(Backdate: it was meant to be published on 27th December 2018 but somehow it wasn’t).
It’s been 4 days since you left me. Four days and a lifetime.
It was the hardest and most adult decision I had ever had to make in my life. It is some comfort to know that you are now healthy and pain-free. I like to think of you gamboling around the Lord’s feet.
The past 15 years flew by so quickly. You would have been 16 in March.
Before we first got you, my brothers and I really wanted a dog. I don’t know where we got that desire from– is it a rite of passage for all children to demand a pet from their parents? I remember I wanted one so bad I secretly posted my mother’s mobile number on a forum, pretending to be her looking for a puppy for her children (LOLOL). This, despite the fact that I had somehow developed a fear of dogs since we gave up our first dog due to the raging sinus problems she gave me.
One day we piled into the car and drove to a residential estate. And there you were, in a brown basket with one of your brothers while your breeder (home breeding was still legal then) stood over the both of you. I don’t remember much from that day, where that estate was or how long we spent there.
But I remember squatting down to gaze at the both of you. I remember tentatively stroking your fur. I remember spotting a couple of neighbourhood cats nearby and wondering if you would know to defend yourself against a mean street cat. I remember thinking how innocent you were. I remember shuffling closer to the basket protectively– as if a skinny 11 year old girl could have been an efficient shield against two street cats. I remember sitting in the backseat of our car with you, and your breeder leaning down to wave goodbye and telling you “You so lucky ah, you!”
And we laughed and said, “Eh! That is what we are going to call him!”
I was still a little scared around dogs, having largely avoided them for many years before that. I remember hopping up on a small rectangle of space on my kitchen counter as you raced around exploring your new home. I remember you skidding to a stop below me and looking up at me– how I must have looked like to you, a human curled up on a ledge above you and eyeing you with some wariness. I remember you cocked your head and we maintained eye contact for a few seconds before you raced off again.
I remember my dad locked you on the balcony that first night. I remember my younger brother and I sitting at the sliding doors and watching you as you scratched the door, wanting to come back in.
There were nights when I would sleep right at the edge of my bed, dropping half of my blanket on the floor so you could sleep on it until my mother eventually made me stop.
I loved watching you walk, if you could even call it that! It was more of a canter? I don’t know.. it was hilarious and I loved watching your ears flop up and down.
When we brought London home 3 years later and he became the baby, you never cried or whined for attention. You never acted up– never shat where you weren’t supposed to or chewed our stuff up. The mature older brother, except for the times when London would piss you off.
There was the time I stepped into the pet shop to collect London and you, and was pleasantly surprised to see you and the groomer chasing each other around the store. You were already getting on by then, and it soothed my heart to see you energetic and loved.
There were all the times you made me angry, although for the life of me I cannot recall now.
There were also the times you scared me. The first time I remember is you having some sort of a stroke and just lying there while we called a car. Someone came to knock at the door and the next thing we knew, you got up and ran to the door, right as rain again leaving all of us stunned and bemused.
You were the same that last day.
You were too weak to move, while I cradled you in your towel and suddenly you started moving and looking more awake. There were times throughout the years I thought I was gonna lose you but ended up going home with you still.
But that last day I think I knew deep down that I would be walking out of the clinic with empty arms.
I wonder if you knew at the end and whether you welcomed it. I like to think you did– if only just to console myself.
Your things are still lying untouched around the kitchen. It’s painful to see even two food bowls but it’s way too early to even think of clearing your things. I know that even after I clear them you will still be in my heart. The memories won’t fade but maybe with your things around I can still cheat myself into believing, even for just a second, that you are still here with me.
I was so Lucky to have you.