My dog died last night.
That makes me feel yuk. Seeing her lying on the ground and "knowing" in the way the subconscious mind instantly knows things, but calling her name anyway and then consciously knowing gave me that sinking feeling in my gut. That makes me feel yuk too.
She's been dying for a long time. I knew that so I have tried to make her more comfortable. There was the medication for her joint pain, and the daily expensive soft dog food for her. I didn't take her to the vet when she lost her eyesight in one eye because actually, for the past 6 months she has been obviously feeling much better than she did for at least a year prior. She even wagged her tail when she knew I was there.
Joy was my dog and I was her person. I have a couple of stories which demonstrate that more than ever....
When we lived out in the country, I let Joy run free. I know; not supposed to do that but, she was fixed, and our distant neighbors didn't seem to care. When I say free...I mean, she went wherever she wanted and did whatever she wanted and killed whatever she wanted. The time I am thinking of, she found a den of skunks and not only killed the adult, but killed all five of the babies. I know this because she very proudly brought them to the house to show me her handy work. They were layed out in a straight line near the porch when I found them...Joy lay nearby, panting and wagging her tail.
Living in the city limited her freedom to a certain extent, but we are blessed to have a pretty large back yard. One night, the neighbor hunting dogs tunnled under the fence and came into our yard. There was some growling which brought me outside. Lance, Joy's adopted child was there wagging his tail and Joy was no where to be seen. I was a little wary of these strange dogs and stood there not quite knowing what to do when the oldest looking one growled at me. My little medium sized Joy shot out of her dog house and went straight for the older dogs throat. She was protecting her human. I've never had an animal do that for me before, nor will I ever probably again.
Death of someone, or something I love brings up guilt feelings in me. "I should have..." or "I could have..." I asked my class today to write their legacy, how they wish to be remembered when they die. While I was waiting for them to finish, I was suddenly touched with Joy's answer:
"I want him to remember that I belonged to him, that I was happy, and that I loved him."
"Good girl...and thank you."