There is no heartbreak quite like the loss of a pet. This weekend I lost a best friend. A friend who has been in my life for fourteen years. It’s hard to describe just how much I miss him and how hurt I am.
I was lucky enough to have Maverick in my life for as long as I did. Maverick has been a constant companion; he would follow you anywhere. In fact, he didn’t even like water, but one time we took him out on the boat and when I swam out into the water, he blindly followed me without hesitation (until he realized he was swimming!). He would bark at anything and everything that moved, always the protector of his home. Even with a stubby tail, he could wag it emphatically whenever you returned. Maverick had an endless appetite for doggie treats and an overflowing bank of wet nose kisses.
Unfortunately, as he aged, he developed a brain tumor which started to cause seizures. With medication, we were able to keep in under control for a couple of months. Last week, it spiraled out of control and he suffered nine seizures in just 27 hours. He received an extra dose of medication from the vets which gave him a couple of calmer days, but unfortunately, he was already gone. I went home on Friday to see him and say goodbye. He was sweet and relaxed, but all memories were gone. He was friendly, but hesitant. His tail did not wag and there was no light in his eyes. He didn’t remember us or where he was. There was a vacancy in his soul. I held him and sat with him for hours, took him outside, fed him chicken stew and pound cake. My head understood that it was time, but my heart couldn’t let him go.
As I said goodbye, with tears rolling down my face, I kissed him on the nose and told him it was ok, I would love him forever. My heart broke. In fact, I cannot remember the last time I have cried so hard. It’s amazing how many tears the body can produce. I couldn’t breathe, my chest hurt and my heart ached. I have cried myself to sleep like that for three days.
I know that people lose their companions every day, but when it happens to you it feels like the world has stopped. In fact, just after his last vet appointment, with tears of finality welling in my eyes, I found myself angry. Angry at everyone else carrying on. I saw a girl in the parking lot yesterday with a balloon that read “You Rock!” I was so mad at her for being happy when it felt like my world was crumbling. I saw men outside on the job, continuing their work. Didn’t they know what had just happened? Why was no else’s life as shattered as mine?
I know that Maverick deserved peace. I know that he had left us and it was time. I know that we did everything for him that we could. I know that he had a good life. And I know that we were the lucky ones.
I will miss his head in my lap. I will miss the frustration of mopping up a wet floor because his beard dripped water from the bowl. I will miss his nose digging through his Christmas stocking this year. I will miss the warm body on my feet at the dinner table. I will miss the leg-kisses after applying my lotion. I will miss the puppy who used to hoard our belongings in his crate. I will miss the walks and golf cart rides. I will miss my friend.
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” -Anatole France