I need to write a piece about my buddy’s dimming life force, how it tugs at everything pure and loving I know. His annoying and twice-his-size bark, his unrelenting insistence on licking my legs – and only mine (except for his favorite Aunt Conny), his eyes that never leave me and no matter how tired or hungry he is, I always hear the click-click-click of his toenails on the floor as he devotedly stays spit-close to ‘his person.’ Perhaps by the time you read this his bark, toenails and vigilant eyes will be forever extinguished. Perhaps not. But it won’t be long now and when the time comes, our hearts will break and life will be full of one very big hole.
Always on a pristine morning, spring or summer, never fall or winter. I’ve driven this route before, many times, but today the drive is too short, the sun, blinding and painful, and the fleece-wrapped bundle on my lap too tired and sick to shiver and tremble.
So fast – why does it always come so fast? Just a week ago he was chugging along, not at full speed, maybe not even half, but still chugging. Then, the crash. Yesterday afternoon. Lethargic bordering on limp, unquenchable thirst. Uncontrollable, seemingly non-stop urinating. A rambunctious little boy relegated to a lump in my lap. Dinner? Barely a sniff before he turned his head away.
He told me it was time. They always do and it’s hell to hear, but we must, because otherwise it becomes about us. He never did his leaf-tremble on the way to the vet as he always did. It’s time. When we placed him on the blanket-covered examining table he fell to his side – no strength left to even move – it is time. He could not have said it any clearer, any louder.
The house has lost its spirit. It’s empty and cold and I can’t stand to be in it. Dom wanted to throw out the dog dishes, the dog bed – I wouldn’t let him. Maybe at some point, maybe not. For now they shall stay. I will not erase his being from my life, no matter how much it hurts.