My dog is dead.
OK, so that's a pretty heavy way to start this off, but it is nonetheless true. Sgt Pepper, my Little Man, has shuffled off this mortal coil.
He's been gone for 12 days now, but it hurts like it just happened yesterday. All those cliches, all those sad, sappy statements... they're all true. Our home feels too quiet and empty. My heart feels like it has a hole in it. I'd give just about anything to hold him one more time, to watch him run down the driveway, or even have him bark incessantly at me for no apparent reason. It was too soon. I need more time. I want him back.
And you know, if you read those statements, they all sound incredibly selfish. Our home. My heart. I need. I want. It seems that it's my pain I'm worried about, when maybe I should be focused on the fact that he's at peace now. No more heart murmur or heart disease. No more thyroid problems. No more arthritis. No more coughing. No more pain. No more medications. By Rainbow Bridge standards, he's young again, full of life (and hair!) and able to breathe. He's free.
As rational as that sounds, and as much as I'd love to say it makes me feel better, I just don't see it that way. Not now. Not yet. Maybe someday? I hope.
For now, I miss him. Even the stupid stuff. I miss hearing him bark bright and early in the morning (or sometimes in the middle of the night) for no reason, or because he was hungry and just couldn't (or wouldn't) wait. I miss playing "Poops or No Poops?" - when we woke up in the morning and headed into the kitchen, we always wondered... would there be a bunch of crap (literally) to pick up or would he have made it through the night? More often than not the answer was poops. But every once in awhile it would be a no poops kind of morning, a pleasant surprise indeed. I miss his excessive prancing at meal times, which sometimes reached the point of recklessness as he crashed into water dishes or trash cans.
Even the things I don't miss - like having to lock the trashcan in the bathroom overnight so he didn't get into it or making sure anything leather was out of reach, lest we lose another shoe or baseball mitt - I would put up with again just to have him around. He wasn't a terribly people-oriented dog. He wasn't cuddly (with us, anyway), he never gave kisses, and he mostly just didn't care if you were around or not. But we had some kind of connection. He would follow me around. He would sleep in my arms in the car. He'd let me hold him in the big bed sometimes.
He let me love him. More than anything, I'm grateful for that.
So here's hoping they have good internet at The Bridge and that you're reading this, Little Man. Because I need you to know that you were so, so loved, and I need to thank you for letting that happen. You let us love you as much as we possibly could, and you let us give you a whole year of being spoiled and doted on. You gave us so much, and I hope you appreciate what we were able to give you as well.
I love you, Little Man. Always.