Saturday, February 12, 2011


For the first time in 17 years, I do not have a dog following me around the house.  Last night I went to bed and kept looking at the dog pillow on the floor, expecting to see a furry mass snoring happily, but none was there.  I didn't have to bargain with the other half to see who would be in charge of letting the dogs out one last time before bed.  At dinner, there was no one for me to shoo away from begging at my children's feet; and no one to snatch up the crumbs that still lay unswept on the floor this morning as I type.

Just 15 days after saying goodbye to Sydney, I realized it was also time to say goodbye to Hank.  How these two animals that were born about three years apart were able to time their endings within two weeks of each other is the stuff I can only philosophize about.  It was clear that Hank was sad without his longtime companion, but how was it that his cancer came to be known only two weeks before hers caused her demise?

Unlike Syd, Hank had gotten to the place where no food tasted good to him or could be tolerated.  Sydney had gulped down her last supper of bacon and eggs, and greedily snatched a chocolate chip cookie bar from my purse (one that had grown stale after being uneaten by B) in the parking lot of the vet's office just before I took her inside.  While Hank, who had only been eating bits of roasted chicken for days, wouldn't even attempt the popcorn I made him; the popcorn he'd have pulled out all the stops to steal from us only weeks earlier.

I took Hank for a walk behind our house--he chose to amble up the hill rather than taking the stairs, which seemed an odd choice--and after saying goodbye to the rest of the family, I took him to the coastal trail to lift his shaky leg on as many plants as he wanted to.  It was the best he's ever walked on leash for me, and he almost tricked me into thinking I had made the wrong choice and that maybe he could stay with us for a bit longer.  But the seizures I'd witnessed two nights earlier, and the bile I had been cleaning up constantly  for two weeks allowed my heart to know that it really was the right time.  Not too early, and not too late.

So now I am dogless.  Though I know I have needed some relief of stress in my life, I am at heart a dog person.  I need a dog's companionship and security.  I am feeling a bit lost today, though I know that will ease with the days.  The other half wants to take a break from dogs for a bit.  I felt a bit angry that he reminded me of that as I cried last night.  I am hopeful that the most amazing dog we could ever hope for will somehow find us.  It's happened to me before when I was fostering, but those dogs were always meant to move onto someone else.

In the meantime, I will fondly remember the gifts and annoyances these wonderful spirits bestowed upon me and my family for so long.  I will miss you, 'Stupid Hank.'  I hope eating poop isn't frowned upon in heaven.  Maybe it's even so great as to have poo-flavored dog biscuits for you?  Now that would be the perfect Hank-heaven indeed!


starnes family said...

So sad. I'm recalling Where the Red Fern Grows and it makes me tear up.

Hang in there, sweet girl.

Mom to JBG said...

I am so sorry. Dogs are such reliable friends. Glad you were able to have them for so long, but I can't imagine being dogless after so many years.

Boy Wonder's Mom said...

I know how you feel. We haven't had a dog in almost 2 years now and I still miss them. I found one of their leashes this morning and it was a shock.

I'd love another dog but with a 5 yo with autism, a 3 year old and 1 year old, I just can't handle the responsibilty right now.


mj said...

What a lovely picture of your dogs. Your such a nice owner of the dogs, you have them in for so long.. But to know you are dog less now.

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Mama Deb said...

Thanks, everyone, for your sweet words. I am definitely missing having a dog around to take care of...and you should see all the food crumbs on my floor! They had mad vacuuming skills :)

Anonymous said...

I have only just found your blog and have read the posts on your dogs and am crying with you right now as I type.
My dogs are your best friends and love you unconditionally. We all need that.
You have my sincerest sympathy.
I have a feeling you are right and just the right dog will come your way at just the right time. B.

Anonymous said...

Loosing a pet is like loosing a family member or friend. I am sorry for you. I lost a dog my friend Dymond and she remains in my heart. I wish you well on your journey to recovery.