Lost Another Friend

I’ve been putting this piece off for a while now because my emotions seem to have been obstructing my clear thought whenever I started penning something about one of the pack who had his life here cut short prematurely.

Over and over I have to tell myself that Chucky was just a dog and that it is very irrational or even unacceptable for any human to have such grief over a canine. But, you see, I was part of a pack of four dogs and I feel the emptiness only one omission leaves in the group. I am by no means a whisperer of sorts or even a guru when it comes to socialising with these critters but I do have half a soft spot for dogs. Possibly it is the way that most dogs are just open to human contact and advance without preserve that wins their favour in my eyes. I have no aversion at all to cats but their aloofness and seeming independence from us just freaks me a bit when I need a touch of comfort.

“So, we could go ahead and submit more painkillers and medication to try and get the boy’s kidneys to co-operate again but the amount of protein he emits in his urine is too much”. I asked the vet what he would do, if this dog was his own and he advised the option I didn’t want to hear – but expected.

I went to the ICU and found Chucky wagging his tail upon the sound of my voice and said my goodbyes; said goodbye to the Vet, said goodbye to the student and walked briskly out of there. When I reached my car I calmly looked around if the best option was still to go left to exit the Onderstepoort grounds, greeted a vet with horse in tow, got in, locked the doors and let go…

I am over half a century on this planet and probably also enjoy a bit of a revered position (even if it is only pushed by the half pack of canine critters I left at home) but on this day, at this hour, I let go like I was a little boy again.
I hit the steering wheel with my fists while trying to remember when last I had my own tears dropping in my lap and swore at the universe for letting me go through this again. I felt empty and enraged because I let one of us slip, I felt I should have picked it up earlier, I should have taken the boy to the vet two weeks ago. The silent, kind one is on his way out and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.

Probably due to the smoking cessation thing I woke at an ungodly hour and wondered if maybe we all turned to religion two thousand years ago to ensure that we feel easy with death, to give us a reassurance that everything is okay because we WILL meet all our family, friends and pets again in heaven. Tonight, feeling this dark hole, I can understand our need…

I look outside at three in the morning when I hear a rustle of leaves and see Chucky’s sister sometimes sits staring into the wind and I know – I know she longs for her brother sleeping next to her and running with her when there is commotion in the street.

We run together still – us survivors - and go for long walks while chasing cats and doves but for a long time we will miss the left flank. We will have an empty space where we depended on one of the pack to cover the gap. As I return from work and still miss those big auburn eyes gazing at mine – so his sister will look around to see if brother is really not going to appear from behind the bushes to join her in joy.

I learned true integrity from you, Chucky.
Really miss you.

Wehr Wulf 2014-08-04 01:37:45 PM
Theres a reason they're called man's best friend. They do creep into your heart, our canine buddies. My sympathies.
Fanny Mc Pee 2014-08-04 01:46:48 PM
Ramm, Kippling said it best: "When the fourteen years which Nature permits Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits, And the vet's unspoken prescription runs To lethal chambers or loaded guns, Then you will find--it's your own affair-- But ... you've given your heart to a dog to tear. When the body that lived at your single will, With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!) When the spirit that answered your every mood Is gone--wherever it goes--for good, You will discover how much you care, And will give your heart to a dog to tear." Sincere sympathy.
Nobby Poltice 2014-08-04 02:10:24 PM
I have had many canine friends in my long life and cherish the memory of them all. As I write by faithful 15 year old spaniel is sprawled asleep on the carpet. Every morning I have taken him for a 4 km walk (weather permitting and I am at home) but lately he has displayed signs of being tired. He is deaf and his eyesight is failing but he still waits expectantly in the morning for his lamp post anointing walk in the still of the early hours. It is inevitable I will grieve in the not to distant future and have to go through the same trauma and distress you have experienced. I feel for you.
pieterpompies 2014-08-04 02:19:01 PM
Their love and devotion are unconditional, Ramm. R.I.P. Chucky...
Neville Watson 2014-08-04 02:22:09 PM
Sorry for your loss. Your pack will go on.
Deeked De Dose 2014-08-04 02:24:20 PM
My Condolences Ramm... Done it myself a few times, and it doesn't get any easier....
still faithless 2014-08-04 02:31:39 PM
The last time I was at Onderstepoort I cried so hard I had to wait before I could leave. Not happy memories... I console myself with the memories they gave me, and try and forget that dreadful night.
Jaco Nel 2014-08-04 02:32:00 PM
That is why I won’t get another. Can’t bear to go thru that again. My sincere sympathies.
Margaret Cox 2014-08-04 02:59:14 PM
Okay - I'm a cat-person, and went through the same thing last week at the vet. I've last 4 cats(all strays who popped in and stayed) in the last 3 years. Last week was the youngest, he was only about 4. Cancer and feline aids, tumours and leukaemia. I also sat in the car and sobbed. When an animal is beyond saving it is us who have to make the decision. There will always be pain, but it must be ours, not theirs. I still look round for him when the floor creaks.
Colleen 2014-08-04 03:25:50 PM
Oh Rammsteen, I know your pain. I lost my best ever dog friend 5 years ago in a very similar way and to this day I cannot think too deeply about her without tears wanting to well up. There are very few times in life that we connect so deeply to another living person or creature, but when we do it is imprinted forever in your heart and in your mind and nothing can diminish it.