You started limping on a Saturday morning in January. The night before, you romped with your brother and sister and tried, like you always did, to dig a hole in the ice. Then just you and I went out to meet mommy at the bus stop and you were a puppy again in how excited you were to see her. You were wearing the doggy shirt your mommy got you for Christmas with that silly picture of me on it, and I was wearing the silly shirt mommy got for me two years ago with your smiling face on it. Off Leash and Rompin' Hard it says.
I remember the day your mommy got you for me. Mommy had asked me to come over after work and I thought you were an inquisitive cat from a distance. When I realized saw you weren't a cat, and instead the best dog ever, I thought 'that's awesome, Nina got a puppy.' When she told me you were for me, I dropped to my knees and gave you the biggest kiss and I never stopped smiling for the rest of your life.
We spent a special year together in that apartment near Maple Leaf Gardens, just you and me. We watched Star Trek together all the time. You destroyed that ugly blue couch — I remember coming home from work and the parquet floor all over our place was obscured by polyester fluff, like you evenly distributed it all. You looked at me like, 'what? you were gone.' I remember those days waking up to you gnawing on my hand-made side tables in bed — you always slept at the head of the bed. I loved every second.
Soon enough mommy and Calvin were around a lot more and then we all moved in together in that apartment on Cosburn. You had to move to the bottom of the bed, I'm not sure if you ever forgave mommy for that. Every party we had always ended the same, with a few drunk people congregated around you, wide awake and getting pets. You always stayed with us to the end, even when you cut your paw while we walked to the wine store and it wouldn't stop bleeding. Emma picked you up half-way through the party when the VEC said you could come home and even though you were dazed on the drugs, you still stayed up with us, never wanting it to end.
And you had so many friends. Emma and my dad were particular favourites: You howled in grief when my dad didn't spend adequate time here during visits and you whined with glee whenever Emma came over. We've said goodbye to many doggy friends, too: Chelsea, Buster, Rizla and Hunter all left us too early. Even your dog-park friends: Nigel who kept giving you Giardia over and over again and Trapper who taught you how to be noble. No one compared to Calvin though, he taught you everything about loyalty. After he left and didn't come back you slept in his bed for a week.
You stuck with us through your annoying new siblings Sailor and Sophie. At our wedding you gave mommy and I a look that said 'there are too many people here!' We'll never forget that, it proved you were a discerning dog. And you protected your baby cousin Lucy from the crowds all night.
You were strong, too. After your tummy surgery, I visited you every day and cried with an indescribable happiness when you finally started eating again. You stayed with us for two more years after that and we cherished every second.
Then, cancer. Your limp only got worse and the news hit us like a truck. I didn't sleep that night and had a job interview the next morning. I credit you with getting me through it because I wasn't nervous: You were all that mattered. A few weeks later, you stopped eating anything but steak and you whined when you couldn't get up. You were sad and hurting and we didn't want you to be sad any more. On March 6, we watched Star Trek together and ate steak. On March 7 your big heart beat its last time and we wailed in agony as if something was being torn from our bodies. But, later we started looking over all our old photos and we saw how happy you were for those 4155 days.
We will miss you, Navy, always and forever.