WordPress tells me I haven’t written anything on here since December and I would believe that (they keep records of these kinds of things, I suppose). It has been awhile, I can’t argue with that. I often think of writing though, of committing my thoughts to the ether of the internet but somehow the time always escapes me. But I’m writing now… and what a doozy of a topic. I kind of want to apologise in advance for what I’m about to say – this will not be an uplifting post (spoiler alert: the dog dies at the end).
On Tuesday 3 April, we had to put down my dog, Oscar. I’d had him since he was a puppy. He would have been 14 in June, if he had’ve made it that far. Aside from family , he was my longest relationship. I had him before I met my husband, who I’ve now been with for 12 years. My sister remarked that I’ve had him for nearly as long as she’s been back in the country (she returned to Australia in early 2004 and I got him around August, I think). He’s been the furry little man in my life for so long that I don’t really know what to do without him.
Our French bulldog, Ami, passed away two years ago and, while that was extraordinarily painful, it doesn’t quite compare to this. Maybe because we still had Oscar to come home to at the end of the day (and boy did he hate copping the brunt of all our grieving hugs; he only ever liked to be touched when it suited him, kind of like his mum, I guess). Unlike Ami, we were able to have pug at home when the time came. The vet came to our house and we were able to be in our living room, holding him when he died. I remember trying to commit his smell to memory, trying to force myself to remember how soft his little ears were. Now he’s been gone for just over two weeks and I feel like that detail is fading.
I had nightmares the first few nights after he was gone. The worst was one where I dreamt he wasn’t dead after all (god knows how) but I woke up convinced he was alive and was then faced with the crushing realisation that it was, in fact, just a horrible fucking dream my psychopath brain conjured up just to fuck with me.
Aside to my brain: WHY, BRAIN? WHY?!? WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU? WE’RE MEANT TO BE ON THE SAME SIDE HERE! Or at least that’s what I always thought.
Anyway, it’s been a fucking brutal two and a half weeks and, on top of that, work is crazy and my personal life is somewhat more complicated than it usually is so I feel I can’t really grieve as much as I want to. Add to this the fact that I work from home most of the time and it’s just. too. fucking. silent. without him here. He was a pug so he snuffled and snored all the time and I miss that so much. I miss the little click, click, click of his claws as he’d follow me to the kitchen or the bedroom.
Oscar had always been the self-appointed greeting party for anyone who visited our house but, for the last few years of his life, he was totally deaf so he couldn’t hear when anyone came in or when we came home. You’d have to go looking for him (he’d always be sleeping somewhere – loved a nap, that one). Sometimes I’d let him sleep and eventually he’d smell me or feel the vibrations of my footsteps and come looking for me. But other times I’d wake him up and he’d be so startled that he’d missed you come in, like ‘how’d you get here?!’ He’d even look a bit peevish or ashamed that he’d missed his chance to waylay you at the door as you came in.
He was a tough little guy. He was diagnosed with mouth cancer in December, I think it was. Or maybe January. They put him on chemo but it didn’t help. At the end, it wasn’t even the cancer that killed him but his breathing, his airways started collapsing and he would faint and Jared would have to give him nose to mouth to try and open his airways. At the end, he just kept fainting too much and we knew it was time. The night before we knew. That morning we knew but we thought we’d be able to have the day with him but he kept crashing. The vet was meant to come over at 7.30pm but he ended having to come around 1pm because he kept fainting. It felt funny – calling the vet to come earlier to kill him when he was already clearly dying (and nearly died multiple times in front of us that day) yet somehow this ‘vet-dealt’ death was preferable. I know it was. It just felt weird, feels weird still. Seeing his floppy little lifeless body get rolled up in a towel before the vet took him away was probably one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve ever seen. Or perhaps I’ve lives a sheltered life. I don’t think I have but obviously there are people out there having much bigger problems than a dead dog.
After that, we cried for a bit, I had a bath that was interrupted almost straight away when my sister came over in tears (she’d tried to get there in time to say goodbye but didn’t make it), we went down and had sushi for lunch and then we both got on our computers and worked. It was just avoidance, I know that, but, when Ami died, we took the day off and cried. I feel guilty, like we didn’t give him the time he deserved, like we just got on with it, like it… like he was nothing. Oh well, that’s over with. Best get back to work now. Maybe that’s why I feel so bad, why it feels like the grief is tearing at my heart and seeping out of my pores. Because I didn’t let it out properly to begin with so now it’s trapped inside me, doomed to rattle around for god knows how long.
His absence is like a ghost following me around this crypt of an apartment. Everything reminds me of him. Everything. Sometimes a particularly strong memory will come back to me and I’ll have to sit down – on the floor, on the couch, go to bed, whatever – and just cry. Big, heaving sobs because it feels like my heart’s never going to stop hurting. I can’t imagine not feeling this sad about him. I know I will. I know it will get better. But I just can’t imagine it right now. All I want in the world is one more day with him. Even one more fucking minute. Just to hug him, to tell him I love him, to rub his ears.
Anyway, I miss him and I hate the quiet he’s left behind. He was a noisy beast so it’s in the silence that you notice he’s really gone.
Vale, Oscar. You will forever be missed.