Our dear friend Stella passed away yesterday. She was thirteen years, four months and seven days old. We were fortunate to be hers for more than twelve of those years.
She had degenerative myelopathy and spinal stenosis and we were told well over a year ago that she would rapidly begin to lose mobility. Stella did everything her way, including this. She had some back leg stiffness, but we were still walking a mile a day (on hills) until Friday morning when it all seemed to catch up with her at once. I am so sad, but also thankful that she got to be her full Stella-self right up to the end of her long life.
She was a master of being a friend. She was afraid of everything and (mostly) came around to doing it anyway. She never ever let her fears get in the way of being there when a friend needed her. She conquered her terror over cardboard boxes by eating one. She was goofy and sweet and weird and stubborn and herded us around like it was her job. Every walk we took was a mission to survey the neighborhood. She loved stuffed animals and was great at puzzles. She wore her heart on her face and I swear to you she had a droll sense of humor. She loved to dance to Rancid. She loved to bark at Jeremy like she was trying to tell him something. I could speak to her in full sentences and she picked out the words she needed. When she lost her hearing, she seemed to know how to read lips or expressions. I couldn’t wear sunglasses around her because she always wanted to see my eyes, and she picked up on everything I felt.
It is a powerful thing to be witnessed so intensely. She followed me around the house all day, every day, and since I work from home, I spent more time with my friend Stella than I have with any other being. It was an absolute blessing and a privilege to be her friend. I am a better person for it. We loved her fiercely and she made certain we always knew she loved us that way too. She was always on alert, ready to save us if we needed it, determined to keep us from getting lost. She had the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met. What luck we’ve had to be her people! What a gorgeous time we spent together!
I miss her so much.