We lost part of our family today. Somebody that came into our lives almost by mistake. Somebody that almost wasn't one of us. Somebody that we chose, in spite of all of the very good reasons not to.
We lost a friend that was unconditional. One that was always thankful, always loving, always kind. She was optimistic in spite of every obstacle in her way. She was dedicated and up for anything. She was the one that you knew you could count on to back you up in any crappy spot - as long as you could help her get there.
We spent the better part of 4 years with Penny after we found her eating herself to death with no hope of escape. She came to live with us, and learned to love rabbits (or at least barking at them), to love long walks (or at least all the naps she took along the way) and to share her food. Penny lost a few pounds while she was with us, but in spite of the physical limitations of a belly that hung lower than her legs, she kept up with us and became part of our silly family.
She made us laugh every day with her constant cheerfulness, her heroic attempts to climb stairs and her respectful begging for more food. She made us appreciate the heart that's inside an imperfect body, and even when she lost her eye sight she seemed to have a better idea of what was going on than a lot of humans. She knew when somebody needed a chin on their knee for comfort. Or an excited Cadillac dance for no reason. She knew the power of a good snuggle and the value of a squishy bed.
She was Dagny's scolding grandmother, Emmy's comrade, Nattie's confidant and Truck's lower bunk. Penny took nothing for granted but loved every minute of her life. Her little stubbed tail was always working in thankful circles. We loved that silly obese dog. She's in her next home now. Probably chasing chickens and flopping down for a quick rest in the tall grass. Wearing angel wings like a flying pig, some of us think. And it would only make sense.
There were times after we adopted her that we wondered if we'd made the right choice to commit to a dog with so many struggles and imperfections. Really, we were the ones that needed rescuing. We needed Penny's blind, unconditional love of all people, and her steadfast faith in her family. Her willingness to ask for help and offer affection. We needed to be reminded that beauty is what we give to each other, not how we look. We needed Penny, and thank goodness she chose us.