September 2, 2012, 9:14 AM
I want to say a big thank you to all of you for consoling me about my loss of Olivia. I guess the reason that I felt the need to write about her passing is because I needed to be consoled. I don't often - or really ever - write about my private life because I firmly believe -- as I think everyone did until Karl Marx came along - that we should separate our professional lives from our personal ones. My family exists separately from my work and if I have my way, my work and my family will always remain separate from one another. But since I raised the subject, I will write a few words about her. They won't do her justice. But they will have to suffice for now.
Olivia was an amazing dog. She was smart and sensitive. She was obedient and affectionate. And I never trained her. I used to say that Olivia's leash was in her head, that there was an invisible leash connecting her to me at all times. I carried a leash with us so that I could put it on to make people happy. But she never needed one. The only time she didn't come when I called her was when she was busy hunting. And then she came as soon as she was finished.
Olivia shared almost every moment of my life with me since I brought her home from a shelter in Tel Aviv on Friday December 13, 1996. She was just six weeks old. I can't think of a single major or minor event that occurred in my life since that day that she wasn't there for, or at least there directly before and after. And since she died on August 23, she's been missing every moment.
Before my children were born, I used to think that Olivia filled the role of a child in my life. But once they were born I realized I had been mistaken. Olivia's role in my life was very different from the role of a child. She was my partner.
Olivia was there for me and with me, with all of her heart. She did whatever she could to make my life better. She comforted me when I was upset. She guarded me at all times. She got me up and out when I didn't think I had the strength to get out of bed.
Most of the time, she just kept me company. She woke up with me in the morning. She lay at my feet as I worked. She sat by my seat at the table when I ate. She sat next to me when I watched TV. She slept next to my bed. We hiked all over Israel and the US. We took road trips all over Israel and the US and parts of Canada.
She loved everyone who I loved. She tolerated everyone I tolerated. And she despised anyone she thought was bad to me and wouldn't let them get near me.
She loved every aspect of life except being away from me. She never lost her appetite. She never lost her love of adventure even when she could barely walk and was stone deaf. She went swimming two weeks before she died.
Olivia taught me a lot about love.
It's often said that taking care of a dog is hard work. But I never felt that taking care of Olivia was hard work, even in the end when I had to carry her up and down the stairs and clean up after her and hold her up when she was eating. Being with her made me understand that it is never a burden to take care of those we love. It is a joy to do so. It isn't just a duty. It is a privilege, a gift.
Some of you have kindly offered to give me a new dog. I appreciate it very much. And I am certain that sooner rather than later, I'll adopt a new puppy. But Olivia will never be replaced. She was my dog. She belonged to me alone. My next dog will belong to my family. And so I need to wait until my family is ready to welcome a dog into our fold.
A friend told me long ago that all dogs go to heaven. I don't know if he was right about all dogs. But Olivia certainly went to heaven. I received several emails in the last week telling me that Olivia is waiting to be reunited with me when my time comes. And although I certainly don't intend to hasten our reunion, I am comforted by the thought that my guardian angel dog on earth is now my guardian angel dog in heaven.
So again, thank you so very much for all of your good wishes. It means a lot to me.
God bless all of you.