personal effects.

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Henry’s collection of bandanas. He got one every time he had to make a trip to the emergency vet. There are three of them in that picture, but I think there was at least one more I did not keep for some reason. As you can see, he was a little mischief magnet.

I am still heartbroken. I have barely eaten since Sunday and have had no desire to eat. (Henry would think this foolishness.) Things have gotten a tiny bit easier, and sorting through his things and looking at his pictures has helped a little. I won’t truly start to get back to real life until his ashes come home and I have some sort of closure.

I don’t want to keep depressing people with posts about my dog, but writing about him and sharing it has helped me to process the whole thing. When it happened, it was just too fast and traumatic to let me feel anything but numbness for a while. Still, everything in the house reminds me of the fact that he’s no longer there, and it will take time before it doesn’t feel like a fresh wound anymore.

Dogs. To think we opened our home and our hearts to these creatures that can wound us so very much when they take their leave. People have suggested we go and get another dog once we feel the time is right, but we have other dogs. Just having another dog is not the point, and never was. Henry was that once-in-a-lifetime dog for me, the one you bond with above and beyond all the others, the one that has your heart in a way the other dogs don’t quite manage. Before Henry, you could have asked me “Has there been a special dog in your life?”, and I would have answered, “What are you talking about? They have all been special.”

Now I can say, “Yes, and his name was Henry, and there will never be another one like him.”

And I don’t want to try and look for the thing we had in another dog. It happened on its own, not because I sought it out, and trying to duplicate it would be a disservice to him and diminish our bond, and it wouldn’t be fair to the new dog because this is a pair of shoes no other dog can ever hope to fill. (Or tear to shreds, as the case may be.)

No, I think I’ll leave it be, and rest in the knowledge that I had my time with him, and that I was lucky to have had it.

9 thoughts on “personal effects.

  1. So I visited my Uncle abroad who has a German Shepherd. She got injured when the gate fell on her and I spent the whole night up with her until the vets opened in the morning.

    I still have my old dogs collar locked up in the safe.

    I don’t mind reading about dogs.

  2. Marko, don’t ever apologize for sharing about Henry. His death is a shock; you loved him dearly and you have a right to mourn in any way you chose, for as long as it takes. How blessed you were to have that special bond with him, even though the time was much too short. Write, talk, share pictures, maybe create a character in your next book that has Henry’s personality – whatever it takes to grieve.

  3. I have had 2 special dogs in my life. I’ll always miss them. They have both been dead for many years, but reading about Henry makes me miss them as much today as I did when they died. Talking about it over and over is a perfectly human way of dealing with tragic loss, perhaps and understanding of this will appear in your fiction some day.

  4. Man, I am so sorry about Henry – I followed your posts, as I tend to, and saw everything – and didn’t know what to say. I didn’t really know him, but I know exactly how screwed up I was when my most special dog passed, Mitzi. She was something else.

    I hope I can tell you that this too, will pass, but not the memory of the best dog in your life. I hope the process of writing it out is a help to you.

  5. Folks just want to say something comforting when they suggest a new dog. Maybe you willl find one that has a similar personality. Maybe one of your others will step in and be your best bud. The whole geometry of a house changes when a cat or dog dies.

  6. My childhood dog was that special one for me. Despite a large, chaotic house full of family, he was firmly mine, and I absolutely get that the trauma of sudden loss is startlingly intense.
    A new dog, and the newness of a good ‘un IS absolutely warming when you’re still grieving over the last one, but it does seem like all things in their time. There’s a reason we evolved together in a symbiosis completely unique in nature, and what would we be if it didn’t affect us like this?

  7. Marko, don’t apologize. When you give a piece of your heart to another living thing, this is the inevitable result. I’ve went through it, and I’ve done it again, and again. On balance, I’d say the years of love are worth the months (or years) of grieving.

    A lot of folks would tell you that “It’s just an animal.” I think those people are missing something deep down inside. They can’t form that bond with a pet that you or I can, and I suspect they can’t do it with another person, either. View your current pain as proof that you are fully human, and while it never goes completely away, you will eventually learn to think of Henry without the knife twisting, then without the knife being present at all.

    And I wouldn’t be so sure that there will never be another dog that is special to you in the way that Henry was. Never is a very long time, and life is full of mischief.

  8. No apologies. Every dog lover knows your pain. Every one who has ever had a friend or loved one pass knows your pain.

    I lost that “special” dog 22 years ago. I’m still not ready for another.