This is my story of Pearl. 
In July of 2008 I met my wife Pam through an internet dating website. Quickly we discovered a common love; our pets. I had two terriers, and Pam was the mother of a little 5 pound Bichon Frise.
I quickly learned that Pearl was a special dog. She had been born with congenital deficiencies that caused her chronic respiratory problems and blindness. When Pearl originally came home in 2005, Pam was unaware of any underlying health concerns.  It turns out that despite Pam's best efforts to buy a healthy pedigree dog from a reputable breeder, Pearl and Pam had already been selected for each other. 

Once Pam discovered that Pearl was blind, and that her mild cough was actually a congenital defect, and that she was not expected to live more than 2 or 3 years, she decided that it was her purpose to care for Pearl and to keep her happy.
 She never contacted the breeder, and she never thought twice about her responsibility, It was the beginning a love affair that is beyond description.

From that day forward Pearl received the best food, the best care, the best clothes, and the best of everything. She had walks at midday, followed by a carefully prepared lunch. She had her own travel bag, and traveled through the NY area on subways, busses, and trains. She went to the park weekly, and had regular sleep over's with Pam's niece and nephew. Pearl was treated to the finest foods. Among her favorites are roasted empire kosher chicken, smoked salmon, skirt steak and brisket. On a bad day she ate Grammy's pot pie, or smothered comfort.
When asked "What's the good news" Pearls neurologist replied "Pearl is happy !!!!!!" This became the hallmark of Pearls life.

When I arrived on the scene in 2008, I arrived at Pam's home for the first time. I was there to pick Pam up for our first real date. I arrived to find an accident on the floor. I had not yet met Pearl. 
 I quickly cleaned it up to avoid Pam from feeling embarrassed. I had no idea at the time that this small insignificant event would have any bearing on my life. When Pam and I were to be married 2 years later, she commented that it was in that moment on our first date that she identified in me someone she wanted to be with (or at least go out with again.) 

Over the past several years my life and Pearl's life have become intertwined. At first she stayed in my house during the week, and ultimately she lived with me. My thoughts were often about her care. In hindsight Pearl's life was in my hands, although I never really though of it that way. I took care of her in the morning, and after work,  arranged for her care at midday. But I don't really remember any of the work although I know it was a lot. I just remember her dancing in circles and barking with excitement when I fed her. 
At some point along the way I forgot what it was like before Pearl entered my life. When Pam and I moved in together we just became a family of four. Pam, Kevin, Pearl and Zoe. It never crossed my mind that one day Pearl would no longer be with us in the way she always had. 

Over the past several weeks our lives have drastically changed. Pearls underlying condition has finally caught up with her. Although she was only expected by her doctors to live to two or three, through the love and selfless caring of Pam, Pearl and Mom have enjoyed almost six perfect years together. Filled with loving mealtime rituals, spinny spinny dancing, constant belly rubs, and uncomprehendable joy.   

By many accounts when Pearl arrived, Pam had been already scarred by several tragic circumstances, and a considerable amount of unresolved grief. Pearl gave Pam purpose, direction, and taught her how to love. She taught Pam about life after loved ones pass, after marriages end, and living when life seems desperate and cold. She demonstrated the good qualities of people, and she showed Pam how to open her heart back up. For sure it was Pearl who opened Pam's eyes to me.

Although it might seem obvious to others  that Pam and I had a blind dog, an that being the parent of a blind dog must be challenging,  As her parents we have never felt that we had a blind dog, it was almost a non issue, she was just Pearl, and although she never fetched a ball, chased a squirrel, or barked at cars going by, she always ran to the door when we came home, lifted her paw so you could rub her belly, barked when she needed a clean up, ran in the park, and gave lots and lots of kisses.

On Sunday July 10th, Little Miss Pearl despite the best efforts of her parents, doctors, medicines, and prayers succumbed to her illness, after a valiant 5 week battle with pneumonia.
 She looked at us and said it was time. We are devastated with grief. we don't understand how such a sweet, gentle helpless, angel of a life, could be no more.

We don't understand why, it makes no sense that an angel should be afflicted in this way.
 It makes no sense that after so much love, and sacrifice, and limitless caring, that she was taken away from us. 
Was it really "her time"? What does that mean? 
Is there really a bigger picture, a bigger plan, an evolution of some kind? 
Maybe all this time we had it all wrong.
Maybe we weren't caring for precious miss Pearl at all.
Maybe in the ultimate wisdom of the heavens, Pearl, with all her ailments was actually here to care for us.
Maybe she was sent to teach us love, and forgiveness, selflessness and open-mindedness.
Maybe she was here to save a person who needed help even more than she herself appeared to need.
Maybe the real story is about a girl who was stuck. A girl who through no fault of her own had been so irreparably damaged by careless parents, abuse, and loss. 
Who had no ability to give, to love, to feel joy.
Maybe Pearl was here to save Pam, and now that her job is done,  the greatest lesson of all, was bestowed on Pam the gift to love unconditionally and selflessly. For in order for Pearl to be free of pain and discomfort, Pam and I had to say goodbye. 

An indescribable sorrow is in our hearts now.
 No matter what the story truly is, I suppose its up to us to decide. Pam and I would do it all again. Our feelings of love and joy will never fade. 
Pearl we love you. 

Story by: Kevin Berman
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