Hey sweetie girl,

I missed you on the latest road trip to Florida to visit Dad. It was a mess from start to finish, really. Without you along to keep me honest I over-packed, forgot stuff, and drove for too many hours at a time. I stopped at only one rest stop the whole time and found myself following the signs to the pet area. It made me so sad not to be able to take you for a walk that I cried for quite a while.

Do you remember that giant peach on I-85 in South Carolina? I remember telling you about it the first time we ever drove by it on our way to Atlanta. Then there was the time you had to suddenly go potty and I pulled over not far from it so you could use the roadside grass. I so missed reaching my right arm behind me to pat your paws and feel you lean your head towards my hand so I could scratch your ears. I love our little non-verbal communication and I miss you dearly.

While staying with Missy and Heather I got to see your scrapbook. It’s beautiful. It’s so beautiful that I started crying on the first page and I’m crying now thinking about it and you. Missy has a few more photos to add and your collars need to be worked in, but I’m sure it’ll be with me in a couple of weeks. I can’t wait to show it to your Auntie Sue and everyone. I’ll be able to write our memories in it, too, because Missy very cleverly made it a journal sort of scrapbook.

It’s another reminder of you and our lives together, something that doesn’t include the damn cancer. There are still reminders of you all over our home. I haven’t moved anything since you left me. Maybe I’ll never put any of your things away, I don’t know. Your bowls are where you left them in the kitchen, your leash and harness still hang on the entry door knob, your towel still hangs on the closet door knob, your toys are under the coffee table, your bed is still in the corner by the living room window, and I still find your hairs around.

When I had my car washed in New Port Richey I asked them not to touch the back seat. I got a funny look but it didn’t matter. Your seat cover is still on the back seat and there are still some crumbs on it from the last time you ate a cookie back there on November 5, 2009. I always gave you a cookie or two for the ride home from Dr. Cliver’s office, where we’d been that day. I dunno if that’s crazy or very Miss Havisham, but I don’t honestly care. I am still not accustomed to your absence. I still look for you, expect to see you, and I listen for you. I miss you.

So now you’ve been gone eight weeks, if you count the Mondays, or it’ll be officially two months on January 9. I don’t have a new paper calendar in my office to look at, and maybe that’s just as well? I don’t know. I still feel lost without you, unsure of how to proceed, looking for every distraction I can that doesn’t hurt, you know? I still can’t participate in much activism, except for going to the sanctuary when I can, and I hope that’s not permanent. But I can’t really read the constant flow of e-mail messages to my inbox of the suffering and torture and death of domestic non-human animals and wildlife because … my head is filled with missing you.

It’s kind of like all the good got sucked out of my life when you died. You were the best part of me, the really good part, and I have to recreate that somehow without you. I haven’t figured it out yet. But it’s there in my head, just around the edges I think.

That’s where I am right now, honey bear. I need to tell you that you’ve helped raise $3,050 for the animals at Poplar Spring. I’m so proud, so very proud, of that effort and I know it’s your beauty and kindness that prompted so many people to donate.

You are the sweetest part of my whole life