My beloved Zoe,
Your Daddy Tim went back to San Francisco last night. This was the first night in more than one year that I have spent alone. Your bed is still on the floor beside mine. I’m not ready to face the cold empty wood that rests beneath it. On my way to bed I need to take a moment to lie beside your spirit, to tell you that Daddy Bob loves you more than anything else in the world, just like I have done every night before. I miss the warmth of your body and that little sideway nudge into my hand, that you would do with your head as I massaged the side of your snout. Then, as I have done all those many nights before, I will lie down in my own bed. Remembering all those nights you would get up for a drink of water, then come close to my bed to make sure I am still there before returning to your own bed, I will whisper I love you at least two more times so you know I am nearby.
Zoe and Daddy Tim
I have removed your blankets and treats from the back seat of the car. Daddy Tim picked up the dozen bathroom rugs scattered over the floor of the hallways and living room meant to keep you from falling. My brain plays tricks on me the past two days. If I see something out of the corner of my eyes, lying on the floor, the vacuum cleaner, a pile of clothes. I instinctively go into caution mode, careful to not step on your tail.
Every time I open the front door my mind automatically searches for your raised head looking in my direction, ears pointing upward. My own ears search for the excited whining accompanied by the pounding of your tail on the floor. At 9:30 in the morning I expect to see you waiting anxiously at the back door to the garden. “It’s time for the adventures of Zoe and Bob,” I would say as you run ahead of me and wait patiently beside the car until I open the door.
Waiting for the adventures of Z & B
As I anticipated those last days I could hear the echo of voices of those who had been where I was about to go. “She will let you know when it’s time, when she has had enough.” And you did. One by one you lost your abilities to communicate joy. You turned your head away from food, your tail would rise slowly for one gentle thump and your voice was reduced to a faint whimper. But when I placed my fingers on your snout, running one finger up and down between your eyes, your were still able to gently nudge your head sideways into my hand to say I love you Daddy Bob.
After the first injection you quickly found peace. I placed my hand upon your torso as it gently rose up and down with each breath. Daddy Tim sat directly opposite me on the other side of your bed. Just seconds after the next injection I felt your spirit pass through my body. Unable to hold back the tears, I cried tears of joy for your freedom from suffering. I cried tears of sadness for the loss of your companionship. I cried tears of pain for the natural struggle through grief that lay ahead of me.
I take comfort in the fact that you are here with me. I will try to emulate your stoic ability to accept what comes next. I will carry you in my heart to the end of time. Each time I face a new challenge or walk down a new road, I will remember the unconditional love that drove me to take care of you, to put you first. I will apply that to myself, using what you have taught me about what it means to see life from the perspective of a dog.
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