We were a pack of two*…
He came to our family 14 years ago – and despite a severe case of ADHD, fit in well with our clan. He’d escape the backyard fence, and wander the neighborhood. You could call his name for days, and he’d look at you, give a smile and a wag, and keep sniffing whatever had his interest at that moment. The only way we could recapture him? Drive by, open a car door and yell “Road Trip!” For years our neighbors thought his name was “Roadtrip”…
When the kids moved on to college, and I started over in a new home, it was just us. He kept me grounded through the biggest transition of my life. He loved me at my most unlovable. I was responsible for him, and that meant getting out of bed when I was in the deepest, darkest funk. He needed to walk. He needed to eat.
He listened to every word I said as if it were the most important thing he’d ever heard.
I jokingly referred to him as my “Canine Life Partner”. My companions had to understand who owned my heart.
Man In My Bed: You’re dog’s giving me the stink eye.
daisyfae: That’s because you’re in his spot and it’s time for him to go to bed.
Man In My Bed: That’s cute…
daisyfae: No, seriously, it’s time for you to leave. He wants to go to bed.
As Studley became part of my life, he quickly learned that Mr. Pickles was a pre-existing condition in my heart. He also found room in his heart for my large brown pup. On nights he’d stay over, Mr. Pickles would stiff-leg him out of bed over the course of the night. Get up to pee? Come back to find a giant dog sleeping on the pillow, basically saying “My spot. You got the sofa, buddy.” Most nights, Mr. Pickles was little spoon to my big spoon. I slept best next to my main manimal.
He wasn’t the smartest dog, but he was a gifted instructor. He taught me how to enjoy the moment. Knowing that he was only with me for a short time, he taught me not to postpone joy – a lesson that carried over to visits with my Mom. Struggling with my relationship with her, it was Mr. Pickles that taught me to let go of the past – and meet her where she was as she approached the end of her life. We learned to appreciate the seasons, knowing that the next snowfall, or splash in the pool, wasn’t guaranteed.
At fifteen years old, he’d blown most canine actuarial tables. A bad reaction to medication didn’t take him down in 2012, even though his liver nearly failed. The big lump of cancer taken from his hip in January wasn’t what did it. In the end, it was his heart that got him. It was too big…
A friend told me of a service that does mobile pet euthanasia. The vet came to my home. She was a goddess, dressed in khaki shorts and sneakers… Mr. Pickles settled into his bed, with me spooning behind him. Studley was with us, petting those velvety ears. And with all that love flowing his way, he went to sleep…
We were a pack of two. He wasn’t just a good boy. He was my best boy.
“Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.” – Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
* Respectful acknowledgement of the amazing book of this title by Caroline Knapp. A close friend sent me a copy years ago, and it seems i’m due for another reading…
had a little cry just now, my Bing was half english bull dog and half black lab, ended up a goofy tank that still holds my heart even though shes been gone a long time now. Rest easy Mr. Pickles and may we all to at the end to where dogs go.
Thank you, Catmont… Bing must have been a lovely pup! Bet she could bowl you right over! I don’t believe in heaven or hell, but I like Mark Twain’s comment – “if there are no dogs in heaven, I want to go where they go…” or something along those lines…
Teary eyed here.
I have been a weepy, sobby mess for over a week… it still hurts like hell, but I’m getting more numb, I think…
this is so beautiful. goddamn animals.
No kidding… as bad as this hurts, I wouldn’t give up a single minute with the old fart to make it hurt less…
My condolences. Mr Pickles was legendary.
As were his dairy-driven farts… There are sections of the Midwest still under the fog from the last time I took him out for ice cream…
Your post made me cry, so sorry for you loss of your dear friend, but what a blessing you were to each other and you were able to be at home when the time came to let him go. sending a hug
Sorry I made you cry, but I certainly appreciate your words… I was lucky to have him, lucky to be able to afford to keep him comfy for these past few months, and lucky to find the service that would come to us when it was time… ❤
You are so loved, and so was Mr. Pickles. Glad it could be peaceful in the end, in a comfortable place, with you by his side and Studley by yours. So much love to you, my inspiring friend.
Thank you so very much for providing a safety net… We were both having a terrible, ugly cry after it was over, and are still randomly bursting into tears. Each day gets less raw. I am now able to talk about it… baby steps.
My condolences. I know it’s not the same, but you still have Huey. And Studley. And hugs from this “pack of two.”
Thanks… Huey has been wonderful, and I’ve tried to avoid projecting any emotion onto him. “I bet he is glad the dog is gone so he gets more attention…”. While it may be somewhat true, he can’t help it, and he’s been a warm ball of fur right when I need it… Same for Studley… 😉
More leaky eyes.
They wind their paws deep into our heart strings, and take a piece of us with them when they go.
There is a Mr. Pickles shaped hole in my heart, and my life… I keep looking for him around the house, and he’s just gone. It will continue to get less raw, but I’m always going to miss that big ol’ boy….
He was special. So very glad you got to meet him in person… ❤
Oh yes! I knew I might not meet the ol’ fella and really enjoyed our many short walks. G and S want to tell Huey to give you extra smoochies. Also, I had to explain what a road trip is…
He enjoyed your company very much! Much love to G and S… and you probably shouldn’t go into much detail about a roadtrip. They might get ideas!
I’m so very sorry for you Daisyfae … It’s never easy losing a beloved family member.
I’m happy for you, and him that you were able to hold him close while he gently crossed over ….
