Dear Alley...

About five years ago I fell in love with your Allen. He picked me up on our first date and informed me that we had to rush back to his place at a certain point to take you for a walk. I obliged of course. That was our first date too. You were so excited and rushed the door, bringing on a little allergy. We walked with you and held hands as you pulled us ever so Alley-like. I knew if I was to be accepted into Allen's world, I would have to be accepted by you. Oh, how I wanted you to love me.

Our dates together continued. I annihilated my weak immune system with Chlor-Tripolon before I entered Huron. My stay in the house would only last 20 minutes, but they were bliss. I remember being at work and Daddy glowing with stories about you. He would tell me about the progress of your recall training and the get-her-to-stop-barking-with-coins-in-a-can trick. He told me about how one time you escaped and started walking down Scott Street towards Lemieux Island because you got it in your head that it was a cool place to go swimming.

I remember trying to teach you not to bark at other dogs on our walk, so I would anticipate a brawl and stand between you and your line of sight. It took awhile, but it finally happened. From then on you really only growled at annoying little puppies.

I am not sure of the moment at which I fell in love with you, but I think it was from the moment I knew how much Allen loved you. The way he looked at you, the way he stroked you, and was ever so gentle in nature, even when you did something wrong, like eat Kelly's passport. The truth is, you make it easy to love you.

Your nature is inspiring. Me and Allen often talked about how we looked to your characteristics as guidance in improving ourselves. You were non-confrontational unless it was to protect the ones you love. You were independent yet not so much that you didn't need us. You gave so much to others: joy, happiness, love; all without asking anything in return.

Every moment we spent with you we cherished and every moment apart we thought of you. When we first decided to go to Australia, we had intended on going for a year, but not without you. We did so much research into bringing you over, but the expense and physical drain on you would be too much. So we decided to ask Grandma and Grandpa to stay with you, although Kelly and Alexis offered to take on the 6 week task (I dare not say challenge). Every day on that trip, Allen talked about how much he missed you and we wondered what you were up to. Grandma and Grandpa were wise in not telling us that you had escaped the first day, because we would have been consumed with worry.

When we came back, the plane ride home, we just though about you...the first member of our little family. We entered the house and you looked so different, you didn't even remember us at first, but we both got right back into loving each other after the separation anxiety and confusion wore off. All Allen wanted to do was take you for a walk that night and he did. We told the G-Units about our trip while you played along the river.

Boy did you love that river! You loved all water actually. It was a shame to have to leave Belmont but we left for our first apartment together. McLeod was small but perfect for our family of three. Thankfully we found a park nearby and everyday Allen would take you there to play with and destroy a frisbee. And when Allen had gone on a trip to Ireland, we got to bond. It was great to see you and walk you everyday. I knew your love for me when your leash fell off and you returned to me instantly.

It was also on McLeod that we discovered that we were going to have Charlotte. You seemed to know that I wasn't feeling well and you would spend your moments with me, comforting, allowing me to feel your soft fur. Our days were interesting. I was working at PomPom so my shift would begin at 1 PM. I would get pregnancy cravings and head next door to Jak's Kitchen for an egg breakfast sandwich (or two). We would snack on it together. It was yours and my secret that we kept from vegan daddy. Around noon I would get ready for work and when I left, I would get so sad. You would head to the front room, jump up on the couch and lay in the sun as you released a sigh. The only consolation was knowing that Allen would be home from work soon. After my shift I would walk home and somewhere along the street I would meet you and Dad. In winter, you would even climb the massive snowbanks that blanketed the streets. You were definitely the queen of your castle.

We moved to Belmont in April and it was great. River access, a park, familiar Grier smells and sights. It was bliss!!! That spring the park filled with water from the river. We went over to have a jolly old time. Me and Allen will always remember you getting soaked and then falling off a covered walking bridge along the path into a deep lagoon.

Charlotte soon arrived and you were there for me. Throughout my labour I leaned on you. You were there to comfort as per usual. The little being put you off a bit as you had no idea how to react. You were always aware and always cognizant of the new babes notch in the hierarchy. You tried to figure her out and we could sense a little confusion and fear. But you soon realized that we were all part of the same bunch and that bunch was bound in love.

Our family grew to include Harriet and our path led us to Montreal. It was a choice we had to make but I always felt like you were denied the green space that we desperately were working towards for you. We dreamed of rolling hills and forest behind a country farm. You would leave at dawn and do your thing, returning covered in muck and porcupine quills. You would be free.

It has been a week since your passing....

We still smell you and feel you. Little pieces of you are everywhere. You are in my mind when I accidentally drop a chocolate chip. I race to pick it up. You are in our living room where you would hop into the recliner to tuck in before bed. You are at the dining table. While eating we hope that you will appear out of the bedroom and patiently beg. Washing dishes has become more of a chore now, as they remained littered with our unfinished food. We hear you in the floor boards. Your loveliness haunts our dreams. Remnants of your hair still blow as we sweep. Our bed is bigger and colder. My hand aches to rub your balding belly and pull back your ear as I look into your childlike eyes.

I hope one day this hurt will dissipate. But for now we will embrace all that you were and use your strength of character to guide us in our choices, love and life. You are our love always and forever. Enjoy sleeping forever listening to the cottage water and smelling the fresh air.

xoxox Crystal (Mommy Grier)

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