My dog, Ava, died this week. I’ve been navigating through a fog of sadness while I learn to adjust to a world without my best friend. The 12 years we shared together were filled with adventure and companionship. We were two peas in a pod. She went everywhere with me. She even tagged along for a Disney adventure. Over the years, there have been dogs from Disney and Pixar movies that capture what life was like with her. This list is my tribute to Ava.
Let me know if your pet reminds you of any Disney dogs.
Stitch (Lilo and Stitch)
While Stitch isn’t a dog, the chaotic healing he brought to Lilo and Nani was very relatable. Our dog was a rescue. When we went to the shelter and chose her, the woman at the shelter said, “That one is trouble.” It was still love at first sight and I’m so happy that I didn’t heed her warning. Ava was clearly not meant for everyone, but she was meant for us. She taught us the meaning of “Ohana.”
Georgette (Oliver and Company)
My dog was a pampered princess. Her myriad of allergies meant that she got top quality food. For the first seven years, she had our undivided attention. Then, my friend died leaving behind an orphaned cat. We brought the cat into our home and on our way back to the house we said, “Georgette isn’t going to be happy.” While our dog never became besties with the cat, the cat adored her and Ava learned to coexist. I have to say that Ava had the most diva death possible. She mustered enough strength to run the cat into the other room and then went into my arms just to make sure she had my undivided attention for her last moments.
Pongo (101 Dalmatians)
Being the creative type, Ava would keep a tight schedule for me. Which I needed for when I would get lost in my head. She kept track of mealtimes and was adamant about keeping her daily walks. I’ll miss these strolls. I think most of the people I’ve met over the years have been through our walks and trips to the park. As an introvert, having her with me made it easier to talk to other people. She definitely was not an introvert and loved meeting new people.
Dug’s unconditional love and forgiveness is probably a trait that any dog parent can relate to. Knowing she was home to greet me after work or a bad day was one of the best things in the world. She was never far from my side when I was home.
This one speaks loudly to me right now. I wish I could bring her back just to cuddle more. I can relate to Victor’s sadness and desire to have his best friend back in his life and the struggle to let him go.
Ava was a bit of an odd ball. She was stubborn and guided by her stomach. Yet, there was something magical about our relationship. We would sometimes joke that she was psychically linked to me. I don’t pretend to have any authority on an afterlife, but I like to think of her as my spirit animal and that one day I would see her again.