Monday, January 14, 2013

Ready to talk about it

I owe it to you, and I owe it to him, to write this. It's been three weeks, somehow-- three weeks of near-constant sad reminders, the empty chair, the lack of yarled or yipped greeting when we arrive home from wherever we've been. Losing a pet isn't like losing a dear though distant relative. Like a grandma. Sure, you'll miss her at Christmas dinner, and Thanksgiving, your heart will be sore for a time. But this emptiness, all the time, the whole house feels quiet and lonely. That is losing a pet.

 It was very fast. I guess that's a blessing. Five days before Christmas, he didn't seem like himself. He was having trouble walking again-- a trouble that came and went usually depending on how recently we'd given him a cortisone pill. This time the pills didn't help, though. He wasn't pricking up his ears anymore, really-- they were back, or out to the side: the worried, confused look. Then he stopped eating. 

The day before my birthday, we took him in.

Man. That was hard.

I'm not sure if it's a good thing that it was during Christmas. In a way, it was good-- the house was full, we were surrounded by friends. We didn't have to sit in the dark and feel the loneliness.

 And now, Christmas is gone, winter goes on. Life goes on. It is so quiet.

 This little dog saw us through so much. Saw Patrick through so much-- twelve years, three girlfriends, three houses, one wife, three cats, many mountains and lakes and trails. We can torture ourselves by remembering and reliving the end-- because that is really the only thing a human mind can do, when you put down a pet-- or we can tell those great stories together, The Good Old Days. Playing monkey in the middle with a stuffed trout, the day we came home and found he'd climbed onto the kitchen table and made a nest in a fresh-from-the-drier comforter. Overlook Mountain, from that first picture, and those first trips out to Gilbertsville. He was freaking blind, he had no idea, but somehow he knew it was the beginning of something awesome. That first time he felt his way up the front steps, he knew. And this past summer, those warm days I could leave him outside while I weeded or worked on the greenhouse, those evenings the three of us (and sometimes Pete too) hung out in the cool grass by the chicken yard.

Damnit, I even miss him eating the cat litter.

Ugh. This sadness! Really, I'm okay. I don't spend all day moping around, but every day I think of him. As it should be, I guess. Patrick and I talk about The Good Old Days, we raise our glasses. We talk about getting another dog, soon but not too soon. When the snow melts. When spring comes. And I think about what I'm going to plant under the birch tree, to mark the place. Something variegated and effusive, I think, would suit.

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kelly said...

I know how hard it is to lose a pet, especially hard at the end when you know it's their time. I know that empty house feeling too, but it will pass.

It's so hard not to cry reading your post and my dog died 13 years ago! I know that sounds silly but dogs are so special. But anyway, these are happy tears too. You and your husband made a great life for that little guy and supported him through his blindness. Think of all the happiness and comfort and love he received only because of you guys.

Kristina Strain said...

Thank you, thank you! :)

meshell1121 said...


Alli said...

You and Patrick are in my thoughts. I've been reading your blog for several years, and I always enjoyed hearing about your dog and his adventures. You're absolutely right--the loss you feel when a pet passes is tangible, immediate, and great. I lost my dog of 14 years earlier this year, and I still think about her every day. I hope that soon, thoughts of all of the great times you guys were able to have together will begin to ease the pain and replace it with many happy memories to comfort you. Until then, think about the wonderful home and happy life you were able to give him. To anyone who got to see his smiling face in all of the photos you posted throughout the years, it was always evident he was one happy pup.

Kristina Strain said...

Thank you, Alli. That is so sweet. He was a happy guy.

Becky said...

oh poop. I sitting here with tears rolling down my face. I know that feeling all too well. 2 years/Christmases ago we said goodbye to our 13 year old Petey The Boston Terrier and 1 year/Christmas ago we bid farewell to our Stanley the Black Cat.

Time helps. Having each other and your Kitteh helps. You'll know when it's time for a new pupper. Just found mine at the pound last September. She's a doll of a terrier mix - Rosie the Fuzzy Dog.

Hugs, kisses and love to you all.

Kaity said...

Thank you for your post. I read it yesterday and it brought back the events here with our dear sweet Kaity who we lost this past November. She was the main attraction at home and she never missed a beat! She was regal, funny, athletic, smart and the Weimaraner who occupied a big piece of our hearts.

I am sorry for your loss and I sure get it. It stinks except that we had the experience of loving these wonderful creatures who teach us. Unlike you, this girl couldn't wait! We have a Golden Doodle who will be coming home in a few weeks! I look at his picture each day in anticipation of building a lasting love with him. I am looking forward to the time that you do too. Thank you so much for sharing!

Susan Greene said...

It's incredible how much of life we remember when a pet passes. Maybe that's what's special about their passing. We lose them, but then they give us back so many years of memories, all at once.

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