“Bob! Harry!” I called the dogs.
Except, there is only Harry, Bob is gone – and Maggie is here instead.
After many MANY months of Maggie being with Harry, the fact I called for Bob out of habit, struck me hard. He was gone. My precious yellow lab was gone. The friend to DJ was gone. The one who guarded our house and our kids was gone. That big yellow floppy dog was gone.
Struck me how much I missed him. We went almost 3 months without finding another dog to fit the dog sized hole we had in our life – to use G’s words. Then we found Maggie – and she fit – and continues to bring so much crazy and joy to our lives that it’s a perfect fit.
Yet, sometimes, I realize how much I miss Bob.
Today I saw the photos from this dog’s last day. A black lab who was sick and whose owner decided it was time to stop the pain and suffering and all.
In seeing the pictures and reading the story, it wasn’t lost on me that this – THIS was how we had hoped Bob’s last day would be. He had arthritis so bad that we often checked to make sure we were not keeping him around for us but because he was ok. It’s a delicate balance really. We didn’t want him to leave earlier than he should but we didn’t want his pain to go on too long.
The morning I woke up and found him barely conscious in the bathroom – drool puddled on the floor as he was breathing and that was all he could do. I knew the end was here. I petted him as I yelled for G to come to us. He was not with us – his eyes were not sparkly like usual – they were gone – they were blank. He didn’t react as I spoke to him – and I started to cry. He would not get his hamburger without onions that we always got him. He would not get his pets as he laid there wagging his tail. He would not get the last happy ride in the car – the walk – the sandwiches and all. He was gone.
G carried him out of the house wrapped in a blanket. I opened the car door so that G could set him in the back seat. We both spoke to him, words of hope that he would be ok. He had not had his good-bye.
Later when G called, I knew what it was. We could try to save him – but he wouldn’t likely survive surgery assuming he got there. “What is your revive wish?” the vet asked. “Don’t revive” was my remark. It may have come across flippant but tears were already going down my face. I couldn’t put him through all of that just for a chance for him to get six more months. It wasn’t worth the burger for him.
They injected the drugs into his leg – but G would later comment he barely needed them. G spoke to him as he passed – no wags of the tail, no licks of the tongue – he was gone even if his body had not passed yet. The drugs only helped his body pass.
Some would say “it’s only a dog” but he was more than that. He was DJ’s playmate. She loved him as we did but composed songs for him. She walked him. She loved him. And in that moment of talking to G, I had to go upstairs to her bedroom, and tell her that her dog was gone. G came home with his collar. And we all cried.
I love Harry – and I love Maggie. But maybe it’s because he was my first pet as an adult that makes Bob leave that memory in my head. So when I occasionally shout his name in place of Maggie, I cannot help but have my voice catch in my throat as I realize he is gone. And for some reason, my subconscious is calling him.
Because despite the fact he is gone, this is what I still see:
This was Bob. Until the end.
Boy do I miss him still.