WARNING: The following post is extremely raw, personal and sad. I’ve chosen to share it here because this is my space and Roosevelt has always been a very large part of it. This isn’t a mainstream blog and I consider those who come here day after day my friends, not my readers.
“It’s too soon to be digging another hole.”
My dad muttered these words, his voice shaking with sadness as he said them, late on Friday afternoon as he dug into the earth next to Lucy’s resting place in the country house’s backyard.
I will never forget that moment. For as long as I live, I will never forget that moment.
The stray tears he carelessly wiped away as he plunged his shovel into the earth The way I clung to Christian as I sobbed uncontrollably and tried to make sense of it all. It felt like a nightmare. But sadly it wasn’t. For a few hours earlier I had been there when it happened. Had held my sweet puppy, not even three years old, as the vet quickly made his last moments painless and peaceful.
How can I put into words how lost and broken I feel? How can I explain to you how empty this house, my life, the world feels without him?
Roosevelt meant everything to me. And I just can’t believe he is gone.
It all happened so suddenly. He seemed a little under the weather earlier in the week. And then Wednesday night when I returned home late from a work meeting, he barely had the energy to play – it was a struggle. By Thursday night he had stopped eating and drinking and had barely moved. And his breathing was short and ragged, like he couldn’t get enough oxygen.
So we took him the emergency animal hospital. We left the house at 11pm. By 2:30am we had a name for what was going on: autoimmune hemolytic anemia – which basically meant his red blood cells were attacking and killing each other. His immune system was extremely compromised, his liver was overtaxed and his cells weren’t getting enough oxygen.
By 7am he was dramatically worse. His red blood cell count – which should have been around 40, and was 20 when we brought him in – had dipped to 10. He wasn’t responding to the initial treatment. Expensive blood transfusions – which were not guaranteed to help and could possibly complicate his situation further – were suggested as a last ditch effort. We would have to pay up front. The total cost was close to $10,000. We tried to find a way to get the money and meanwhile they tried a few other things. He continued to get worse. The doctors recommended we say goodbye and let him go peacefully. And so we did.
Those last moments that we spent with him, he was so, so sick. I wanted so badly to hold on to him. But I couldn’t. He gave us each one last puppy kiss and went to sleep.
After laying him to rest, we spent the rest of weekend at my parents’ house. They did their best to console us, as did the countless number of friends who called and sent messages. All of the support has meant so much to us. But nothing can quite take the ache away.
He was never just a dog to me. He was a part of me. He was family.
I remember thinking, after one of our many Saturday morning sessions of playing fetch, “What was my life like before Roosevelt?”
I couldn’t remember. And I didn’t want to. Roosevelt brought so much joy, laughter and love to my lifes. I couldn’t imagine living without him.
But now I have to. And everything feels horribly empty and sad now that he is gone. I’m a complete and utter mess. Crying more than I thought was physically possible. Swinging back and forth between crippling sadness and angry despair. It seems so unfair. So horribly, horribly unfair.
I’m always trying to decide what I believe in and where I stand when it comes to spirituality. I don’t fit into one cookie-cutter religion. But I do believe there is more to this life than the time we spend here. And I know with unwavering certainty that when I move on to that place, Roosevelt will be there to greet me.
That I believe…
I won’t be around here much for a little while. I don’t feel like cooking and any runs I go on will be purely therapeutic. But I will be back. Eventually, I will be back. Until then, please give your furry friends an extra big hug and kiss today and remember how lucky you are to have them in your life.