I wish Dolly could have talked. I’d love to hear her side of the story of the many adventures that we went on the past twelve years. The last few days, my family, friends, industry colleagues, and acquaintances have showered me with condolences on the passing of my best friend, Dolly.
I have heard an overwhelming number of stories and we all feel the same way. The love and sadness of losing our dogs NEVER goes away. I am relatively reserved and really don’t share my emotions often, but this one I can’t help but put it out there.
I am sad, depressed, lost, and my heart is broken. I lost my first baby, my best friend, and constant companion for the last twelve years.
I haven’t always been Ladyhawk.
Early in my career, I was a naive 23-year-old, recent college graduate, and yearning to get the hell of Washington state and move to California.
Well I did.
I jumped on an opportunity to take a job in the wakeboarding industry and moved to Northern California on two weeks’ notice. As I drove down I-5 south, I had $300 in my banking account, a Toyota Tacoma, mattress, bag full of clothes, and my Dolly in the front seat.
Two blonde gals that were going to conquer California and that WE did. We spent the winters backcountry skiing the Sierra’s, camping along the coast, hiking, and endless summers posting up and sitting on the shores of Lake Tahoe.
Then, we met Mr. Hawkins and things changed. We made room for him in our hearts and our home. It took some adjusting for everyone, but we became a family and leaned on each other during difficult times.
One memory that will forever be in the forefront of my heart is the week that Chris proposed to me. That week was beyond stressful, I was a mess. I was in one of my final semesters of my MBA program, announcement was made about my job and company were being moved to Salt Lake City, my parents were divorcing, and Chris continued to suffer from epileptic seizures.
Dolly could definitely feel my heartache and both she and Chris, had to do some work to convince me to go to Lake Tahoe to hike Mt. Tallac that day.
I didn’t want to go. I wanted to stay at home and stress about my final project, whether I was going to move Salt Lake City, and how my family would survive the divorce.
I grabbed her leash from the closet door knob, she started jumping and barking – which meant, “Mom let’s go, I want to go to Lake Tahoe”.
We headed up the hill, arrived at trailhead, and started hiking the 10-mile trail that is the tallest peak and probably one of the most scenic spots in Tahoe. As we got close to the summit I started to notice that Dolly was walking awkward and crying softly. We stopped and looked at the bottom of her paws and she had sheared off her pads from walking on hot shale slabs.
I debated on turning around, but she and Chris wanted to reach the summit. They both went ahead of me and found the most gorgeous spot to sit and rest. As I approached, Chris was reaching in his pocket and got on one knee and asked me to marry him. My Dolly was right next us, exhausted, in pain, and smiling from ear to ear.
Damn, she knew all along.
She kept Chris’s secret for months and still managed to coax me into getting outdoors, even when I wanted to be left alone.
That is the thing about dogs. They don’t take a back seat to life events, rather they are
there front and center – pillars of strength and support at any point in time. They don’t judge you and never stop wanting to be your friend and confidant. It was one of the purest and unconditional loves- that can be ever felt.
In closing, my outdoor adventures for the past twelve years have been nothing short of amazing. I was lucky to have one of the most beautiful souls fill my life with joy, happiness, and unconditional love. I am forever indebted to my Dolly girl.