She was everything to me. I loved her without reservation. She was my alter ego, my true soulmate. Mom called us the evil twins, and we were.
Tess could do no wrong in my eyes. She had my back. She was my best friend.
I taught her how to play. She taught me how to be strong. When Tess left us, something inside me died. I thought I would never be happy again.
The day Tess died was the worst day of my life. I saw her take her last breath. I sniffed her beautiful red fur hoping life was still inside her. But she was gone and my heart exploded.
I did the only thing I could – I ran. I ran from the sight of Tess lying dead on her bed. I ran from the happy memories of me and Tess playing at the beach. I ran from the pain of losing my best friend. I ran away from Asherpark.
I’d dug under the fence before, usually when I got bored and people weren’t paying attention to me. This time was different. I wasn’t running off to have an adventure, I was running away from my old life at Asherpark.
It wasn’t more than a few minutes when mom realized I was gone. I heard her calling my name and whistling for me. I heard her begging me to come home.
Sometimes I lay still so she couldn’t hear my movement. Sometimes I went crashing around barking like a fool. She could hear me in the thick brush near the ravine, but she couldn’t see me.
After about an hour I realized I hadn’t eaten dinner. Me and Tess used to eat side by side in our crates. Now I would have to eat alone. Still, I was hungry and sore from all my tearing around.
I began to hear mom more clearly. She was talking quietly asking me to come to the sound of her voice. I had to fight my way through the blackberries but finally made it to the gate that mom held open for me.
I expected to get a good scolding for running off, but instead mom wrapped her arms around me and told me how much she loved me.
Mom said all our hearts were broken and we would never stop missing Tess, but the awful ache in the gut would eventually fade. Mom told me Tess would have given her life to protect her pack. We had to honor that courage by living well and being grateful for all the good things in our lives.
Mom asked me to remember the day we rescued Tess. She said Tess needed a home and I needed a mate. It was love at first sight and we had six good years together.
Mom promised that in time we would find another soulmate for me. She didn’t know who it would be or how we would find her, but if I could stay strong for a few months there would be someone for me.
The weeks passed. I kept running off but would come back when mom called me. I hung out with Shiloh and went on solitary walks with mom. I knew mom would keep her promise, I just wanted it to be soon.
Finally the day arrived. Mom announced that she had found a puppy from my line. The little girl was born two weeks after Tess died. She is a blue merle and like me has two blue eyes. My new best friend is coming to Asherpark and I can hardly wait.