Sending much love to you and the rest of your family
Thank you, Ms. Fyre… It was as good of an ending as there could have been. He was happy and waggy until the end. Both the hospice vet, and my regular vet, reminded me that it is better to go a few weeks too soon than a minute late, as a critter with a terminal diagnosis can take a sudden bad turn. Appreciate the love…
So sad to hear this, Daisyfae. Mr Pickles has been a part of everything you have done and written about in all the time I have followed you. He will be missed. And yes. My eyes have gone all leaky.
Thanks, Archie… you have been along for this ride from the beginning, and you were also with me through that transition… I slept in this morning. The first time I’ve done that on a Saturday at home in many, many years. Rather than enjoy it, I’m sad that there was no reason to get up… I’d usually grab a cup of coffee and go back to bed for a bit… but the heart has stopped beating in my home.
“Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.” What else needs to be said? My condolences Ms. Daisy… you know i’m a big softee when it comes to the animal types, i still get misty-eyed over Louie over a year later, i think it was actor who once said he remembers all the people who’ve passed cuz as long as someone remembers them they’re not gone, i sorta like that, i apply it to my animal friends too, here’s to a life well lived.
And you know the context for that quote… and know that it hurt like a motherfucker for me… I keep looking for him, in all the spots where I’d trip over him before. He followed me from room to room, up til the end. And he’s just gone… Even when dementia sets in, I won’t forget this boy.
Sad face. I’m so sorry. I know how much he meant to you. Wish I could wave a magic wand and make you feel better but that’s not how it works. All good wishes.
Thank you… I’m really sorry your dog is such an asshole, because everyone should know the love of a fine doggie. It still hurts, but it’s getting less raw. I’m now able to have a conversation about it, without sobbing. Baby steps…
I think the universe gave us pets so that we can practice losing someone we love. Either that or it’s a big cosmic joke. Besides, if we didn’t have them we’d have to own up to our farts, and no one wants to do that, especially when there’s a handy dog to blame them on. A friend of mine had a big old doberman that would literally clear the room on occasion. He had the most self-satisfied look on his face afterwards. Talk about gagging a maggot.
Exactly this… one of the important reasons to raise children with pets is so they learn how shit works. That we’re all only here for a short ride. Mr. P could launch olfactory devastation – especially after ice cream, which he loved. He only got it rarely because the gas cloud would make your eyes water… He’d pretend I did it.
A few tears and sending big hugs. It never stops completely hurting and you will never stop missing them (been 15 years and i still miss my buddy). It does fade a little though. xxx
Thank you, Nicole… it sucks. I am getting more numb, and the bouts of body-wracking sobbing are getting less frequent. I know the raw pain will fade, but the memories won’t…. I just miss him. I keep looking for him. Didn’t realize how much I talked to him – until I didn’t.
I’m so so sorry, Daisyfae. Some people live too damn long and dogs don’t live long enough. Pickles was the best boy, indeed. Sending love and hugs from Texas.
Thank you, Ma’am… I was lucky to have him all these years. But damn, this hurts…
I’ve been trying to come up with something to say and words fail me. Thank god you found such a wonderful way to give him a calm and loving send off. He will be missed.
Sending lots of love to you and Studley as you recover. ❤
The lead on the service that does home hospice was an absolute gift! Even though it was overwhelming at the time, from Mr. P’s point of view, it was as good as it could possibly be… No need for words – I appreciate all you do, and all you are. I will continue to get numb, and move on… because that’s how it works. ❤
I’m so sorry, he sounds like a total sweety.
Thanks, carlae! He was all heart… and fur… and slobber… ok, a lot of slobber…
Losing a friend, a good friend, is one of the hardest rough spots we have to go through. The fact that the friend has four legs doesn’t lessen the loss one smidge. Maybe in the case of a dog it is even more so. Canine love is unconditional – earned or unearned. My sympathies are with you. Want to bet Pickles is in dog heaven checking out his spot in bed?
Thanks, Sandy – of all of my readers, i know you understand this. Not even close to ‘over’ it. I still get teary-eyed sometimes at the strangest things. Going to the mailbox? He was always my mailbox buddy. Seeing the neighbors walk their dogs… Going to bed without going outside for that final pee (for him)… there’s a lot of ’empty’ in my world still. But at least i’m not sobbing uncontrollably as often. Still hits sometimes. Grief is the price we pay for love. i wouldn’t give up a moment of time with him, even if it would lessen this grief…
I do understand completely. I’ve experienced your grief.
Hope you get back to posting soon – miss your whit-
Back. Sort of. i have a lot of things i’m working through – and this has always been the healthiest forum for me to sort out my issues. 2017 going to bring a lot of ‘firsts’ for me… Will find some time to get back out to catch up with what’s going on in your world, too!
Thanks, love… it helps! ❤
A lovely tribute. I get the happiness for your dear friend to be without pain. loving thoughts for you.
Thanks. This has sucked. He couldn’t live forever… the kindest thing i could do is keep him from suffering.
Hope you return to the keyboard. I miss your posts and your humanity.
Aww…. you have been so sweet… Thank you! i was off on a 2 week cycling holiday in Europe in September, then was asked to fill in a role in a show when another person had to drop (which meant rehearsals through October, show going into November). Still working 40 hours a week, with a ton of business travel… while working 4 volunteer jobs. So yeah… i’ve been gone… but i’ll be around! See you soon!