Emma Angelica 2/14/2007 to 2/25/2022
The greatest chapter of my life came to an end on the morning of February 25, 2022. The chapter of Benny and Emma better known as B&E has closed with the passing of my Emma Angelica. Nothing and I mean nothing can prepare you for that take your breath away, bring you to your knees kind of pain that comes with pet loss. Not even losing her brother over 2 years ago. Each pet is so special. Each loss is so individual. And each one has their own story. This is the story of my Emma Angelica.
I had Benny for about 9 months before knowing I wanted to add another maltese to our family. After only ever having male maltese I knew it was time for a girl. Erik and I flew to Florida to get Emma from Marcris who was one of the most well known maltese show breeders. So well known that she was known as “The Godmother” in the maltese show world. I did not even have a photo of what Emma would look like. Her breeder said she was petite, sweet and dreamy. She said had she been a show dog she would have named her Marcris Sweet Dreams. And dreamy she was. Emma flew home with us with her first topknot in and the cutest lil smile on her face as she would start her new life in NJ.
It took all of 30 minutes for Benny and Emma to bond. One quick growl from Benny and within minutes they were bonded for life. And I’m not talking a little bond. I’m talking the greatest bond you could get between 2 dogs. I swear they were soulmates in a past life. Emma imprinted herself on Benny from the first moment and he was “her person.”
Emma Angelica came into our life only 2 months before we got married. My mom even made her a veil on our wedding day. Both B&E were there as Erik and I would begin our life together and they were the first things we had as our own together.
My Emma Angelica truly was the sweetest dog I’ve ever had. All my maltese were special and the love I have for each of them can’t be put into words, but Emma — she was the most gentle, friendly, loving little dog I ever met. Everyone who met her loved her. She never required any formal training but was so obedient. She HATED to get in trouble. And she HATED to be locked up with a baby gate. To Emma that was insulting. We used to gate B&E in the TV room and couldn’t figure out how two 5 lb dogs were escaping. We set up the ipad one day and caught Emma on video pulling the baby gate open with her little teeth to break her and Benny out.
Fierce. Mighty. Determined. She was light as a feather and would literally float on air when she ran but when it came time to be tough she was the toughest of them all. She did not like any other dogs to be around her brother. Her only dog was Benny. He was her one and only.
But people she loved. She would greet anyone and everyone at the front door with a tail wag. Her tail wagged so much that I often thought it would fall off. I’ll never forget her first night home and she woke me up the next morning from her tail wagging and hitting the inside of her crate. Happy. Just so happy. Oh and barking. Gosh she loved to bark her head off. When Erik worked midnights he would have to text me when he got home so I could grab Emma before she would bark and wake up Summer.
My mom from the moment she met Emma was instantly attached to her. We would call her flutter fly because of her happy tail wags and endless kisses. Emma, the kiss machine. She could kiss for hours and hours. You could ask her questions and she would answer yes or no by lifting her left paw. Truly she was one of a kind. OH and her yawns. She would literally talk though her tiny, loud yawns. They were the cutest sounds I ever heard.
Gosh was she beautiful. I would spend hours grooming them before I had a baby. I even grew Emma into a full coat at one point. That didn’t last long though. She was girly but a tomboy at heart.
Once Summer was born I made it a priority to make sure both her and Benny would adjust to a baby in the house. When it came time to feed Summer in the middle of the night it was always Emma that would walk down the hall and sit in the nursery with me. Watching Summer grow up from baby to toddler to preschooler to almost tween while watching B&E go from young dogs to seniors was truly bittersweet. As Summer sped up, they slowed down. The constant though was that they were always there for every moment, every milestone, every celebration.
Benny passed away in October 2019 at the age of 13. I always worried that Emma would die of a broken heart once he went so I made it my mission to make sure she wouldn’t lose her will to live. Even though they were only 6 months apart in age Benny aged much more quickly. Emma stayed spunky for the longest time although she was never the same dog once Benny passed.
I realize I had to get to know a new dog. She was independent. So independent in fact that she no longer would sleep in bed with me after Benny passed. It took me time to accept that this is who Emma is now. So I cluttered our house with dog beds in every single room. She could never resist cuddling up in a fluffy dog bed or pile of laundry.
The little dog who barked and kissed so much actually ran out of barks and kisses. Emma stopped barking a few months ago (but she did continue with the little yawns). And sadly she stopped kissing us. I like to say that she loaded us up with plenty throughout the years. I have this weird thing with numbers and for about a year I would give Emma 54 kisses on her head every single night. Subconsciously I think I was loading her up with enough kisses to bring to heaven for her and Benny.
I cherished these past 2 1/2 years of just Emma. It was our time together. I knew we were on borrowed time but that girl just kept going. I spent many days reflecting back on the days when it was the 2 of them. They were both my world for so long.
As a dog owner we are supposed to look for signs for when is the right time to let them go. Emma’s sight had been diminishing, she couldn’t hear anymore and she couldn’t go up the stairs. While I whispered sweet words in her ear and carried her around so she wouldn’t get lost — I knew in my heart this week that her time was coming. While she was still eating she was growing weak. Benny came to me in my dreams the other night and I woke up knowing he was waiting for her. That was my sign.
This morning she had a grooming appointment. I honestly felt she was too weak to go through a grooming so I carried her into my groomer and I sobbed and said I don’t know what to do. My groomer cleaned her face for me, gave her a pink bandana and snapped the photo above. She carried her out and in tears said to me you’ll know what to do. And I knew. It was her time.
I wrapped her in Benny’s blanket at the vet, kissed her head over and over saying “I love you, I love, I love you” just as I did when I said goodbye to Benny. My last words to her was “Benny will be waiting for you.” And Emma Angelica drifted peacefully away in my arms. She was born in February on Valentine’s Day and passed away in February. A true Valentine’s girl through and through. Better than any box of chocolates or bouquet of roses.
I’ve had maltese in my life for 30 years. 3 beautiful souls have been a part of my life starting when I was just 12 years old. While Emma might be my last maltese for a long time, she was the one who stayed with me the longest. How lucky am I to have had 15 beautiful years with my “mommy girl, Emma Cat, Em’s girl.” One day I will love again but for now I must learn to live in the heavy silence of a house without a dog. The only flaw that a dog has is that they can’t stay with us longer. Love them hard. Love them deep. The pain of losing them is so worth the love stories we were able to build with them.
And so my love story has come to an end. It was my absolute favorite chapter in my book and I wish I could read it all over again from start to finish. My Benny and Emma that eventually just became Emma is a story I’ll tell over and over for years and years. I made some of my best friendships because of them. While I am brokenhearted I can rest easy knowing that my Emma Angelica is back with her Benny Angelo once again. Their story can continue, and one day far away I’m sure I’ll be a part of it again. For now I’ll see you both in Unicorn Land. Make sure you look for me.