Goodbye, June Carter

If there is a rainbow bridge that transports beloved dogs across to their Reward, Miss June Carter will most certainly not be seen crossing it. Doing what was expected of her – even if it was for her obvious benefit – was not something Junie was interested in. June did her own thing: inscrutable, stubborn, and unique.

If I would allow myself some kind of spiritual comfort, I would hope that June is waiting at the start of the Rainbow Bridge, paw tentatively poised to step on, waiting for one of her humans to lead the way. She is great at waiting for us to catch up.

When we first heard of June’s cancer diagnosis in March of this year, I made one of those heartfelt but ill-considered announcements that I can only presume I am famous for. I held her in my arms and promised her that she would never have another bath ever again.

June hates baths as much as she hates anything – and that means she hates baths a lot.

I should have known better. The doctors said she might not make it to May. June at a stretch. By the end of May, although the tumor was now clearly visible in her mouth, she remained her old self: cuddly, clingy, loud. And increasingly dirty…and a little smelly. But a promise was a promise, and we all had to learn to live with June as she was, for as long as she stayed with us.

For the full story of how we ended up adopting June, see here. But agreeing to foster June and her brother-protector, Big JC, was the best worst idea we ever had. Once JC left us and June was designated as a widow, her personality changed. She was more forceful (so so loud in such a little frame), she was feistier, even if her regular decisions to confront Miss Jordan head-on were seldom good ideas…), she was less interested in being in a crate at night. Or ever.

So, she integrated herself into our lives much more than she had when she had JC to cover for her. And we loved her completely.

Being so small – she could be picked up with one hand – meant that she was easy to take with us when we went almost anywhere. And in the lockdown, when there were no indoors to go to, she went everywhere with us. She even came along to the movies when we saw Minari at a drive-in. She didn’t miss much, whatever she was doing, although she liked to make it seem she was missing everything – being selectively blind and deaf was a skill she elevated to an art. We will now never know whether she really couldn’t hear or see us…or whether she just wasn’t interested in what we had to say.

She was awesome and will be missed for as long as we live. She was a tiny, huge presence in our lives and her like will most definitely never be seen again. Maybe Big JC did meet her at the entrance to the rainbow bridge. Maybe they laughed at how she’d played us for two-plus years, and they trotted across together. I will choose to believe that. As we like to say – that’s such a Junie thing to do.

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