I shouldn’t be surprised by the depth of my sadness following the death of my dog today, and yet, I have a hollow hole in the center of my being, a gaping wound. Maybe it’s the fact of living along in the midst of the pandemic. “Thank heavens I have my Rusty to talk to,” I’ve said on many occasions.
He was my companion, my friend, my walking buddy, my constant.. He talked to me – really, sort of like Scooby Doo in the cartoons. I could swear he said “mom” with regularity. He was unconditionally loving, friendly to everyone, and held no grudges.
I knew something was wrong, with coughing, raspy breathing, and gagging. He was eating less and losing some weight. When I brought him to to veterinarian’s office today, I was hoping for an easy diagnosis and a cure with medicine. I wasn’t expecting cancer, a large tumor almost blocking his throat. With a very poor prognosis, I chose euthanasia, not later but today, as his worsening condition would not get better, and he would only suffer more.
So I came home to an empty house, with no wagging tail greeting me at the door. His dog beds are on the floor, food and water dishes are in their usual place, and two kinds of treats are on the counter. I thought of putting everything away, but didn’t have the heart. Instead, I watched TV and cried. I didn’t take my usual walk tonight. What was the point, without Rusty by my side?
I will miss him greatly. As the saying goes, I hope I am half the person my dog thought I was.
And now I write, post photos on Facebook, and start processing my grief in this way.