This past week, I was again, reminded of how fragile my 12-year-old pooch is. While on vacation, we put Bowser in boarding at the vets. While we were gone, he threw a fit and destroyed his kennel. I really wonder if he even knows that I am coming back for him. It bothers me to think about that but really, do we honestly know what a dog thinks? After we got home, Bowser was completely exhausted and had spent the past 3 days just lying around. On Tuesday morning when I left for work, I went to give him a kiss “goodbye” and walked in to the living room and found him laying on the couch on a pile of pillows and a blanket with his head resting on the arm of the couch. I bent over to gently kiss the bridge of his nose and he never woke up. I walked out of the house thinking of my cuddle bug laying there on the couch and I longed to be beside him, choking on the 30 pounds of hair that he has flying around at any given time.
Yesterday, Bowser was asleep on the couch when I went to leave. Again, I leaned in to kiss him, I whispered words of love and then I left. When I got home that evening, Bowser was still quiet. To see if he would perk up, I drug out one of his fancy carrot cake dog bones and I handed it to him. He carried it away, waited until he thought I wasn’t looking and then he laid it down and covered it up with his foot. Now if you know Bowser, you know that he doesn’t miss any meals and that food is his tasty, tasty friend. He’s at least 30 pounds overweight and totally abused with food. When Bowser turned down a treat, I got worried. I reached in to the candy jar and dug out a vanilla Tootsie Roll and handed it to him. Again, he took the treat, looked at me and then tried to hide the candy. I got really worried and he must have sensed it because then he looked back up at me and he started to try to eat the Tootsie Roll. Immediately, I could see that he was struggling and was in obvious pain. I lifted his gums and opened his mouth and found that while he was gone in boarding, he broke one of his canines in half. To think of the pain he was in, well it just about killed me. Later that night, Bowser was laying on the floor with his mouth in between is paws, like he was putting pressure on his mouth because it hurt.
Times like this, I think of how more and more things with Bowser are difficult. He walks slower, his periods of play are shorter and his naps, longer. As much as I don’t want to come to terms with it, I know that we don’t have much time left. To think of my life without him in it is nearly impossible. As I write this, tears are filling my eyes and beginning to spill onto my cheeks at the thought that we only have a few years left, if we are fortunate. He’s 12 now and has lived a long and hopefully full and happy life. While I am not ready to give him up, I will know that he has experienced it all. He’s lived in different states, he’s raised my 3 kids, helped me through a divorce and nursed me through 3 miscarriages. Bowser knows more secrets about me than even I know. He is and always has been, my best friend. He survived a horrific car accident with me, lived through jumping through a closed window and has known what it’s like to be drugged for sanity purposes. Bowser has protected and watched over my home and my family but of all of the things that he has done, the one thing that stands out the most is that he has always been there for me. He’s always sensed just when I needed him and he has always been there to lend a paw to wipe a tear or he’s known when to make me laugh by scooting his ass across the carpet (we lovingly refer to this as him riding his scooter). He is better than any person I have ever known and has brought me as much joy as my children have.
I’m not quite sure how I will deal with this… the ending of such a great story of love, admiration, devotion and friendship. I know that we still have pages left to write but knowing I am nearing the final chapter leaves me lonely inside. I wish dogs could live forever. It’s too bad that they are so damn perfect that God has to call them home early.