My canine companion for 15 years, and the model who posed so graciously with Sartre’s Words for my avatar, died this evening. He had been ill for some time—diabetes, arthritis, mostly blind, mostly deaf, mask-cell tumour, early-stage dementia, incontinence and, more recently, pancreatitis—so it was not a surprise death.
It is only four hours since his passing, and the permanence of the loss is hard to comprehend. The knowledge that I will be reminded of his absence in unpredictable ways for weeks and months to come hurts almost as much as the absence itself. As I type this, his blanket is beside me where normally he would be sleeping. I can barely imagine the morrow without him, and yet I know it will come.
He was a dog, but he was family. He was all the family my wife and I had.
I am grateful that his last day was one of only two good days he has had in the last 3 weeks. He got to walk with me as I brought in the bins this morning. He spent time with my wife as she worked in the garden. He sat in his favourite place in the sun by the front gate so he could smell the passers-by. He ate breakfast without being hand-fed for the first time in more than a week. It was his last meal.
I held him in arms this evening as he took one last breath, tucked his nose into the crook of my arm, and died. It was so fast, so simple, so peaceful.
I am grateful his suffering has ended.
I am grateful that my life was touched by his gentle soul.
Farewell my friend.
This is such sad news. I’m so sorry.
I wonder if he’d ever have imagined that there’d be someone on the other side of the planet, sitting at work with tears in their eyes for his passing.
Woof woof, little fella.
I’m so sorry.
We lost our (almost) 12 year old greyhound last Saturday. The grief and guilt was physical.
Sweet dreams, dear dogs.
Try and be comforted in that your dog knew great love and lived a good life.
Grief and sorrow and missing your dog is a measure of all the good times you had. Take comfort in that.
The opposite would actually be worse…
Really sorry to hear this: I keep deerhounds and wolfhounds, short-lived breeds (8 years average), and two have now died after 7 years with me. The shocking sense of loss completely took me by surprise. The role a dog can play in your life really is a family thing: nothing sentimental there, just a sad fact that hits you when they go.
So, so sorry, nom. I was where you are now, three years ago when Fluff/Lilly, died. She was 18 yrs old. Like you and your friend, Fluff died in my arms, too. Lets hope Time gets the balm out, sooner rather than later. If he was very poorly, and suffering, he’s in a better place now, mate.
I’ll be thinking about you and your wife, and wishing you well.
Keep your chin up.
I have no words to express my sorrow and grief on your behalf. Wishing well for you and yours.
Thank you all.
The grief hits in waves, as grief does: sometimes you know it’s coming, and sometimes it catches you by surprise.
I find great comfort from my last memories with him.
Comforting also to know that, in however small a way, through my words his life has touched other forum members from around the world. So thank you for your comments.
Nom, my condolences and best wishes to you and your wife. I’m a cat person, not a dog person, but I do know how closely dogs become members of the family in a way that cats usually don’t. So I feel for you, and reading your post, like Pigfender on the other side of the world, I had tears in my eyes.
Oh, nom. I’m so sorry to hear this and sadly, I know exactly how you feel. Dogs are family but they’re with us for too short a time. I lost my pal five years ago (I had to check, it seems so much more recent) and I still grieve for her. My condolences to you and yours.
Nom, as I’m writing this my ten year old obnoxious, spoiled (my fault), slightly overweight (also my fault), cat crazy, attention challenged, egotistical, noisy little shit-machine is whining on the sofa trying to get my full attention. I can’t, don’t want to, imagine the day when he won’t meet me at the door like a long lost friend, jumping up and down, waving his tale, licking my face, after I’ve been out two minutes with the rubbish. It makes me cry. My thoughts are with you and your wife.
It’s odd that a little bundle of fur and vet bills can tug at the heartstrings so strongly. That the grief we feel for the loss of a dog or a cat can sometimes rival that of a human family member.
Which says something about the close connections we form with the animals in our lives.
I found it hard to imagine life without him when he was alive, and to be honest I still find it hard now – I had the impulse to pat him goodbye as I left for work this morning and the sudden realisation that he wasn’t there, that moment of grief, was overwhelming. But I wouldn’t have it any other way; it is a fair price to pay for 15 years of love.
Thank you all for your comments and support – it really has helped.
Nom, my deepest condolences… I had to say goodbye to my Gracie this weekend, a grumpy old cat I adopted late in life after her person passed. I “Corporal Cuddled*” her into submission over four years into a pretty affectionate kitty, but I’m still surprised at the depth to which her passing has affected me and my wife.
Of the four pets who have gone in the last eight years, my old hound Rufus was the hardest to come to terms with–dogs are so very demonstrative and constant in their affections–but now I’m able to tell stories of his ridiculous antics with a smile–I’m sure you know, intellectually, that similar perspective will come to you in time, and I hope it comes to you soon.
I am so sorry for your loss. I hope your treasured memories will comfort you in time.