Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I'll Be Seeing You

In December of last year, I wrote a post about our dog.

I began it with the statement that I was heartbroken. But, no. I was wrong. NOW I am heartbroken.

The Poochie of My Heart is gone. Dead.

Just when she had turned the corner. Just when she had become our baby girl's best friend, best playmate.

Something got her.

It started out with a few scratches on her ear. Then the scratches got red, so I made a vet appointment. Then just a few hours later, fever and an abcess.

Then surgery, IV antibiotics, sepsis, blood transfusion, pulmonary embolysm, and cardiac failure.

We called her The Tank because she was so indestructible. Chasing tennis balls full speed into concrete walls. Eating bees and railroad ties like they were dainty petit fors.

When the vet called and said she was failing, that there was less than a 2% chance she would survive and even if she did he couldn't say what she would be... like... my god, how I howled.

I must have said the word "no" a hundred times. A thousand times. It just wasn't possible.

My husband rushed to the vet to say goodbye, but when he got there she was already gone. He called me on his cell phone to tell me. Standing next to her, clutching her fur, he told her again and again how sorry he was. How sorry we were that we couldn't save her.

The guilt overwhelmed me at first. The guilt that I had considered giving her away, that I had ever shouted at her or cursed her, that I didn't clean her scratches well enough or call the vet soon enough, that I didn't love her enough, that I couldn't fix it all.

I scurried to remove traces of her before my husband could return from the vet. Her beds, her toys, her dishes all dumped hurriedly into an empty diapers box. I re-arranged the furniture to conceal the marks from her crate. I'm not sure what I thought I would erase.

It's like that old song...

I'll be seeing you
In all the old familiar places
That this heart of mine embraces
All day through.

I swear I hear the clink of her collar, a yawn, toenails on the tile floor. The other night, stumbling back into bed after checking on the baby, a shadow lay across my covers and quietly, without thinking, I said "Move, Katie." She always loved the warm spot we left behind on the sheets. "Move, Katie," I said quietly aloud before the shadow became just a shadow.

I'll find you
In the morning sun
And when the night is new.

It is amazing to me the impact that pets have on our lives. How they curl up in the warmest chambers of our hearts and wait for a biscuit. In the first days, I vowed I would never get another dog because I could not stand to take the pain again; it was too raw and jagged. And I was almost embarassed that I could give so much of my heart away to a damn dog who never could behave decently in public.

But as days have passed, and I grow used to the quiet of the house, I think only of the joys she brought to our life: the kisses, the snuggles, the play, the laughter. And I realize with a shuddering jolt that it is only a matter of time before another dog comes skittering into our life.

Katie, if you didn't already know it, and god I hope you did, we loved you very very much. Thank you for all you brought into our lives. I will never ever forget you.

I'll be looking at the moon, but I'll be seeing you.

1 comment:

Loo said...

They say time heals all wounds. Not sure I agree with that. Or maybe enough time hasn't passed yet. I still tear up when I hear a certain bark or see a photo of Jake unexpectedly. Some people don't understand my instant silence when these things happen. And while I don't completely shut down, there are still moments of heartache and a lump in my throat even over a year later. It's nice to know someone understands.