Lila enjoying the new interlocking stones outside the garage door.
13 years passed so quickly.
I remember Lila arriving at my house when she was a few months old. It was shortly after Christmas in 2000 when my brother and sister returned from Switzerland with a small, black Rottweiler/Labrador mix. She was the first puppy I'd ever seen that had a tail, since all our previous Rottweilers had been de-tailed. I don't remember much about them. I remember eagerly running out to the garage to see my precious new puppy before the car even fully stopped.
For the next 13 years, this sweet dog named Lila was my companion and friend. One specific memory stands in my mind, where Lila found me sitting in the grass, crying my eyes out..and she licked my tears away, put her head in my lap, and just comforted me with her presence.
I was 10 years old when Lila came into my family. She was the runt of her litter, and was almost killed by her mother shortly after being born. The bite marks from where her mom had bitten her were visible for the rest of her life, but that only made her more special.
She was the most patient and long-suffering animal I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. I used to bother her, putting my hand in her mouth, seeing if she'd bite me. (I wasn't a very smart child! ;) ) even with my hand in her mouth, she'd look at me with curiosity, and never ever bite down. If she was eating, I could reach down and take the food out of her bowl, and she wouldn't even growl. When she had puppies, she was protective of them, but still allowed us to cuddle them.
Throughout her lifetime, Lila befriended most of our barn cats, snuggling up with them on cold winter days, and even allowing them to nap on her back. Her other animal best-friend was a horse named Angie. Lila would stay by Angie's side in the pasture for days, running with her, laying beside her, sleeping by her.
People often remarked that she didn't obey them when they told her to sit, lay down, or shake a paw. Then, they'd be amazed to watched her perfectly obey the same commands.. Only given in Swiss. She was a true Swiss-canadian.
When my nephew was born, we were a little concerned about how Lila would react to a baby. Once again, she amazed us with her gentle, loving nature. Though my nephew would pull on her hair and squeeze her tail, she patiently endured it, along with his shrieks of joy. She even allowed him to 'ride' her like a horse: she walked around slowly, with him on her back, his little hands tightly holding on to her fur.
Many, many things in my life changed over the past 13 years, but Lila was always there, as calm, loving, and warm as ever.
I'll never understand why such a loyal dog had to die such a terrible death. To the driver of the car who hit her, you'll never know what a great life you ended. On Christmas Eve, 2013, Lila was hit by a car and left for dead on the side on the road. We don't know if it was 3 or 4 hours that she laid there, in the -30 winter night, but she was barely alive when we found her. Her injuries were extensive, and I'll never get that image of her out of my head. When she heard our voices, she tried to lift her head to see us. We gently stroked her muzzle and her paws, the only places that looked like it wouldn't hurt to be touched. After a few agonizing minutes, Lila passed away.
Lila.. Thank you for loving me unconditionally. You brought so much joy to my family. You'll be in my heart forever.