On February 27th, I lost my best friend.
I’ve been meaning to write about this since, and just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I didn’t know where to begin. I didn’t know where to end. I still don’t, but … well, to be honest, I’m in the midst of cleaning and need a break. So what better time than now?
Beavis, as some of you may know, was my one eyed Pekingese. We adopted him about 10 years ago, shortly after he lost his eye. And he proved that what your mama always said was wrong. It IS still fun and games after losing an eye. He loved learning new tricks, playing soccer, entertaining himself (and us) thrashing his toys around, and in general, being a complete and utter jackass. One of his many nicknames was “Little Doggie Dickhead.” He loved mud puddles, and hated baths. Turned into a piranha if you tried to groom him. Didn’t come when he was called, never wanted to come in the house, would try to bite guests, but I adored him.
Last fall, he very suddenly went blind. I woke up in the middle of the night and he was pacing and panting. I thought he had to go potty, and let him outside. He promptly fell down the steps on the back porch. That’s when I realized something was wrong. He had a displaced lens (I never even knew that could happen) and glaucoma. That still didn’t stop him, though. It barely slowed him down. He still enjoyed going for walks, playing soccer, doing tricks, and running… but only running when he was on a leash. It warmed my heart that he trusted me – like his mommy was holding his hand – to run when we were together. Not that “trusting me” to keep him from harm actually made him want to actually listen to me. He still had very strong ideas about where he wanted to go.
“No, Beavis. We can’t go that way. There’s a fence.”
“I don’t see it, Mommy. I think you’re wrong.”
“Dude. You’re blind.”
All was good, more or less, until mid February, when he had his first seizure. We came home to find he’d thrown up and piddled in the house and was lying on the floor crying. A few seconds later, he was fine. I hoped it was just a fluke, and he was fine for the next week or so. Then it happened again, and we scheduled an appointment. His bloodwork wasn’t all that bad. A little bit anemic, a little bit of a low thyroid, a little bit of liver problems. Nothing horrible for a 12 year old dog. Nothing that should have caused seizures. The vet prescribed some meds and told us to just keep an eye on him (“Not funny, doc!” said the one-eyed dog.) and give a call if he kept having seizures.
He was good for a few more days, then after his nighttime walk, he started acting sluggish. I didn’t think much of it, thought it was just the start of another seizure event. But it didn’t happen. He just got mopier and mopier. When I noticed his tongue was nearly white, we took him to the emergency vet and they found he had major internal bleeding, likely from an undiagnosed tumor that had ruptured. He was too sick to even try to save, so we made the gut-wrenching choice to have him euthanized.
As horrible as it was, I’m relieved that it was sudden. He didn’t suffer or slowly dwindle. His last day, he enjoyed a couple of walks, ate like a champ, played with toys, jumped through a hoop (yep, even blind!), and had a very good day. It was still fun and games right up to the very end. I know we gave him almost 10 happy years, and he had a few bad hours. That’s pretty good.
For me, on the other hand… I was a frickin’ wreck. I ate ton of chocolate. I cried at the drop of a hat. I got choked up when I heard the mail being delivered, without hearing him barking. Music… music tore me to bits. “I walk along the city streets you used to walk along with me…” Choked up. “You’re a bad dog baby, but I still want you around…” Tears spilling over. “Everyone I know, goes away in the end.” Blubbering like a goddamn baby. (I listened to some of these songs while writing this, and still got weepy. I am NOT going to listen to “Hurt.” Nope. Nope. Nope.)
It hit me way harder than I every thought it would. Way more than losing any of my cats, and I consider myself more of a cat person than a dog person. In part, I think because every time I lost a cat, I had others. Spare cats. Backup cats. And as much as I adore my kitties, one cat isn’t that much different than another. Beavis was … very different. Since he went blind, especially, he was so completely dependent on me. I couldn’t just let him outside to do his business, I had to go with him. I had to give him his meds several times a day. I had to keep him out of trouble, and keep him entertained. It was like having a baby… or at least a brand new puppy.
Then to make matters worse, he died the day after the 6th anniversary of losing Dad. So it opened up wounds that, while not exactly healed because they never fully heal, but were at least not quite as fresh and tender. It was not just the grief of losing Beav, but reminder of everyone I’d already lost, and everyone I still had to lose. Bleak. Totally bleak.
But… it gets easier. Sure, I ate a shitload of chocolate, and maybe didn’t exercise as much as I normally would, but honestly… who gives a shit? Getting through a depressive event is hard enough. I’m certainly not going to give myself additional stress by worrying about whether or not I gain a few pounds. I feel bad about Beavis, but I should. I loved the little shit. Feeling sad is exactly how I’m supposed to feel.
I’m beginning to come out of the haze now, and while I still get emotional thinking about him, I’m starting to think about getting another dog. Not right away. Maybe over the summer. There’ll never be another Beavis, but I’m sure any dog I get is going to be just as awesome.