Daily Blog #274
My heart feels like it is slowly being ripped out of my chest. My childhood seems to be vanishing right before my eyes. And no matter how hard I am trying, my mind isn’t able to piece together any thought. But this isn’t meant to be about me and my emotions. This is meant to celebrate the life of another one of my beloved furry friends, Duke.
For the second time in less than two weeks, my family has had to face the gut wrenching decision of putting a four-legged member of our family to sleep. While some may see pets as just “being pets,” to my family and I, every one our pets holds a significant piece to our hearts. We don’t see them only as pets. To us, they are a part of our family. They join us at the dinner table, sleep on our heads, comfort us when the times are tough, celebrate with us when the times are good, and love us when our hearts ache the most. If that doesn’t resemble family, then I don’t know what does.
Oddly enough, I remember the day as if it were yesterday. Just like with our dog Jack, my family ended up getting Duke from a hockey rink when I was just eight years old. Again, I was on the ice during our pregame warmups, and there were my parents up against the glass with this tiny little multi-colored rat terrier. There was just something about him that I instantly loved. He wasn’t like other dogs. Instead, he was so ugly that it was cute. Even to this day I haven’t seen a dog that looks like Duke. His eyes were two different colors, and when he looked at you, you couldn’t help but wonder what might be wrong with him.
But nothing was wrong. In fact, it was quite the exact opposite. This tiny little dog would immediately become the alpha male of the house. He would walk around the house like he owned the place, would let everyone know when he wanted you to pet him by his high pitched whimper, and would let you know when he wanted his space by his deep growl. To be fair to Duke, the low pitched growl rarely ever happened.
No matter what he was feeling, though, if he could tell that I was feeling down, he was there to help lift me up. He would jump up onto my bed, curl up into a little ball, and form his little tiny body perfectly next to mine. Maybe he was just trying to tell me that he wanted me to pet him, but whatever his intent was, he always helped to brighten my mood.
Seventeen years. That’s how long Duke has been there to brighten my day, and that’s how long he has been a member of our family. To put that into context, that’s more than two-thirds of my life. Two-thirds of my life that I will never be able to relive, and two-thirds of my life filled with amazing memories shared with Duke. Then comes the realization that there will be no more memories made with him. I have what I have, and I am left feeling somewhat empty as I search for more.
The last two weeks have been incredibly difficult for my family and I. It’s never easy to lose a part of your family, but to lose two, that just flat out fucking sucks. And while these last two weeks haven’t necessarily been weeks to remember, they have also helped to remind me of how precious life is. They have helped to remind me how blessed we are to wake up each and every day, and how grateful we should be for every moment that we spend here on earth. Because at any given moment, that time could come to an end.
You have been my furry little brother for many, many years. You have seen me at my best, and you have also seen me at my worst. But that didn’t matter to you. You were always there to be my friend when I most needed it, and you were always there to comfort me whenever I felt alone.
As I sit here and and try to reminisce on the friendship we shared, I want to take the time to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for the incredible seventeen years that you gave this family. Thank you for always being there for not only me, but for anyone in your family who felt pain. And thank you for being the alpha dog who kept all of the other little pups in check. You excelled at this and made my life a lot easier.
While it is hard for me to imagine the fact that I will never see you again here on earth, I know that someday we will meet again. Maybe we will even play fetch again, and maybe then you will actually enjoy it. As fate would have it, you were the one who welcomed Jack home, and now it is he who is welcoming you. I know that you two are once again running side-by-side in the fields as heaven like the best friends you always were.
Thank you for an unforgettable seventeen years. Keep watching over us Duke, and know that your family loves you. Rest in paradise, Spooks.
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