Tuesday, September 21, 2010

To live in hearts we leave behind Is not to die.

Translation: this is a post grieving the loss of the dog I loved so. I promise I will be back to posting blogs entailing Michigan Mullet Count 2010, a rousing look at why I am not goo-goo for Gaga, and a game I like to call "Shoe- or Torture Device?" in a day or two my patient audience. I appreciate your readership so very much, but today I need to be serious.
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I have been trying to keep busy in hopes I will not notice he is gone. But when you’re so used to having a little dog by your side for 18 hours out of the day the absence he has left is beyond obvious.

The house just seems so cold without him, my routine so interrupted. I have no one to sneak Apple Cinnamon Cheerios to in the morning, and when I take my laundry downstairs and look across the hall from the washing machine where his bed was, there is now nothing.

And my heart aches.

I knew this was not going to be easy. Losing the family dog is always inevitable, but no amount of preparation could ever have readied me for holding him in my arms for the last time. Watching the life slip out of him, I have never hurt so much in my entire existence. I want to scream, but no amount of thrashing and flailing will bring him back.

It is unfortunate they don’t do liver transplants for dogs...it was his time. Now he is no longer sick, or hurting in any way. Now it is my family’s time to hurt. I thought perhaps I would feel better today, as I reminisce about how wonderful and crazy that dog was. I have so many fond memories of Pete that I could fill pages upon pages chronicling the 13 years worth of happiness, enjoyment, and companionship he was kind enough to give my family.

But absolutely every part of my waking day involved some aspect of Pete. And 24 hours after he has been gone I find myself unable to be downstairs during the day. He would lie in his doggy bed next to the kitchen table while I got my work done; sit with me on the couch and play, then sleep so soundly. When I check the mail today I will do so alone. When I open the front door I will no longer wait for him to follow me in. At 5:00 last night I went to get a plate to feed him dinner and then I remembered. These habits will be so hard to break.

I think the hardest part is I can no longer look into his little eyes and feel the love he had for me shine from them, then cradle his head in my hands and kiss his furry little forehead and tell him I loved him, too.

Its absolutely amazing how much an animal can affect your life. But Pete was more than a dog- he was a member of our family. I’ve never felt a pain like this when I lost a boyfriend, had my heart broken, or even when I had to give up Shiloh when I moved here. All those things hurt like hell but were a scrape compared to this. I’ve never experienced a hurt so deep even when some of my family and friends have passed. Yes, I mourned and grieved, but with time it got better.

I pray that in time this heals, too. I dealt with the loss of Corky and Maggie. I loved those dogs, as well…but Pete was my best friend. He had more personality in his 25 pound body than anyone I’ve ever met. When I was sad, he would curl up pressed so tightly against me like a little bodyguard keeping me from harm. And that damn dog was the only thing on planet Earth that has ever been able to make me laugh regardless of how I feel inside.

Now life feels very joyless. I have so much aching inside of me, and I put on this strong fa├žade for my family and in public. But truth be told, even the thought of Pete being gone makes me burst into tears. I look down at my side and I think I will always expect him to be there. Because for the majority of 13 out of my 23 years, he was.

The last moments I had with Pete were so distraught and agonizing. Like a quiet storm of violent pain. The look of worry and fear on his face in the vet’s office before he was put to sleep. The sorrow in his eyes while we waited in the car for my stepdad to arrive. He knew he was dying. Pete knew everything.

So when he climbed on to my lap in my Mom’s car I held him as tight as I could. I told him goodbye, and in a way he told me, too. He looked into my eyes with a gaze that almost told me not to worry anymore. That he tried as long as he could, but he had to go now.

I will always remember the feeling of stroking his fur. Of my tears falling onto him as he sat in my lap and hearing my mother cry beside us. Of the very last time I ever got to tell him I loved him, and thank him for being the only boy I gave my heart to that never broke it.

When he was gone, I held his little face in my hands, and I knew that never again in my life would I experience a bond with anyone else like the one I had with Pete.

I am somehow at peace with that. I will have other dogs in the distant future, as I love animals. I want my children to grow up with a family pet the way I grew up with Pete. And when I find that dog, he or she will be put up against the toughest standards left by Petey.

And if that dog is even half as wonderful as Pete was, I will be happy.

6 comments:

  1. I sit here and cry as I read this post.

    I lost my dog Maggie a few months ago, well actually, about 9 or 10 months ago. And I ache for her everyday.

    She was my constant companion for 12 years. It was just she and I...might kiddo was grown and gone...so Maggie was it. She was the most important thing in my life for many, many years...

    I feel your pain and I will keep you close in prayer. I am one who understands the tremendous loss of Petey....

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  2. They do become part of the family, I know. Loss is always hard – stay strong.
    The enigmatic, masked blogger strikes again

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  3. @Sherri, thank you for your kind words. I am so sorry you lost your little one, too. Oh how much better it would be if our pets could live so much longer in this life!

    @T.B.F.K.A. (I really like acronyms), thank you for your condolences, I am glad to see another pet lover here.

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  4. Now I am crying, how much impact dogs have in our lives is amazing. I lost my Looby just over 2 years ago and still feel it. I have 2 dogs now and love them to bits, they are fantastic and special in their own way but Looby was with me through some really tough times al I will never forget what she meant to me or the pain of letting her go.

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  5. It is now 4-14-2014, and I just reread this blog while taking a walk down memory lane through my year in Michigan. I still bawled my eyes out, because nothing can take away the love I had for my Petey Pablo. I have an ah-mazing corgi-heeler of my own now, for almost two years, and he is my heart and soul... and not just purely because all members of my family agree he is Pete reincarnate. He is my new best friend and confidant, he has the same eyebrows and soulful eyes...he is a bigger version of the dog I spent 13 years with...13 years loving with all my heart, And if I get anything less than 13 years with my rescue, Hank the Cowdog, I will never understand how life works. It is so different this time with Hank being my four-legged son, while Pete was my four-legged brother...but just know, I found a dog that was half as wonderful as Pete, because I have never been more damn certain of anything in my life, that he was half of what Pete was.

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  6. p.s., this the former Von Devious.

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