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Perspective: Goodbye, dear and faithful friend

Yuki Dog

I have discovered the heart of magic, the essence around us that crackles, touches hidden places in our lives and urges us to take our place in the world around us.

Just this week, my sweet girl, Simchah died. She was 18. For eighteen years she was a constant and faithful presence in my life, my canine companion.

"Simchah" means "joy," and she lived up to her name.
Lou Ness
"Simchah" means "joy," and she lived up to her name.

Simchah and I understood each other, and as if by magic, I knew when the time had come to say farewell. She taught me so much. Most importantly she taught me about the magic of relationships.

Simchah was a quiet dog, never once curled a lip in warning anyone – except the new puppy. Her little yip was enough to keep Nola away. Though in her last days they took to sleeping together, the young comforting the old.

Knowing the end was near, I cherished every “last moment.” The walk in the yard before bed (which she barely made). The good night pet, the early morning waking, lifting her from the floor and holding her as we came down the step – Thinking, you’re always so soft. Every second, present to her.

Then our kindly vet came to the house. By 12:00 pm, Simchah was gone. She died peacefully in my arms as I wept copious tears of sorrow. Present to her death as I had been to her life.

Presence, that’s the magic of our relationship and the gift Simchah gave me. As I looked into eyes, I could hear her say, this is all we have, the now. Remember this, Lou.

Goodbye, dear and faithful friend. Your work is done. Rest in Peace.

Lou Ness has been working in service to people for decades. She has headed church-based programs in Rockford and served as Director of the Rockford Police Chaplains Program. She was an early pioneer in the domestic violence community.