Poppie ran her race well. She’s the one in the middle in the photo. I’m not talking about the race we ran together one fourth of July and she was the first dog to cross the finish line. I’m not talking about the race she ran with Bill when he got first in his age group and she won first in the dog category. Nor am I talking about another race she ran with Bill and they created a Top Dog award just for her. Someone even ran to the store right then and bought her a box of dog biscuits. She seemed very proud of that.

Nope. Those were all great wins. But I’m talking about running her race in life. Poppie loved everyone and she loved well. We hosted a neighborhood club in our home frequently. Poppie worked the room making sure everyone felt welcomed and loved. Several people offered to keep her if we’d ever travel. One gentleman said that he just seemed to relax around Poppie. All his cares just fell away. He adored her. Another woman who kept Poppie on occasion, said Poppie was the reason she learned to like dogs. She wasn’t a dog lover at all but offered to watch Poppie, and is now considering getting a dog.

Poppie allowed kids in the park to hug her, or to throw the ball for her, or rub her tummy. She loved visiting my mother in her retirement village and always greeted her with waggles. Poppie allowed the residents to pet her and love on her. When I’d show up without Poppie, the residents would ask where she was, how she was doing, and why I hadn’t brought her. They would kindly remind me to bring her the next time I visited. LOL.

Poppie loved well. She loved regardless of gender, race, or political beliefs. She loved because it was in her nature to love and it’s what she was put on this earth to do. What are we put on this earth to do? That answer varies immensely. But it’s hard to argue with the idea that maybe we are put on this earth for the same reason as Poppie – to love. Are there any problems that can’t be solved by a little more love, tenderness, and understanding? Are there any arguments, disagreements, or battles that can’t be solved with love? What if everyone loved like Poppie? Perhaps we’d  relax more, enjoy each other more, solve our differences quickly. In fact, for  what ever reason we may be put on this earth, perhaps we should attempt to do it with a little more love – whether it’s research, banking, law, medicine, teaching, mechanics, sales, art, etc. Whatever it is, is it possible to flavor it with more love?

Poppie passed away a few months ago. I miss everything about her. I miss her letting me hug her as long as I needed. I miss her running with me and walking with me. I miss her constant companionship. I miss her greeting me at the door, sitting by my desk when I write, and snuggling next to me in a thunderstorm. But most of all I miss her daily reminders of how to love others well. I know I need to step up my game and work on running my race better and loving more, no matter what I may be doing. I need to love like Poppie.

Thank you, Poppie for all the love you showed me and others. You truly left your mark, your mark of love forever on our hearts. Well done, Poppie. Way to run your race!