It shouldn’t happen to a dog owner.
Unfortunately, we experienced the thing that every fur parent must, though it feels like it shouldn’t have to happen to a dog owner.
Dolly passed away on January 22nd, and our pack has been feeling the great loss of our smallest member. She was 16 years young until the day she gracefully slipped on, and had brought so much sass and joy into our lives. Every dog is special in their own way, but Dolly was a spectacular individual, and quite flatulent, to say the least.
At first, it is hard to get over the initial void. It feels as though your heart slowly migrates down your body until it reaches your feet. Once it gets there, each step you take reminds you of the little empty space at your heel where your friend should be following along. You instinctively go to pick up their bowl during breakfast, or wait for them to nuzzle your hand like they always do, or you find yourself searching for that heavy cement like lump at your feet in bed every night. But, the thing you keep expecting to be there sadly isn’t.
It goes on like this for a while until you have the courage to pick up the bowl and move it, so you will learn not to reach for it. Your fingers eventually learn to stop reaching for that warm nose, or the leash at walk time. That empty lump in the bed is now a just a spacious place for your feet. You learn to walk by yourself. Not having to stop at every single tree, your walks seem so much shorter. At first it’s all learning and relearning and hurting and missing, and honestly the only thing you can think is “this sucks, this really, really sucks”.
But then one day you think about that stinky old dog breath.
And I mean dead things stinky.
And you laugh out loud, whole heartedly, because you can’t believe how much you miss the scent of that horrible and cringey death mouth smell. And then you think about how those little legs would stick out like pointy toothpicks when you picked her up and she didn’t want to be held. Or how even when she was aloof, and in her full Shiba Inu “respect my individuality” mindset, she would still come and lick your tears away with that god awful breath and look you in the face as if to say with all her might, “I am here”. And all those times you wanted to skin her because she loved to run off and chase things and get lost, but when you’d finally get her back all you could do was hug her and put the house on lockdown, until she found a way to take herself on an adventure again.
Then all the memories come, and all the joy your companionship brought you blooms in your heart and you find it beating again, brightly in your chest. And suddenly, as much as you miss that furry little being, you can’t believe how thankful you are you got the chance to feel this type of love, and you realize their last gift to you was this lesson, to just simply be thankful for what you had, and what you have. We still have a wonderful little pack, even if it feels one short for a while.
We miss her quirk, undenyable old dog stink, sweetness, and mostly, her own way of loving.
Rest in peace little adventure dog.
4 thoughts on “8. It shouldn’t happen to a dog owner.”
Okay, that was wonderfully heartfelt and beautifully written. And so, as I expected, tears are streaming down my face. Rest well little Dolly. We shall all miss you.
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I’m sending you really squeezy Amy hugs right now!
Thank you. The first couple of drafts were MUCH more sappy and could have been titled “101 things I love about my dead dog” rather than being able to meet the grief and celebrate how awesome she was.
Thank you for adopting the both of us into the Lyons pack. I know Dolly really felt at home with you two, and that was really special!
She was precious, dignity and independence wrapped in furry affection. I’m so sorry for your loss. 😦
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Thank you so much, Grandma.
She was an extra special pup, definitely one of a kind. Loving an animal can teach you so many lessons, but the last one is always the hardest.
Love to you and Dave!