I had to put my beautiful dog to sleep the other night. He had cancer, and he was at the point where they couldn't save him.
I am heartbroken. I'm learning how nearly every aspect of my day at the house revolved around him. Getting out of bed to let him out in the mornings, I am careful of where I step, so I don't step on him.... and then realize he is no longer there.
Leaving for work, we close the bedroom door, move the blanket off the couch, make sure there is food and water for him, and open the door to let him outside.... all without even thinking about it.
I walk into the kitchen and glance down, expecting him to be there with his big brown eyes, floppy lopsided ears up, and an expectant look on his face.... but he isn't there.
I feel hollow, empty inside.
He was 12 years old, and was my best friend.
He listened intently and hung on my every word no matter what was happening in my life.
He let me hug him close when I had a bad day, never minding if my tears landed on his soft fur, letting me plant kisses right between his eyes.
He followed me around the house like a shadow, and nudged the bathroom door open to make sure the hair dryer never won our morning battle.
He snuggled when I didn't feel well, barked for treats when I was too slow, and played mediator when people got too noisy in the house.
He was a gentle soul who never hurt anyone. I've even seen him allow a toddler to pull on handfuls of his fur at the park, and he just looked at the child with love.
He loved hiking in the woods (peeing on everything he could get close to), and camping (because he always got food scraps).
He did not like being in water. The beach, baths, rain, or any other reason to get wet.... He just never understood the need for it!
He loved belly rubs, ear scratches, and always managed to give you a kiss for it.
He slept on a Dora the Explorer blanket, snuggled my flip flops, and sneaked onto the couch when we weren't at home.
And he loved the kids. I can't tell you how many times I have argued with the 2 year old about whose dog he really was.
Now we have to break this terrible news to the children. I don't even know where to begin...
My favorite story is how people would ask what kind of dog he was. I would look them in the eye and say, "a Miniature Retriever."
Of course, there is no such thing... but people are funny. Either you hear someone honestly confess that they had never heard of one, or suddenly they have some distant friend or relative that also has one....
But really... he was Mine. He came from Spain, and managed to push his way into my heart when I didn't want a dog, and didn't think I needed one. Turns out, I needed him more that I thought...
Someday, my heart will stop hurting, but I will always love him for what he brought into my life.... compassion, patience, and love....