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.