Thursday, May 26, 2016

An Empty House

Something is missing.

What is a dog anyway? In comparison to our lives, they share but a few years.

We pamper them, exercise them, pet them, sleep with them (yeah, try to keep a dog off your bed unless you shut the door and can tolerate the scratching or you crate them and can tolerate the whining) -- even when you don't allow them up, they only wait for you to fall asleep before joining you on the mattress ...

My dog died Tuesday, May 24, 2016.

The house is empty.

There is no mad face shoving the window slats aside as I come home, barking like a lunatic, until she hears my voice and knows that it is me.

There is no warm body throwing itself upon my lap, demanding attention, as I check Facebook and email on my computer.

There is no gulping from the water dish or crunching of food from the meal dish.

A personality has been subtracted from the atmosphere of my home and I notice the absence. I have an empty house.

No dog to chase a ball, chew on a bone, demanding better of me than I really am and making me rise to her expectations ...

An empty house.

When two beating hearts live in a shared space, they sync with one another. Even when she laid in a back room and ignored me, her life force filled my space. But now, I have an empty house.

An empty house.

When I realized she was dying, I made her comfortable. I allowed her to be outside (dogs separate themselves from their society when they know it's their time), I made sure she had water, I held the dish to her lips so she could drink, I covered her so carrion flies could not begin their awful but necessary work too early, I made her comfortable. She was not in pain, she did not cry out; there was no need to cut short her time upon our planet. I gave her everything she was entitled to.

Now she's gone. The house is empty.

It's not only the time saved on morning walks before I leave for school or the evening walks for exercise when I get home. It's not that I no longer have to check the daily forecast to decide whether she can be in my air-conditioned-less house during the days as the temperatures warm up or should she be outside--what are the chances of storms? It's not the lack of daily ritual to empty the water bowl to fill it with fresh water and to put out food, only enough food, as I need to monitor her weight ...

It's not that the rituals are over. Something else is missing.

When I finished the burial and came back to the house, I realized something sticky was on my shoes. I had to grin as I thought: Got me for the last time. (You know what I mean if you have ever had dogs.) It's not that.

It's that when I come home, when I wake up, whenever I am at home, something is missing. She filled my soul with her presence. But now ...

The house is empty.