When our family dog Grace died, I sat and grieved in front of my computer screen. I poured through my documents on my computer and tried to find every morsel that there was left of her. I remember pulling up a photo of her and creating a sign 'memorializing' her, something just simple like "RIP Grace we love you". I cried as I did it. Looking back I always had thought it a strange reaction to loss.
*Today I sit in front of my computer as my family boxer lays and paces at home, slightly delirious and not himself. His heart is strong, but his limbs are tired. His mind is tired. He is eleven. Which is quite old in boxer years. He has been so vibrant and loyal in his eleven years, up until the seizures started a few nights ago.
In high school, he spent nearly every night in my bed. He would stand outside my closed door and whine until I let him in. At the time, he could still jump up onto my bed. But sometimes he was just so lazy and so grandpa that he would prop his paws up onto the bed while asking for help up with his eyes. And I'd pull him up and he'd lay his head so close to mine until I slept. Sometime in the middle of the the night he would hop down onto the ground. He spent so many evenings with me, summers, snow days and school breaks. We used to play hide and seek around the house, run laps up and down the hallways. Buddy was there to soak up my tears when my dog Noah disappeared. He laid beside me all the nights in middle school that I cried about rumors and mean friends. There is something to be said about the loyalty and love a dog can give, and the luckiness of him choosing me to love him back.
Friday night I stayed at my parents to spend time caring for Buddy. He is restless and constantly fighting seizures. We laid in the floor all night, with my arm over him, forcing him to rest. We have laid like that so many times before. With his heavy breathe in and out, expanding his rib cage and lifting my arm that sat on top of it, he was almost himself. But when he woke up the next morning the pacing began, the light was missing from his eyes as he struggled to walk across the room. His tail had stopped wagging days before, he no longer woke up and greeted me with a howling wooooooooo.
We stood him up on the aluminum table and the vet cautioned us that he would pass very quickly. One second he was there breathing his heavy breaths, and then he was gone. And my family all held onto him and we cried. We cried for him being gone, for having to say goodbye the way we did. And the vet shared our tears. And we left him there after a while, a while of kissing and petting and hugging. It's hard and it's not a happy thing to share, but I want to feel it all for him. He deserves every tear and every heartache. He was loved by a lot of people. He was a really great dog and friend.
*Friday February 17, 2017
Photographer on the road