Yesterday a beautiful soul left this world. I met her in Paris, 2003. I thought Deb was a little nutty for getting a dog while living in another country, but Holly soon won me over with her sweet demeanor and a certain clever look she would give you. I watched as she grew and was no longer able to fit in her favorite space inside the bus locker. She was a well-traveled dog, had a doggie passport and made the trip to the US to live. When my nieces came along, she was as gentle as ever and was always glad to clean up any scraps of food that fell. She was an excellent vacuum. She always knew when it was dog dinnertime—you could practically set your watch to her dancing around by the food bowl.
She helped foster many a dog and provided a tranquil, steady presence with even the most neurotic of dogs. Case in point is Emmy, to whom she was a fantastic mentor.
Among other things, she helped teach Emmy to walk on a leash. I remember walking them both and she quietly and effectively led by example. She was always calm, always patient, never getting ruffled or aggressive. Even if met with anger, she would tolerantly wait for the mood to pass and lovingly accept you once the storm was over. She didn’t have a bad bone in her body. She was the embodiment of unconditional love.
When Marco the cat was introduced, he would attack her and dig his claws into the side of her neck. Sometimes she would give you a look like, Really? But she would always good-naturedly let him play. She had the patience of a saint.
She always met everyone with an open heart and wag of the tail. She loved Mean Kitty toys and always went straight for the squeaker. She fostered and taught compassion and tolerance to not only dogs but also many a child and adults as well. She had an air of calm confidence around her. It was impossible not to love her.
She was a loyal sentry on the porch, always staying put and never running off. She was one of the few dogs I know that would stay/wait when asked no matter what distraction presented. She taught Emmy to do the same. She always enjoyed a good walk but you had to remember to take at least two or three poop bags with you as she enjoyed multiple constitutionals. She always loved a good belly rub and perfected the sad dog stare so much so that she usually got whatever it was she wanted.
Holly was the closest I’ve come to having another dog since mine died in 2004. With her death, a piece of my foundation has crumbled. She was a constant for these past eleven years. She was always there at every celebration, holiday, get together and just everyday life.
She was a perpetual presence in my sister’s home; waiting patiently for a hug, scratch on the head or a random treat. I would say, “Holly, come” and she would be there within seconds looking up at me with her big brown eyes waiting for further instruction. She was always there–a rock, a pillar, a loyal companion to the family.
Holly, like the rest of us, was a reflection of those she kept company with and so from the start she had an advantage. When you look at it like that, she had no other choice than to become an extraordinary dog. My sister, her husband and two daughters are the quintessential caretakers and gave Holly a remarkable life. She leaves us with broken hearts—a testament of her positive impact on our lives and how much she meant to us. She leaves a raw hole in our lives like a tooth ripped out by the root too soon. I will remember the lessons she taught us with her Zen like demeanor and think of her often and fondly. I will miss her tremendously. She was a dog like no other.