Goodbye faithful friend

You’ve been struggling for a while. The spring in your step wasn’t quite there. Your deep brown eyes lost a bit of their sparkle. Your playfulness had begun to wane.

We tried to call it a phase. We woke each day hoping that we would see that spark. Occasionally you showed us glimpses of your old self. But you were tired. You were in pain. Life wasn’t fun for you anymore. It eventually began clear to us that you were never going to come out of this.

This last week you provided us with no glimpses of former you. You moved slowly. Your pain was obvious. When you fell on the stairs and needed help to get up we knew that a terrible but necessary decision was made.

It was time to put you to sleep.

For 13 years you were the loyal family dog. You weren’t a pet, my heart can only be this broken for a family member or a dear friend. You were always happy to see me, even when no one else was. You were always by my side so that I never felt alone. When the house was empty, I had wonderful companionship sleeping at my feet. As only a dog could do, your friendship was omnipresent and unconditional. I was one of your pack.

As one of your pack, I vowed that when your time of need came that I would be by your side, tirelessly and unconditionally. That promise was called in today as we woke to find you listless on the kitchen floor. Your sad brown eyes said it all. You were done, you needed relief from your pain and we had to do what was right for you despite how hard it would be for us. We called the veterinarian and asked to bring you in.

I carried you in to the office. You never let me pick you up until today. The waiting room full of people knew why you were there. They avoided eye contact out of respect and the knowledge of what we were there to do. They let us right in and we placed you on a cold metal table. I put your favorite blanket under you. They gave you a sedative and fed you treats until you put your head down. We patted your head and told you what a good boy you are, and have always been. The Dr. asked us if we were ready. Mom was sobbing. I teared up a little. But I held your little paw and stroked your ears in your favorite spot as they shaved a small section of your leg and gave you an injection.

As you stood by me in life, I stood by you at the end of yours.

“He’s gone”, the Dr. gingerly uttered a few moments later. We were asked if we wanted a private moment. I left my mother alone with him. I had said my goodbyes.

He leaves a hole that can never be filled for reasons that can never be explained. I will cherish the memories, for that is all that remains of my loyal, silly, loveable little furry friend. He is in a better place, at peace and free of pain. Somewhere over the Rainbow Bridge.

Unlike those of us who wish he was still here.

crack in the foundation

My mother’s new boyfriend has become a weekly house guest. Because he lives almost 80 miles away his routine is to show up on Friday and leave Monday morning. He originally stayed in the guest room but now he’s in her bed. My father’s bed. Heavy sigh. Let it go.

I like him. He’s a big, polite 70-year-oldĀ Vietnam Veteran and retired State Trooper. He’s nice to my mother and he and I get along well. Even if we didn’t it doesn’t matter I’m not shagging him my mother is.

Predictably, as his familiarity and comfort level increase, he is showing some additional sides of his personality. A few telling comments containing “folksy racism”, unwelcome input (my favorite), and indications that he thinks he is a bigger part of this household than he really is. My mother is noticing it, is ok with things for now, but I am comfortable that she will handle it if she decides it is a problem. As for me, I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

This morning he made a mean comment about our dog to me. Big mistake. I even said “you’re in the wrong house then big guy”. “You’ll go before he will”. He asked if I was serious.

“Hell yea I am. We love dogs in this house.”

I can’t help but wonder what Mom’s reaction would have been had she heard that? I have a feeling that this is only a matter of time.