Today marks three months since I has you euthanized. Things have been pretty bad around here since. I’ve put on 20 pounds because we don’t run and play with the balls for an hour a day anymore. I neglected a lot of outdoor maintenance before the winter set in because, quite frankly, I now have trouble going outside in the yard alone. There are so many little things bothering me I cannot begin to count them all. So many things bring tears. Mark came over yesterday to put a battery charger on his motorcycle which is in the shed for the winter. I went into the shed and saw your crate, broken down and leaning against a wall in the corner. Rhonda came down for dinner with me the other night at work. She told me later that she had trouble driving that route at night; it was the same route she took when she brought you to the vet three months ago.
There have been smiles, too. I was re-stacking the woodpile about a week ago and I thought of how you spent hours chasing that chipmunk who would always escape into the logs. Alissa sent me a picture of you, holding your Kong in your mouth and looking into 3-month old Kira’s stroller. I must have been at work or something; I don’t remember that picture being taken and never saw it before, but I knew exactly what you were trying to do before Alissa told me; you were trying to get Kira to take the Kong from you, weren’t you?
I would tell you how much I love and miss you, but I’m sure you already know this. I’m sure you know I really wanted to carry you into your golden years. I was prepared to make sacrifices in order to ensure your comfort. You were so healthful and dynamic, I was sure you were going to live well past your typical life expectancy. Remember Laney from next door? She was 14 when you first tried to play with her and she made it beyond 16, although she was pretty much blind and deaf at that point. When you turned seven I wished for at least seven more years for you. You would get only seven more months. In the seconds after you took your last breath the vet placed his stethoscope on your chest, then told us, “His heart stopped”. I looked right at him and said, “So has mine”. I’ve thought about that and wondered if it was melodrama, if I was just overcome at the moment. It wasn’t, I wasn’t. A piece of me is gone and I will never get it back.
Do you remember during your final week, being in the driveway while I was cleaning up my old classic car? I was trying to scrub lime and acid stains off the side window? I really wanted to get that window clean, and the stuff I just bought was beginning to work. It was about that time I felt your ball bump up against my foot. I looked over the car and there you were, at the top of the driveway, ready to pounce, staring at me, having strategically placed the ball on the ground in the precise spot that would cause it to roll down the hill and hit my foot. Some people would have called it coincidence or luck. I know better. Do you remember what I said to you? I said, “You’re right, this can wait”.
I want you to understand that I wanted the best for you, and that is why I had to do what I did. Hemangiosarcoma is a death sentence, and I don’t know why you were chosen, but you were. The more I learned about the disease the less I wanted to know. How would it end? Would you have a stroke? Would your digestive system collapse and would you die vomiting blood? Would your pericardium fill with blood causing your heart to be slowly smothered while you experienced the sensation of suffocation? Oh, the horror of what was going on in my mind… I felt so helpless! I was terrified while you were sick. But you seemed OK. In fact, you were amazing. All you wanted to do was swim and play, and you did! I thank God for that. I feel that I paid the price for your comfort. Thank you for every little thing you did; for showing me that all you really need is a ball and a friend. I was and am still so proud of you and what you were, a piece of me.