I've made the calls, I'm waiting for them to call me back.
It is time.
Almost three years ago exactly, we lost our Maddie. She was our beagle, she was our first baby, she was the puppy we brought home to fill the void left when we lost our first child. She was, for a long time, what our world revolved around. She had aged, she was hurt, and then it was time.
That morning, as I sat in the garage with her, waiting until the clock ran to the time her appointment was, I wrote. I watched as he transformed from the younger, hyper dog to the one with a sudden sense of responsibility, of duty. It was as though Jake knew what was happening before we did. He knew that Maddie would soon be gone, and he knew that we would soon be his family to look over.
He did just that.
In that moment, he ceased being the "other" dog, the second one, the companion to the first. He became our rock, our home, our center.
|3 years ago.|
He looks so young in this picture.
They are, simply put, who we should be.
They become a part of the story of who we are.
Jake came home with me one day when I went to the pet store to get dog food. He was about 8 months old at the time, and had been abused and relinquished. He gave me the eyes then that he still gives me now and I was hooked.
I'm not allowed to go to the pet store for a reason.
He has lived these almost 12 years now as a part of our family, and he always fit in, as though he was just supposed to be our dog and we were intended to be his people. He has allergies. He has anxiety. He has dog ADHD.
He is one of us.
He became even more so when the responsibility to be our protectors shifted to him alone. He would sit on the landing of the stairs whenever some of us were upstairs and some were on the main floor. If the kids are outside, he paces a set pathway between them and I, always watching. He barks incessantly at whoever comes to the door.
We are his people and he is our dog.
After Maddie died, he calmed down almost completely. He was still a fanatic with the ball, but he transformed into the dog who would sit with me for hours on the porch while I read. He watches the kids. He always watches the kids. He doesn't much have use for leashes. He's not going anywhere.
This is his home and he has no intention of leaving.
And yet, here we are, the clock running so slowly this morning. Waiting to let him go. I stare at the phone again, urging it to ring, letting it be time to make the arrangements.
The kids, sensing what we already know, want to come with us this time. They want to say goodbye to the dog who has been a part of their entire lives. I honor that, I honor their bravery. I honor their understanding of life and death and all it encumbers. They've seen so much loss in their young lives, my children, but they handle it with such grace and peace.
My husband will be on his way home shortly and I'll pick the kids up one by one, and then we will all take our Jake on his last, longest walk together.
We love you Jake.
We always will.
Wherever you're going, I hope they have a lot of tennis balls. They're going to need them once you get there.