Wednesday evening, I said goodbye to my 14 year old Boxer. He had a seizure at day care. When I got him home, a confused, stumbling, “not there” dog, he started seizing in the garage and stopped breathing. He started breathing on his own, but couldn’t get up and stand. Off to the emergency vet on a cold, snowy night.
At the vet, he was able to stand and walk, albeit with an unsteady, hesitant gait. After two more seizures, he lost control over his right side and was unresponsive. And he continued to have seizures. I made a difficult decision to let him go. Old, blind in one eye, diminished hearing, arthritic and brain cancer, he wasn’t in good shape. I’ve made this decision for other dogs and cats in my life. If you’ve done it, you know how tough it is to say yes.
In the few days since, the house is lonely. No picking him up at day care after work. No walking him one more time before bed and putting a diaper on him just in case. Cans of food remain. Toys scattered through the house. I still hear his collar tags jingle together. I see him out of the corner of my eye, on the couch or standing in the hallway. You build your life around a dog and when they’re gone there’s more than a space, there’s an abyss that you fall into and out of throughout the day and night.
I can’t let him go. For 14 years he was too much a part of our lives. I want to but I can’t. It will take time to soften it and fade out the pain. So much that I want to say but I can’t find the words.
One day, I’ll remember him without getting emotional and needing to turn away. I want that day. I don’t want that day. I don’t want to forget, I just want to remember without the heartache.
Jake, you gave me so much enjoyment, love, and comfort. You weren’t a good boy. You were the best.