker, wind-chaser, sun-bather, lover of the McDonald's drive-thru.
Katie: Cuban sandwich thief, perceptive, smart, snorer, understood that the dressmaker down the street was just crazy enough to be avoided.
Katie: full of hope, full of light, full of unrepentant dog love.
Katie: died in my arms, not in my heart.
Katie: a patient girl who put up with me singing into her dense coat, "KkkKatie, kkkKatie! You're the only ddddog that I adore!"
Katie: she loved her Guinness.
Katie: what a good dog she was!
On this St. Paddy's Eve, if the spirit stirs you, tip one back for Kateland, The Wonder Dog, knowing that there is goodness in this world and that sometimes it arrives on your doorstop with four paws, a wet nose, and a soulful bark.