October 22, 2015 by The Dog Rules
Dear Dog passed peacefully away in my arms. Fifteen years, two months and 14 days… To say that I am heartbroken is an understatement. I have a million memories of her from the time I brought her home as a tiny, 7 week old bundle of fluff that followed me everywhere.
When I wake in the morning I still place my feet carefully when getting out of bed for fear of stepping on her. When she was younger and could easily leap on to the bed she would prefer to sleep draped half across my leg or cuddled against me, using me for her pillow. When getting on the bed was beyond her ability she would still try to be as close as possible and I moved her bed right beside mine so I could easily reach out to pet her and say “night night, baby girl”. Fifteen years of habit is very hard to break.
I still need to go for a walk. I need to take that usual route that we walked every morning. Yes, it got progressively shorter as Dog aged and became less able to walk that far. I do the “long walk” the one we did when she was younger, fit and in good health. I can still envision her checking out the trail and watching for wildlife. Sometimes I encounter a few of her colleagues, senior dogs I haven’t seen in the last couple of years as their health and ability has also attenuated their walks. Their guardians and I share quiet words. “Yes, I say, she recently passed on.” The tears well in my eyes and the other dog guardian says, “I’m sorry. I understand, and please know I’m not ready either.” We share a silent moment while I take a deep breath and pet Dog’s old friend. Then we walk a little way together like in the old days.
Some days I slip into autopilot and hurry home to take Dog out. When I open the door I am greeted by the Ginger Ninja, my Norwegian Forest cat, and Dog’s younger sibling. He is still looking for her and tries to look around me to see if she is following. I disappoint him every time. It is obvious he is missing her too. I regret that I am unable to explain to him what happened. I don’t know how to comfort him. Eventually we settle together in on the sofa, Ninja on my lap, and I don’t want to move and disturb him. He purrs faintly and watches the front door. Dog had been his friend since the day I brought him home. They played together every evening. Even when Dog was too old to really play she would invite “the game”. We think he realized she was too frail to play and in the last several months he did all the work of running around the living/dining rooms and up and down the stairs while she bounced and barked in place. When she was tired they lay down a few feet apart and hung out until Dog again invited “the game”.