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The Unconditional Love of a Pet: Remembering Brinkley

The Unconditional Love of a Pet: Remembering Brinkley

Mandy & Brinkley's Story

I would like to take you on a personal journey with me. One that started in early August 1999, when I was 12 years old.

I adopted my dog Brinkley from the humane society but let's be honest. He rescued me. I remember feeling so official signing the adoption paperwork. That was a moment that marked the beginning of a truly special friendship.

I had begged for a dog for years. I would write letters to my mom. I would talk about it nonstop. I was relentless. At the time I was fixated on breeds, wanting the largest breed of dog I could imagine or read about and my dog dictionary. Great Danes, Mastiffs, St. Bernard's and the list goes on and on. Nothing happened. Then I shifted to smaller breeds thinking. Maybe that would help my argument of wanting to dog. So that shifted to pugs, to Frenchies and on and on and on.

But I think what took so long or what felt like forever was divine timing.

Brinkley came into my life at a pivotal stage. Not long before my brother Clint passed away in a boating accident. Becoming an only child after having an older brother was very weird. And then Brinkley appeared. I was told Brinkley was a golden retriever and cocker spaniel mix. However, he looked and acted much more like a beagle and a lab mix. And that's what I swear by to this day. And I think what continues to make me a sucker for beagles or any hound mix out there.

Also you'll find out in a later episode. I did get that large breed.. His name is Larry. And he's 1300 pounds of love. He may be. More like a grasp puppy. But stay tuned for more about him.

 

To this day, Brinkley is by far the smartest dog I've ever known. He mastered all of the tricks, sit, lay down, rollover, crawl and balance on his back legs with the treat on his nose. Fetch the paper from the driveway. And he'd even ring a bell when he needed to go outside. I also trained him in sign language in case here I ever went deaf. I'm still not sure where that wisdom came from at such an early age, but I did it.

Brinkley went everywhere with me. On walks car rides when I turned 16 and even to parties in my later high school years. I lived in a small town there wasn't a lot to do. He was always around and everyone in my small town knew exactly who he was. Brinkley even managed to get himself into doggy jail once. That got us both in trouble.

Brinkley would roam town while I was at school because he was quite the escape artist. Yet he always was sitting on the front porch waiting for me to get home. I swear that dog could tell time.

As time went on and I went off to college. Brinkley spent more and more time with my dad. They became instant best buds. Brinkley lived the last half of his life with my dad and I wouldn't have had it any other way. He was my dad's companion. My dad's best friend. My dad's side kick on car rides and visits to friends and family.

I swear Brinkley was going to live as long as he possibly could. He lived to be 17, far longer than traditional years at the time. I was able to do the most rewarding and most difficult thing with Brinkley. With the help from my aunt we gave Brinkley the most comfortable passing.

I remember nearly every single detail. It was Brinkley, myself and the veterinarian in a room. The vet gave Brinkley a drug to calm him and I made sure it was double dose because I wanted him to be so relaxed while passing given the enormous unconditional love he gave me and my dad throughout his years. The veterinarian honored my request and made sure he was completely relaxed before administering the final drug to help him pass on. And just like that he did in my arms wrapped in his blanket.

I remember his final breath. And it just felt like he was immediately at peace. I thanked to him for his endless love, for always showing up and for adding so much comfort and fun into my life. And my dad's. 

I had Brinkley cremated and it only seemed appropriate when my dad passed away many years later to put them back together and into the ground.

Brinkley was there when I was navigating sibling loss, he was there for all of the walks, all of the car rides, all of the parties. He wasn't much of a snuggler, but was always in the room with me. He was the best companion and really helped fill a hole I didn't know how to fill myself as a kid.

And one last super rad detail that I'm so fortunate to have is Brinkley visits me in my dreams. And my dad is oftentimes with him. The most recent one was just so, so cool. Brinkley and my dad were sitting in the driveway waiting for me to come visit. My dad had decorated the entire house with Christmas decorations and mermaids and he was so excited to show me. And if you know me at all, Christmas and mermaids are a very big deal in my world. So it was such a profound dream. As part of who I am and my endless relationship with those who are no longer earth side and I still get to connect with in a soulful way.

To this day and every day... Brinkley is by far the best dog on the planet.

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