Living Up To Love Beyond Words — Savannah’s Tale Continued

If you made your way here through the Savannah piece on Ether Books, I must say a passionate thank you!  To meet Savannah through reading about our final moments together means you and I have shared a sadness, which amounts to a sacrifice on your part.  Given that a good dog always gives joy, even through the hardest times, I feel it absolutely necessary to give some to you.  Savannah’s memory requires this of me.  She would celebrate my telling this on her.

When she was hardly five years old, out for a walk through an open field near our home, Savannah coaxed me into trusting her.  A pond lay near, and I knew she loved it.  But her eyes cast up at me an innocence that silently said, “I’ll stay with you.  We’ll just run around together.  I’ll mind you.  No, I won’t wade the mud, split the water wide open, get stinkin’ filthy, shake all over you, then force you to take me home humiliated in the eyes of the woman who shares a bed with you.”

I let her off the leash anyway.

Savannah took a hard-running joy lap around me, then sprang up the hill before us, straight for that pond.  I called her.  Called her again.  She stopped at the crest of the hill, looked back at me, then shot a look toward the water, then back once more at me with a panting grin that said, “Ain’t life beautiful?  You’re about to forgive me and never forget it.”

Inside 45 seconds, the immaculate house dog my wife, Jill, kept combed slicker than a 70’s country star swam 30 yards off shore, disobedient as a felon, more at home than Joan Rivers at a Clinique counter.  She swam instantly forgiven, her joy more contagious than chicken pox at a Justin Bieber show.

I soon took Savannah home, both of us stinking of wet dog.  The trust between us had a small dent in its side.   Yet we traveled in a love that shone like a new Jag.

Years later, Savannah started visiting a nursing home with me, forging a legacy of selfless care so palpable to this moment, I can nearly feel her head under my hand again.  To those who had no one, she became the beautiful someone who would visit, with a bounding eagerness, never minding the smells and looks of things that tend to cause humankind to run the other way.  Savannah brought joy to the lonesome, energy to the weary staff, and seemed to make the air around us both smile out loud. 

Such a life never goes out.  She is gone, and yet with me.  Absent, though present in every heart that recalls her. 

In this enduring thought, Savannah reminds me to ask a critical question of myself, about myself.  Are people made happier by my being here?

To answer is bound to improve me as a man.  She improves me.  Savannah never said a word, yet still inspires me to measure my own words, to make as sure as I can they do no harm. 

May every word I speak or write somehow live up to Savannah — who quietly composed her own language of love.    

Oh, by the way, if you stumbled upon this and want the rest of the story, check it out on Ether Books —


One Response to “Living Up To Love Beyond Words — Savannah’s Tale Continued”

  1. Deborah Burgess Stephens Says:

    Our shining star, sweet Savannah.

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