May 14, 2019
I miss you so much! Who knew how much it could hurt? Every little thing reminds me of you, because until yesterday you were some part of even of my smallest movements. As I sit on the sofa you’re not there to snuggle up and burrow under the throw, with your back pushing up against my leg. When I went to bed last night, you weren’t there lying directly in the way of where my legs go, then crawling up to lie between Bob and I to get your good-night pets and kisses. When I go to the bathroom, you’re not there to push the door wide open, making me a little annoyed for a split second, only to pet you from my less than dignified perch. You weren’t there this morning to lick the water off my ankles when I stepped out of the shower.
And now I am alone in the house. Bob has gone to help Doug, with my blessings because I knew I wanted to write to you. I am so very alone without you, my little buddy. Your big brown eyes, capable of the most nuanced communication: “Is that for me?” “I’m coming too, right?” “Are you OK?” “Do you see what that bothersome fill-in-the-blank is doing?” “Don’t you dare!” “I love you!” Your expressive ears, up high with their floppy little bends at the top when something piqued your interest, straight back and pinched against your head as you marched with conviction along the seawall. Or, most often, ears high, tail high, bulldog strut from the front, dainty girl from the back.
I loved the smell of your paws; a sweet little stinky feet smell. The smell of your eyeballs and your ears. Your breath and what came out the other end, not so much.
I loved kissing you on your head and muzzle, petting your soft head and ears, massaging the rough on your shoulders and back, and resting my hand on your tiny waist as you lay beside me.
I loved you sitting between us in the car, on your perch just behind us, head often resting on the back of Bob’s seat. Or, sitting straight up with your ears alert and eyes shining as we approached a known walk or a new adventure.
I loved you growling when I tried to move you without your permission.
Over the last week I noticed that we came full circle. Maybe that was part of how I knew your time was very close. When you were a tiny puppy, small enough to rest in my hand, you helped with Morgan’s early morning paper route. You’d walk as far as you could, then plunk your little butt down on the sidewalk and look way up with those huge brown eyes, “Up please!” I’d tuck you in the little pouch tied around my waist, made of a silk scarf on the inside and a wool one on the outside.
Lately, you stopped mid-walk in the very same way, and I carried you home in my arms, loving that I could be there for you. When you were a wee puppy, I picked you up and took you out to pee every time you woke up or finished eating. For the past couple of days, I carried you out to the yard and placed you gently on the ground so you could have a pee, or throw up, feeling glad I was there for you, my little life buddy.
It came on so quickly. Bob and I have been preparing ourselves for months, since first finding out you had kidney disease. You weren’t supposed to make it to the fall, certainly not Christmas, and it would have been insane to think you’d see another day of summer-like weather. But you lived fully, if not a bit more slowly, to see it all. And then something changed. Something ever so subtle whispered between us that our time together here was coming to an end.
And then you were gone.
So many thoughts and feelings went through as I started to grieve, including dreading ever walking anywhere where we walked with you. But I knew we needed to walk the Rathtrevor trail the evening of your passing. And so we did. Without you.
I didn’t get the harness and leash out of the front cupboard, nor peel off a couple of doggie bags. I didn’t hook you up and help you jump in the car, up to your perch. You didn’t jump out of the car when we got there and put on the brakes with the very first super important sniffing opportunity. We didn’t stop every two feet for you to sniff another great pee-mail. You didn’t bound along the trail, zigzagging and putting on the brakes and back-tracking when your sniffer alerted you to something you missed. We didn’t pick you up to protect the small unleashed dog coming down the path ahead, or for the big tough looking one that you would have surely barked profanities at to make sure he knew you could take him on if given the chance.
We didn’t do any of the things that we have done together for years. Instead Bob and I just walked along alone, hand-in hand, noticing the differences and the beauty of our surroundings, grateful that we forced ourselves to walk your favourite trail.
Last night, I cried to be without you going to bed. Bob and I snuggled alone, no little body pressed up against my legs, taking up half the king-sized bed. When I woke, my heart sunk because you weren’t there for our morning snuggles. Instead, I caught myself kissing Bob all over his face and head, like I did each morning to you. Maybe this means more puppy love for my dear husband!
This morning, Bob and I went for a walk along the community beach, another of your favourite walks, deciding that we like the morning and evening walks inspired by you and Raven, with whom you are now frolicking in heaven. I cried here and there; and I know I will more. I know the pain will stay for as long as it needs to. I can take it. You were strong. I can be too.
Thank you, my dearest puppy, for sharing your life with me. You are one amazing dog (but then you’ve been saying that for years!).