And while Travis and I both grew up with pets, our first pets as a family of our own were Lola and Cash. We got Lola, our maltese, just a few weeks before we got married. She quickly became our everything. We've only left her twice and that was for an anniversary get away and a work trip to Ireland. She's gone everywhere else with us.
We got Cash, our black lab, right before our second anniversary. We had had a little dog and we were ready for a big one. And Cash was big. Not just in size, but in sweetness and love and energy and companionship. From the moment we got him, he loved both of us, but Travis was his favorite. Always. He would follow Travis foot for foot. He would lay in the kitchen while Travis was cooking. He would sit at the edge of the couch while Travis sat down. He would even wait at the bathroom door for Travis. It was sweet and I admit a little aggravating all at the same time.
Lola was, and still is, our "lap" dog. All we ever really expected from her was love and attention and kisses. We were very content for her to just sit in our laps and live the high life. Cash was different. Of course we wanted his love and attention and kisses, but we expected more. We expected him to listen and follow rules and obey. Travis began training him at only seven weeks and train him, he did. Cash could sit and heel and come and stay and retrieve. You could say "kennel" and he would get in his kennel or his pen and not fuss one bit. You could say "go hurry" and he immediately went outside to do his business. He was one smart doggie.
We never worried about Cash being outside without a leash. Obviously we used a leash when walking him or taking him somewhere, but like I said, he never strayed too far from Travis. And even when Travis would come into the house, Cash would sit at the back door and wait. Slobbering on the door window the entire time. So we never thought twice about having him in our yard or my parent's yard or even a friend's yard without a leash. He never, in eight years, ever attempted to run in the road or chase a car or anything like that.
Almost five weeks ago, on Christmas night, we lost our sweet boy, Cash. To make a long, heart breaking story short, we were at my parent's house for the holidays and something got Cash's attention. Travis had been outside, came inside, and in those few seconds, Cash went to the road and was hit by a car. The young guy that hit Cash stopped and knocked on my parent's front door to let us know that he had hit a black lab. We immediately rushed outside, only to have our hearts broken in half.
It was gut wrenching to say the least. A moment that I will never forget. We were stunned, shocked, and devastated. And while we had both lost pets before, this was the first time we had lost "our" pet. Our pet that was more than just a pet. Cash was family. One of our babies. You can ask pretty much anyone, and they will tell you that if they came back as a dog, they would want to be Travis' dog.
The next days brought many, many tears and questions and anger and just being broken hearted. Neither of us knew what to do or what to say. We were crushed. And when we returned home just a few days later, it was like losing him all over again. Our house wasn't the same. It felt empty. There was a void. It just felt wrong. There was no Cash bumping at our legs or feet as we walked through the house. There was no Cash sitting at the back door waiting patiently. There was no Cash running around the backyard. No Cash waiting at Travis' feet or at the bathroom door. I missed his snoring at night and his slobber on the back door window. I missed seeing his black hair everywhere. Even Lola was out of sorts and she wasn't his biggest fan by any means.
No, he wasn't Cash. And he wasn't ever going to replace him. Ever. But he was the one we needed. He was the one we were supposed to have. So he became ours. And we haven't stopped smiling.
Meet Conway, our newest family member...
Yes, our hearts still hurt. Yes, we still miss Cash terribly. We talk about him all of the time. We share stories about him. We share our favorite moments about him. We look at pictures and watch old videos. We will always miss him, but our hearts are slowly healing and we have Conway to thank for that.