We got Nala when she was nine months old. I don't remember much from that time or the first couple years we had her, but she was playful and exciting. She loved to be with us, and have fun. She came on family trips with us. She loved camping. She would sleep in the middle section of the tent. She loved to swim. Dad bought her some 'dummies' and he would throw them out in the water for her to go fetch. Nala taught Kayla how to swim. We were in a hot tub on vacation and Kayla started swimming like Nala (doggy paddle). We took Nala for walks but she wasn't on a leash if she didn't have to be. She could really pull your arm off on a leash. She fell in love with vanilla ice cream and Caesar salad. She ate an entire peach pie once while we were inside a restaurant buying dinner. At first, we were so mad at her but now it has got to be one of the funniest things we remember about her. Nala loved the beach. Our friends Joanie and John lived by the beach and we would spend many evenings there with her friend Buffy. I have so many sweet and vivid memories of those nights on the beach. I can see her running on the sand. I hope I can see those memories in my mind forever. Nala always knew how to cheer me up. Nala knew how to cuddle. I can remember a number of times that I literally was breaking down, she would come by my side. SHE KNEW our emotions. I am truly amazed by her sensitivity and ability to comfort us when we needed it most.
Nala was so so so funny. She knew how to make us laugh, especially when we needed it most. She would let us cuddle her whenever we needed. She wasn't camera shy until the last year or so. We have some great captures of her. I will cherish our sweet momentums for a long time. Our friends loved Nala. She was always so sweet to anyone she met. She also had lots of dog friends and cousins, most of whom she has outlived and there must have been the most wonderful dog reunion in Heaven when she joined them. Nala was one of my best friends. It sometimes seems weird to call her my sister, but she was. She never talked, but she always listened. She Always Listened.
I wish she could have stayed with us forever. But, the fact that she held on for the amount of time she did, the fact that we had to make the decision to put her to sleep and give her the comfort she would no longer find in her earthly body, is a testament to me of how much she loved us and cared for us. Saturday, June 21st was one of the hardest days of my life. We took her in around 10:30am. They situated us in a nice and comfortable room. I laid with her on the foam bed that was covered in a blanket. We had also brought her in a towel from home. Dad and I rubbed her and Bryan and Mom sat on the couch. Kayla was so brave and decided to go to work. I cried enough for the both of us any ways. The veterinarians were sweethearts and I think they could feel our heartache. The procedure was done, and they told us she passed. My heart broke into a million pieces. They gave us some more time with her and I will never forget those last few looks. I could feel her entering the gates of Heaven. I could see her running into eternity. In those moments, I also know that her frail body was being perfected and I also know that I WILL see her again someday.
Nala taught me a lot about this life. There are many ups and downs. She ran away a couple times when she was younger. One time she was gone for a whole day. I can remember how scared we all were. Of course, we prayed and we would always find her just a couple houses away after she had been wandering around. We are going to get lost in life, prayer and love can bring us home. She really did endure to the end. She was with us for so many milestones, and like I said, she really pushed to keep going. I think... she tried to hold on for so long because she knew we still have so many changes and unpredictable circumstances in store. She wanted to help us through those times, but her body just wouldn't let her any more. Nala loved without measure. I don't think she could have loved us any less or any more than she did. The love she provided my family with for the past 16 years have been a perfect love. In turn, she made us love each other more. I don't think I will ever have another pet that I will be able to love as much as I loved Nala.
I will think about you every day, you were a wonderful friend and I look forward to seeing you again someday sweet lady.