Sad news from a friend

I was pre-treating my whites with some Shout this morning when the phone rang. I recognized my friend Uta’s voice, but she sounded strangely low-key.

Gretchen’s been hit by a car,” she said. “We had to put her down last night.”

I was immediately heartbroken. Poor sweet Gretchen. And how sad that this should happen to Uta, who had only recently discovered the friendship of dogs.

Although Uta was always on good terms with my collie, Arrow, she didn’t truly understand our bond. Sometimes she ribbed me (in her good-natured way) about my co-dependent relationship with a dog.

The tables turned a couple of years ago when Uta adopted Lindsey. She was smitten with her first dog—so much so that she also adopted Gretchen a few months ago. I teased Uta about the dog-hoarding tendencies that were beginning to emerge.

With a square head like a hyena’s and a guinea pig’s cowlicked coat, Gretchen was as goofy-looking as she was feisty. Her two passions were escaping her yard and chasing squirrels. Sadly, the latter cost her her life.

During a walk in a densely wooded area, Gretchen took off after a squirrel. She didn’t respond to her training collar, and she never noticed the car that hit her.

Today I did my best to console Uta and her husband, Bob, but I know it’s of no use. There is no salve for the heartbreak of losing a friend—especially when that friend was a creature for whose life you were responsible.

I hope time heals Bob and Uta’s heartbreak. I also hope there is a heaven, and that it’s full of squirrels.

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