A Letter to my Dog (that I lost in the break-up).
Written over a number of weeks — I am fully aware his current reading age is ‘dog’ — but I believe he’ll psychically read the vibe, somehow.
How very sad to be sitting in a room alone with you, singing you to sleep as you rest in my arms. Creating a moment in time that no one else will ever feel the glow from. A memory that will haunt only one of us for the rest of time. Another day in the life of being a dog. My dog. Another day in the life of being your hypersensitive roller-coaster. Let me off. Cooing some tearful ‘thank yous’ for being there for me. Kissing your head. Can you sense my sadness or- no, you’re just chewing your foot. An idiot. We’re two peas in a pod.
It’s two weeks later, and it’s just you and me in the house. There are cracks in the walls and cavernous holes in life. Yours goes mostly unchanged. You eat. We play. I work. We play. I work some more. We go for a little walk. You eat. Your schedule is rigid, save for some odd-weekly grooming. You have no idea how lucky you are to not live with the dread of loss. The waves upon waves of uncontrolled sadness that wash over me. The fact that by the time I finish this, I’ll never see you again.
I let you up on the couch, something I swore before getting you I’d never do. We have to set boundaries. We have to have rules. I’m allergic. But you’re no trouble, you just want to be a part of it all. You’re worth some itchy hands. Now that you’ve found the perfect spot between thigh and arm, you’re back to a mid-morning slumber.
You make me want to believe that energy never really ends, that we transform into something else. That I know it’ll be another 40-odd years before we see each other again, but if it takes that long or even less, you’ll wait for me. That your little soul will transform and we’ll be able to talk one on one, two balls of clouds or protons or digits. 2+1(–1) = July.
Maybe life means we’re always in a flux between this realm and the other. In a way, we’re always together, we always have been. Maybe you are me, and I am you. Two loyal lads, sharing so much DNA, and so many laughs. But never enough. I dreaded that last goodbye. I asked for a photo to be taken of the two of us. I wish I’d faked a smile, instead of our last thing together being me, red-faced and swollen, and you being your happy self. Sorry.
My sobbing woke you up. You shuffled over my crossed legs, half-attempting to get comfy, before settling back where you were. You’re not watching the clock, not counting the days. You want for nothing but my attention.
Is this just projection? Do you feel what I feel, or am I selfishly using you as a conduit for my sorrow? Comfort in an animal that doesn’t know who I am? You only see what I allow you to see. Is it possible you’re doing that to me too? Do you sit in your basket in the back of the car on the way to the vets and think, God I wish he’d just go away. He’s a burden. He’s ‘too much’. Do you?
Do you think at all? All those moments where it was just you and me, did you acknowledge my efforts? Could you hear my words every time I went to bat for you?
I mourn for you, but I mourn for my own voice. No one thinks you’re nuts if they walk in and you’re having a full-blown conversation with your mad little dog. But that out-loud narration of life stays here with you. The monologue is silenced. A big part of you was me, really. Please remember my voice.
You came in to our lives, and now I’m leaving yours. Every time I stop typing and look at you, your massive eyes shoot open. I rest my head on your side, your coat absorbs the tears.
I’m sorry Freddy. Sorry we can’t grow old together. Sorry that I’ll never get to take you to the city. Sorry we never went to the dog park, or stayed in a pet-friendly hotel together like I promised you in whispers. Sorry we’ll never move across the world on our next adventure. I never wanted a dog, but we saw your photos and we felt the cosmic pull to you. Destiny is a long-haired chihuahua.
You were my baby. Maybe you’ll be someone else’s one day. Maybe you’ll sit on their lap and fall asleep. Maybe they’ll make sure you win some of the tussles with your little bone toy. The one you play fetch with, sleep with, and shag. Yeah, I watch you. You’ll wake them up at 7:30am, barking at people outside. Will you bark one day, thinking it might be me at the door? Maybe you’ll grow old with them, and your little teeth will fall out and they’ll have to spoon feed you. I’d have done that. I’d have pre-chewed kibble for you.
Like a baby bird.
Thank you for being my friend. You were the dog I always wanted. I will love you forever and ever and ever.