An Open Letter to My Dog

Dear Bobita,

You passed away peacefully at around 11:45 AM today. After two days of you not eating or drinking, and pacing the house all night long, getting stuck in the furniture and the corners of every room, and making crying noises we had never heard from you before, we knew it was time. Mom called the vet as soon as they were open and made the appointment for 11:30. I sobbed the whole morning. So did Mom, and Caroline. Dad didn't cry, but he never does. Even just from the time the appointment was made, to getting into the exam room at the vet's office, you got so much worse. You let us hold you, and you hadn't done that all day or night. The vet said he knew it was your time from the way that your head fell out of Dad's lap when he was holding you, and you didn't even have the energy to lift it back up. The toxins in your body from your failing kidneys had built up too much.

When the sedative had been put in, I held you as I watched you close your eyes. You were deaf, but I hummed a lullaby to you. I had never seen you look so peaceful before, even when you were asleep.

The vet had to shave off some fur to find a vein for the euthanasia. I took the tuft when we left the room, and it's wrapped up in a bow Caroline used to wear in her hair when she was younger. It's sitting on my bookshelf.

(The time we put you in a dog-carrying bag. You fell asleep inside of it, twice.)

I stayed with you until the very end. I watched you draw your last breath, saw you let go of all the pain. When the vet told me your heartbeat was gone, I cried over you just a little longer. Your ashes come in on Thursday; they'll be placed in the cigar box in my closet with the newspaper clippings and old letters and all my other mementos.

You came into our lives in November of 2013, already 12 years old at the time. After we adopted you, you proved to be one of the sweetest dogs I think I will ever meet. You were soft, gentle, and loved snuggles, and you were somehow always so warm. Even on the coldest of nights, I would find you cuddled as close to me as possible in bed, with more than enough body heat for you and me. Before you lost your hearing, I loved to ask you questions like, "What's your favorite color?" to which you would perk up your ears and turn your head to the left, always seeming so sincerely interested.

We always wondered about your past. You were deathly afraid of kennels. We never knew why. And you were the only dog we knew that loved vegetables. Beets, carrots, you never cared. There was many a time Mom would call to you from the back door, looking for you, to which you'd poke your head out of the garden, a half-eaten red tomato fresh off the vine in your mouth. Silly little dog.

(The time we put your ears up like a ponytail and realized you looked like a YouTube makeup guru when they try out new highlight.)

Bobita, I'm beyond thankful that for the last five years of your time on this earth, you got to spend them with us. You brought a new light into our lives in your own special way, and it brings me peace to know you're somewhere else now, free of kennels and kidney problems forever. I love you, girl. 

Until we meet again, Simon.

 

(Images courtesy of Caroline Placr)