On Flying Time, Loss, and Love

My sweet, drooly, lazy boy.

After Wilford passed so suddenly in December, I have to admit, I was pretty terrified.

Cash, our old guy, was...well...old.  We knew he was winding down.  His hips were hurting him more days than they weren't (he had hip dysplasia).  He had days where he was puppylike and full of energy, but they got more and more rare after Wilford died.  

We tried to prepare ourselves, emotionally, for the end we knew was coming.  We agreed that we wouldn't make any kind of final decisions, though, until we knew.  Until we knew that he was unhappy.  (We, of course, would rather have never been ready.)

On April 1st, we knew.

He didn't get up when we did, and while that wasn't totally unheard of, it was pretty unusual for him to not even change rooms when I came into the studio for longer than an hour.  He barely woke up when I went in to check on him and hold him for a little while.

But when he tried to get off the bed and collapsed, falling forward onto his face, and not able to get up once he landed...I knew.

I called J at work, and he came home.  We gave our boy a final cheeseburger (April 1 is when we celebrate his birthday -- he was sixteen on that very day), and drove him to our vet, trying to see the road through tears.  She took one look at him and told me things weren't good.  We could try surgery on his hips, but frankly, it'd be adding to his suffering -- which is the one thing we said we'd never do.

We held him and petted him and told him he was a good boy while they gave him the injections to help him sleep and, finally, to sleep forever.  (It's been over a month and I still can't even type this out without crying a hard, ugly cry.)
He thought he fit in this box.  My goofy boy did not know basic spatial dynamics, obviously.

He came to us for a weekend in 2004, and was a blessing every day since.

We were supposed to watch him for the weekend, but ended up keeping him.  He and Shenzi bonded almost immediately -- the two were peas in a pod.  They did everything together, from sleeping to hunting wild pizza in the dining room.  He charmed every person he ever met with his quiet soul.

He taught me about patience, that one.  About the power of naps and the power of protecting what's yours.  He loved by proximity.  If he loved you, he was near you, and would often spend his evenings just shuffling back and forth between my chair and John's, trying to remind us that he loved us both, and oh by the way, maybe you could grab one of those treats while you're standing near the jar...?

After he was gone, the house felt too big.  Too empty.

For the first time in more than a decade and a half, the house was without dogs.  I kept trying to get up and open up the back door for him, getting all the way to the kitchen before remembering that I didn't have to do that now.  Food that fell on the floor stayed there.  I vacuumed, and didn't have to stop every ten feet to empty the bag of dog hair.

I tried to look on the bright side, see.

And then Bella happened.

She's good at sleeping.

I might have gone to the humane society "just to look".


More about how she saved our broken hearts later.

Life is full of cycles and seasons, after all.

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