This coming Sunday will be the year anniversary of my dog dying. Even writing this sentence makes me tear up. And I am sure this post will take me days to get through because it is beyond difficult for me to talk about her death. If you are not a person who believes in the deep human/animal connection and relationship, I suggest you just stop reading now. You will think I am crazy, which if so…fuck off and be happy you have never lost a pet. And if you are a believer, then please continue reading and know my heart is with you as you think about, grieve, remember and mourn your baby.
Dita was my very first dog on my own. Meaning not a family dog my parents gave me, but my dog. The day I picked her up was life changing. I had this little, adorable, living thing who was mine to take care of. Mine to teach. Mine to cuddle. Mine to grow with. Just mine. I lived with someone, a boyfriend, at the time I got her. He liked dogs, but didn’t understand my love for her. We split months later and then it was just her and I. I found us a cute little apartment, enrolled her in doggie daycare and made sure she was more taken care of than myself during this time. But that didn’t matter to me because while I was doing all of this for her, she was doing so much more for me. She was taking care of me in a million more ways than anyone ever had. While I was teaching her to poop and pee outside (something she never quite grasped) she was teaching me about independence. While I was teaching her to chew on her toys, not mommy’s (vibrators…….) she was teaching me that I was a strong women. While I was teaching her to sit/stay (that is about as far as we got) she was teaching me that I was not alone…I had her and I had myself and that was all we needed. I will truly treasure that short time we lived alone. Just us. We were an unstoppable pair and molded each other into some pretty awesome creatures.
Years passed and that time of just her and I became just a memory. Other dogs, kids, Matt all eventually came into the picture. And she LIKED all those other things, but she never fully accepted them. She loved her Mommy/Dita time and let everyone know it. I know most dogs are stoked when their owner walks through the door, but man, Dita was ecstatic. Everyday, without fail she would run to me, pushing any other pug, pitbull or kid out of the way, making her crazy pug noises and rub herself all over me like it had been weeks. Even if it was a quick trip to the store. Whenever I sat down anywhere in the house, she found her way to my lap and would curl up and take her throne. She listened to every single I said, staring at me with those big pug eyes, hanging on to every word, waiting for me to talk about food.
Dita was only 9 when I found out she had cancer. That is pretty young for a pug. I had many tough decisions I had to make about the wellness and health of my best friend. What drugs, what tests, what plans to assist the comfort and longevity of her life. It was fucking brutal. Especially when I would see the medications quickly not work. It all happened so fast. Her last vet appointment she was skin and bones. Her teeth were falling out and she wasn’t eating. The vet was very apologetic as he told me that her cancer was too aggressive and at this point there was nothing to do but make her comfortable. At this point, she was not greeting me at the door. She was not pawing for my lap. She was hiding from us all waiting to pass.
Her last night with us changed. She suddenly would not leave my side. She followed me to every diaper change, every potty break, every step. I knew it was time. I put her in our bed and she began her journey to doggie heaven lying next to Matt and I. It was peaceful, beautiful and she was surrounded by a family full of love. But most importantly in the arms of me. Her mom, her care taker, her life companion, her best friend.
All the strength she had taught me over the past 9 years lead up to this moment. She was always there for me with careers, love, babies, heartaches, sickness, life changes and now I had to take her strength and hold on to it for her. Make her feel the way she always made me feel…..loved, safe, not alone.
Pets give us something no human can. And as sassy and stubborn and odd and quirky as Dita was, she was a dog. Full of unconditional love. A dog who doesn’t hold a grudge, who is always excited to see you and who appreciates human kindness more than actual humans do. Dita was my dog and she proved it day in and day out for 9 incredible years.
The loss of your pet is tough. In my case (and in most cases) it is the loss of a family member, the loss of your true spirit animal, the loss of your best friend.
This week marks a year and I still find myself crying over her. Matt and I always reminisce on funny Dita stories (she was quite the character.) Who knows how long I will cry over her, but I don’t ever mind. I know she is with me and when I do cry she is at my ankles making her funny yodeling noises telling me I am okay.
I miss you Sweet D. And I will love you forever. Thank you for being you, loving me and teaching me so very much.