Coming to terms with a silent, dog-less house | Arts & Culture

Title (Max 100 Characters)

Coming to terms with a silent, dog-less house

It’s a quiet house. An empty house. You don’t hear the rat-a-tat-tat of toenails on the hardwood floors. Or feel hot breath on your kneecaps at dinner.

There’s no need for spastic, acrobatic leaps when you turn around at the fridge, realizing an instant too late there’s a dog sitting at your feet. She would scramble out of the way when she saw I was about to topple on her.

Gone are the wet, soggy kisses dished out by a tongue that knew no boundaries. Gone are those eyes — those inviting, intoxicating eyes. Gone is that warm body that was always pressed next to you.

It’s tough adjusting to an empty house.

Tough to come to terms with her being gone — that we had to put my dog, Chase, to sleep just over two weeks ago.

She had to be about 14 or so, and the last 8 months of her life were spent battling an aggressive form of cancer. It was taking her down one peg at a time. But you wouldn’t have known it. Not even after losing six of her 31 pounds. Not even with the growing tumor on her backside. And barely even after injuring a front paw thanks to calcium-depleted bones.

She hobbled, but would still tear off after a cat. Never knew what was good for her. Never cared. Cancer couldn’t break her.

Chase was the kind of dog who lived it up right to the very end. Like a little kid on the playground. Always up for one more trip down the slide.

What a fighter, that dog. She would have kept on had we let her. But doped up on pain meds and other pills? The end was going to be ugly, Chase. And we always said we would know the right time — that we wouldn’t let you suffer. Who wants to put a dog out of her misery?

But it’s hard to say goodbye to someone who has been such a part of your life for the last 12 years. Had seamlessly weaved her way into your family.

We found her at the Humane Society. She caught my wife’s eye immediately. I thought she looked like an old maid — floppy hound dog ears draped over the sides of her face. Brown, weepy eyes. Sedate and calm amongst all that yapping and barking.

“No, not that one,” I said. “I want a REAL dog.”

We walked on, looking over others.

As we wandered back down the cages, my wife stopped again in front of the little black dog with the white stripe down the ridge of her nose. She had white feet and a white tip on her tail. That tip was the only thing that moved.

I sighed.

“Do you want to take her out?” I asked, unenthused. I could tell the dog with the pitiful face was coming home with us.

She must have, too, because at that same moment — as if 1,000 volts of electricity raced up her rear end — she started leaping into the air. Like popping popcorn.

And she didn’t stop. Not until we got her in the Jeep. There she stood proudly on the center console and licked our faces all the way home.

Funny how quickly a dog will accept you as family. Will believe that you’re the long, lost kin she’s been waiting for. Will forget the past and act like life can’t get any better … well, unless you roll the window down. Then it can get better.

How wonderful to be a dog!

On the final morning, we managed a last walk to Maria Sanchez lake. It was a cool morning, and peaceful. It felt like any other day. Any other walk. And there’s something really wonderful about that. That’s how we knew it was right. As hard as it was. That’s how we wanted you to remember your last day, Chase. One more ride down the slide.

Now it’s quiet in our house. Painfully so. And we’re adjusting to new routines. To life without our dog. A family minus one. Gone are the kisses. The stealing of food. That rat-a-tat-tat of little feet.

Boy, we sure do miss you, Chase.

 

St. Augustine Deals

St. Augustine Businesses