We picked up Cheyenne on New Year’s Day 1998. My mom and I found her in the classifieds section of the Houston Chronicle a few months prior. I’m not sure why Mom decided that it was the right time to get a puppy, but I think we just needed something to bring us closer together.

It’s funny how some days remain so vivid. I remember the sunny drive out to Madisonville, Texas, feeling like those winding roads went on forever. The breeder’s house was tucked away behind tall pine trees. In the backyard was a pin containing a slender Golden Retriever guarding her clumsy litter. I picked Cheyenne for her stocky build, red coat and short snout. She whimpered when I held her for the first time, and I was flooded with guilt for taking her from her mom. On the way home, Cheyenne waddled around the backseat and napped on a scratchy red blanket while we ate black-eyed peas from styrofoam cups.

Those first few months, I caught a glimpse of what motherhood might resemble; soothing Cheyenne when she cried, getting up every couple of hours in the night, training, grooming, playing. Her birthday fell on Thanksgiving Day, so each year we gave thanks to her. For me, she represented loyalty, forgiveness and love. Family problems eventually drove me away a few years later, and I began seeing Cheyenne less and less. But she never forgot me. I’d come in the front door with my duffel bag and head to my bedroom and she’d circle my legs excitedly, ready for a good scratch on the back.

I last saw Cheyenne a year ago. I brushed her silky hair, played fetch with her, and watched her chase squirrels in the backyard. She rested her head in my lap when one of the cats was hogging my attention. The last day I saw her, I left the house in anger and never said goodbye.

I think she was capable of understanding a lot, and I hope she knew I loved her.


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  1. * ~A says:

    Well done, lady.

    Rest well, Cheyenne.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 2 months ago

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