SHE was smiling and looking up at him while Peter ran his fingers across her head, through her hair and down onto her back. Gritting her teeth, Peter knew It wouldn't be long. Josie had been fighting for so long. The pain crippling her body and every movement now was becoming unbearable. The fight was nearly over. We both could sense it, but not a word was spoken.
With Josie, this was how it always was.
We didn't need to speak but we communicated. Just a look or a slight nod and we would acknowledge exactly what either was talking about. Peter had a sense and could feel himself drifting, his head getting heavy as he held her. Her breath was slowing, once again she raised her head ever so slightly as if to whisper to him that it was time.
Josie passed in his arms. Tears were welling up in his eyes and angry waterfalls were cascading down Peter's cheeks, crashing onto his legs below like a winter's storm with no respite. Peter was broken and couldn't stop. How could she be gone? It was far too soon.
There was no funeral. They kept it as a family affair. Glowing words were spoken and not much more. Josie would be missed. With warmest affection, Josie was remembered and would never be forgotten.
Jarrod and Jean took it the hardest. Tears were plentiful, the sorrow and pain went on for months whilst do-gooders would say it will get easier, that time heals all pain. That didn't help.
They would just be dragging the kids down again and again, where a month would meld into another.
Attempting affirmation, Peter was regularly found back in her favourite place atop the luscious green mountain, the crashing waves in the distance and the occasion parachute landing nearby with a whoosh.
Josie and Peter would often sit here together gazing fixedly out to the blue sea, not speaking and just taking in life as it would go on. Peter stroked her hair, ever so gently. They loved the peace and relative quiet; this was their happy place.
They found this as the place to recharge and rewind their busy working lives. They would frequently see the parachutes twirling and twisting, delicately floating on the wind, and graciously coming into land, with feet up and sliding back to the mountain top grass. Determined and self-motivated Peter had always said that one day in the future he would be going up into the air and floating back down without a care in the world.
Josie almost would scald him at the thought. Peter would get the look, her loving eyes, confused and interested at the same time. Peter always thought that Josie would have a go in the parachute if given the opportunity. Josie would always turn her head, disgusted at the thought as though she wanted to try but was too scared and knew she would be concerned with the swirling descent back to solid ground.
We could always dream.
They loved the peace and relative quiet; this was their happy place. They found this as the place, to recharge and rewind their busy working lives.
Determined, Peter knew what he had to do. Without thinking he booked in and was determined they would be jumping tomorrow morning at 8am.
Restless, sleepless but eager Peter struggled to drag himself out of bed, needing to attend the briefing at 6:30am sharp to take the jump.
He spoke to Josie as he was getting ready, mentioning that the day had come and they would be jumping. Of course, there was no answer, but he felt she was always with him.
Arriving at the briefing Kirk, or Captain Kirk as he like to be called with a chuckle, took Peter through the stages of the jump. He showed the parachutes being packed professionally as Peter slid into his jumpsuit, shuddering as he saw the small Cessna that would be taking to the sky to fulfill those dreams of flying - and falling, he thought to himself.
Engines engaged, came the call. It was only Peter and Captain Kirk in the back of the plane. He broke into song, Just the Two of Us, and laughed as the floodgates opened. Josie came rolling back into his head as tears once again streamed down his face. Out of the inside pocket Peter slipped a box.
"This here is Josie, she is going to fly down with us," he told Kirk.
Kirk shook his head, but Peter once again was more determined and gritted his teeth and said nothing.
It was time. Peter knew.
Strapped to Captain Kirk, they tumbled through the air, the wind rushing by. Peter saw water and sky, water and sky and then heard the whoosh of the parachute opening as they began to glide. They could see the mountain top and people sitting on the long grass watching as they twirled on our way down. Suddenly Peter was gently opening the box and Josie was flying, the calm breeze catching her dust. It swirled and hung in the air for seconds, just like them. Peter could not believe they were both flying after all this time.
Legs up came the call, and they slid into the long grass. Peter was smiling from the adrenaline and the rush. As he looked into the sky, he thought he could see Josie, running on all fours and smiling with the big furry grin she always did.
Breathing heavily, he thought to himself that she was the greatest dog he had ever owned - and finally, she had flown.