How Can Two Years Seem Like Forever & Yesterday?

Time.  There’s so much of it, but we never really have enough of it in life.


In song, there’s “Time After Time”, “Time (Clock Of The Heart), “Time Is On My Side”, “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is”, “I’ve Had The Time of My Life” and “If I Could Turn Back Time”.

If I could turn back time, like Cher, would I go back 731 days (or roughly 17,544 hours) to February 3, 2012, when I kissed you goodbye for the last time and held you as you took your last breath?


Or, would I go back 4,955 days or roughly 7.1 million minutes to July 11, 2000 and to that little country llama farm in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, where I said, “the first little girl golden retriever that walks over to me would become ‘ABBA’.”

ABBA July 2000

From the summer of 2000 when I ripped you away from your mother and father, Dolly and Fletcher, and all of your brothers and sisters when you were 7-weeks-old to that unseasonably warm, early February morning two years ago when I said my tear-filled last goodbyes to my best friend, we had a whirlwind life together.

We traveled from that farm and made our home in Youngstown, Ohio, Chicago, Illinois, Salisbury, Maryland, and Moline, Illinois.  We took road trips back to Ohio, to New York, to Kentucky, and to Ontario, Canada.


Miss ABBA, it’s been two years today since you traveled over the “rainbow bridge”.  I think about you a thousand times a day.  I say goodnight to you every night and I touch the urn that sits by my bed.  I’ve made peace with you not being here, but I know you’re looking down upon me and after me, just as I did for you for almost twelve years.

I no longer cry when thoughts of you cross my mind or I see a golden retriever walking down the street, on television, or in a magazine.  I smile and I think of how goofy you were and how much joy (and, on occasion, frustration) you brought me.

ABBAreenactmentABBA Christmas 2009   ABBAGAGA2011ABBAFashionShowJan2012

Our life together was filled with so much happiness and solitude.  You were aloof, but so observant.

I remember your first snow in Ohio when you were just months old.  You walked outside and barked at the snow-covered yard.  It wasn’t the brown, dead frozen grass you saw the night before when you went out before bedtime.  You loved the snow so much and I think of you every time the flakes start to fall.  You really would have loved this winter!

ABBA -- January 11, 2012ABBAsledding1252010 ABBAdemandingsled

I remember all those walks along Lake Michigan when most dogs were running with their people and you’d just sit and watch the world go by.  Or, when we’d go to granny’s house in Ohio after driving all day and the minute you were out of the car, you’d be in the pool or how you’d race from the car and into Spirit Lake when we’d visit Ray’s parents in northwestern Iowa.


I remember your apprehension at taking your first boat ride as an “old lady”, but then after that, you’d be standing at the boat waiting to go back out!

You were a sweetheart!  And, what a trooper.  After being diagnosed with cancer in late March 2011 and given two to three months to live without surgery, chemo, and radiation, you defied the odds.  Spring turned into summer, summer turned into fall, and fall back into winter.  You were there for our wedding and you were there to see it snow again and make “snow angels”.

It’s even hard to believe now that you were making snow angels and running down the snow-covered streets on that Saturday and then six days later you were gone.

However, I’m blessed that after making peace with your diagnosis and the short time we’d have left, we were blessed with ten more months together.

But, I’ll never forgot that last 24 hours when you took the turn for the worse and I knew it was time.  Lying on the bed as you snored loudly and I comforted you, instead of letting the tears flow, I let my thoughts pour out onto paper:

The fog hangs in the air shrouding the light, not only in the sky, but in your eyes

You look lost and just want to sleep with me close by your side

I listen to you breathe and each breath sounds deeper

Is it the end or just a peaceful sleep

As I caress your neck and shoulder blades,

You snore even louder as I try harder to hold back the tears

I don’t want you to hear me cry,

I want you to let go and not fight for me

You’ve been there for me all your life

And I want to be there for you now, my love.

My best friend


You found peace and comfort in life, except in thunderstorms or when you heard fireworks.  It took me some time find that peace after you went to “puppy heaven”, but the reflections of our life together is as beautiful now as it is in this picture of you in Ohio.

While I may celebrate birthdays with Madonna in Las Vegas or dinner in Paris, I’ll never forget that last warm birthday in 2011 when we got to spend all day outside playing together.


And, that last Halloween of you in our makeshift graveyard will live on with me with the tattoo I got a couple of months after you went away.

ABBA Inspiration For TattooAnthony ABBA Tattoo

ABBA, I may not be able to hold you and kiss you, but you’re always with me.  Thank you, my friend, for everything.


Daddy A

May 22, 2000-February 3, 2012

17 responses to this post.

  1. I think they give us so much more than we can ever give them! What a wonderful rememberance of ABBA. ❤


  2. Posted by Cathy on February 3, 2014 at 9:05 am

    So beautiful Anthony. Made me think of the two fur babies I lost. ABBA was a beautiful dog and very forrtunatevto have you for a patent. ❤


  3. What a lovely tribute to Abba. I have only just been able to adopt a Golden Retriever, 30 months after Luca died, I still had my Collie and I fostered many dogs in that time but I just couldn’t face having a Goldie until 4 weeks ago.
    All dogs are wonderful but Goldies are just a little bit special. 🙂


  4. Your memories are beautiful – thanks for sharing. I hope to see my Norman someday but just like you – I hold the memories of a best friend never to be replaced. God Bless you Anthony. Michelle


    • Michelle,

      I appreciate the kind words. I know Miss ABBA and Norman are doing just fine without us right now, so we don’t have to be in any hurry.

      It will be nice to see them again.



  5. Posted by Connie Huizenga on February 3, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    This brought tears to my eyes. What a huge heart you have and how fortunate ABBA was to have had you for her Daddy. May your heart always be filled with her love.


  6. Posted by Juanita Holloway on February 4, 2014 at 9:03 am

    It took me 2days to get this read because of the tears. We had to have our Bandit put to “rest” several years ago because of cancer and we still think of him everyday even though we’ve had more dogs since. He was just more special just like Abba.


  7. Beautiful tribute to Abba.


  8. Came across this page by accident, and what a beautiful being Abba was. She obviously was treated with upmost care, love and attention. I know one day I will have to face the same with my Dog Marley, I just don’t know what I would do. God bless Abba and you.


    • Graham,

      Thank you for your kind words. She was a special being — for sure.

      Put those thoughts about Marley in the back of your mind and enjoy every day until that day comes.

      Give Marley an extra treat for me.



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