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Jul 09

Dear Ndugu,

I’ve spent the day crying on and off about Tina’s dog, Ndugu.

Sane people would be totally give me side-eye for being broken up about another person’s dog. More empathic people would say I’m so sad because his passing is so close to my dad’s death and it is mingling with the grief that is already there. Or, they might say I’m sad because Tina is obviously hurting, and we hurt when people we love hurt. There is some truth in all of that, but it is only a tiny part of my sadness. Only people who knew Ndugu get it.

There are some creatures (sometimes maybe even humans) who are just beings of joy. We all have met someone who is always smiling, unfailingly kind, and really cares about others. Those are the people version of Ndugu, but Ndugu was better at it. Ndugu had the kindest, purest, most loving soul of anyone (?) I’ve ever met.

Yes, I know most dogs are creatures of love, especially if they are in loving families. Tina definitely provided him a home of love. Aside from my father, I know of few better dog people than Tina and her husband. Ndugu was more than that though. He was more than just happy or loving; he cared about his people. He worried. I know this because I was often at the receiving end of his worried care. When I would spend the night, I slept late. Ndugu always clearly thought this meant something was wrong with me, and he would wake me up to make sure I was still alive then run off to do important Ndugu stuff. He could always tell if I was having a hard time emotionally, and he would do little things to take care of me, like staying up with me instead of going to bed with his parents. I can’t tell you how many nights I spent talking to him and finding comfort in his little old man face.

Ndugu knew a lot of my secrets, fears, and hurts. He cared for them and for me. A lot of humans have a hard time with that.

I'm pretty cute

That old man smile

The world is better for having had him in it. I think the people who loved him are better for having been in his life. And, while the platitude “they’ll never be truly gone if you keep them in your heart” drives me up a wall now, he will be remembered.

The crazy, emo, little shit

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