Losing a pet can be painful, oddly, the feeling can be much like losing a friend or a family member. Those first hours, to days, when you measure everything by the emptiness that now exists in place of what was once space occupied by someone or something else. My eldest dog Toby passed away yesterday afternoon. My eldest daughter Brooke came home and was first to find him lying still at the top of the stairs.
This morning I measured that emptiness in the form of the nagging irritation that he would provide. He was dying from congestive heart failure, so he had a cough that was more like a seal bark… incessant and absolutely annoying. I felt really bad for him at first, then I just wished it would stop. We actually were treating him for his CHF as the drugs are pretty effective, an odd thing for a guy like me, but when you don’t really have control over health decisions… it is hard to find alternatives to meds.
He was more concerned since the CHF started, keeping himself closer to us most of the time. He would lay in front of the shower in the early morning when I was trying to be as quiet as possible… then move to the stair and block my passage down in the dark. Coupled with the midnight barking of a seal, he was downright horrible to have around these last few months. But oddly enough I find myself missing all of those awful nuances. Funny.
Toby was 11 years old, and if you remember, he was my nearly dead dog a little over a year ago. My wife and the girls and I had a “face-time” conversation from Colorado last February to say farewell to Toby, but a sum of money later and a small amount of time, and we were blessed with another year and a half with him.
My wife commented this morning, “I just want to feel his fur”. Look at the picture and tell me you don’t share her sentiment. Look at that fur! Seriously, this guy will be missed. In the five dogs that I have had, he was the most amazing. His spirit was the sweetest, he cared more for being obedient than any other animal I have met. A shadow behind my left hip. He would follow at just the right distance, “what would you like of me next?” I will miss this dog immensely, more than any other for sure.
So here is a question.
If I am going to miss all of his annoying habits when he is gone, along with the good ones… why can’t I provide him with more appreciation while he is alive? How often do we complain about a loved one, in so many cases I would say a spouse… over traits and attributes that you know will one day be the thing that you miss?
I hope you are starting to get it. How many people do we have who are very close in our lives, yet we are irritated by the little things that they do? How bad would you feel if they passed tomorrow? How much effort would you put forth if you knew this was it, that the end was near.
My entire point for you today, is to understand that the things that bother you now, might end up being the things you miss the most. Stop and enjoy the world around you while you can!
Be blessed and Be well – Dr. E