Four Legged Friend

very few people understand or sympathize to the true, deep, explainable grief we feel when losing a pet. we all know the end is inevitable; we knowingly sign up for a 10-12 year lease when we begin our relationship with a four legged companion. a short lease on life, but a worthwhile one nonetheless. still, losing them is one of the hardest things we, as animal lovers, have to go through. with their passing, they carry with them so many years of our own lives, years of memories with them and years of moments that they were there for; to join in celebration with, to console, or to simply listen. the life of a pet can teach us so much about love, loss, gratitude, passion, happiness, and what is truly important in the long run.  it is always so difficult to say goodbye to our furry friends.
I always knew that there would come a time when I would have to let you go. if it were up to me I would have prayed for “not ever” but I would have been willing to settle for “not yet.” I remember the first day you came into my life. you were so tiny. the moment you were handed to me, you captured my heart. and I knew that as soon as your eyes fell on me, you had given me your heart. since then, those eyes looked at me with the kind of love and devotion that only a four legged friend has for their human. but today, those eyes looked at me not only with the same love and devotion, but with a silent goodbye. it broke my heart to see you suffering, but I asked you to stay. I begged you to not leave. it is selfish, but I have always been so scared of losing you.
I remember the first time I took you to the ocean. without fear or hesitation, you plunged into the water. you swam, and ran around happily until you came up next to me as I watched the sunset, your nose bumping my cheek in what I understood as gratitude for a wonderful day.
as I watched you struggle to keep your eyes open, that memory came to me. I told you that you had to get better so we could go back to the ocean – that you could swim the whole day. and afterwards, I’d even give you the roast beef and mashed potatoes that you loved so much.
I always knew that eventually I would have to let you go. that there would come a day when I’d come home and not see you wagging your tail, or that I wouldn’t hear you bark like mad at passing strangers, or see your silly smiles and bunny hops when we go out for walks. but it’s just one of those things that you refuse to believe were inevitable, you know? and to wake up and find you weak, unable to get up, a part of me knew that I would have to let you go. though, I chose to listen to the more stubborn part of me. I still hoped that I wouldn’t lose you.

I remember the first time I thought that I had lost you. you were only home for only a few hours when I couldn’t find you. I searched the entire house, and even went outside, hoping that you had not run away. then found you under the end table, fast asleep.
it was in that moment you took your final breath I was reminded of that day- the instant panic I felt when I couldn’t find you. I entered the door and despite my knowing you were gone, I still hoped that I would find you there waiting.
the day I have been dreading finally arrived. it breaks my heart to know you will no longer greet me. I lost you. but please know I am eternally grateful; I am a better person for having had the opportunity to love and be loved wholeheartedly by you. you taught me an important lesson. every moment is important, and it is crucial that you take every chance you get to live each moment to the fullest.

3 thoughts on “Four Legged Friend”

  1. I’m crying. I have the same feelings and thoughts for my dog.. and because of your heart felt words I went down memory lane with you…. gosh I want to reach out and give you a sincere hug. And I need to tell you that one day, you will meet again as I believe souls that love each other, always do. xoxo

  2. You summed it up beautifully DT. I lost my 2 old fur babies a few months ago. It still hurts. But I smile through the tears at the years of love and devotion we gave each other. I look forward to being with them again in the next life.

  3. What a wonderful reflection!
    Our dog just passed from cancer last week, and we just received his ashes yesterday.
    Tears were flowing freely!
    Thank you for sharing.

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