What a difficult month its been. It started out wonderfully by having my parents and nieces visiting me. Six jam packed days of the beach, horseback riding, aquariums, Disneyland and a grand finale of the Cheetah Girls: One World movie premiere in Hollywood. It was a lot of fun. By the end, I was exhausted from all the running around and then dealing with my elderly dog Peanut who could no longer stand. One of the nights I had maybe gotten 1-2 hours of sleep and there I sat the next morning, on the kitchen floor in tears because he could no longer stand to do "dog business". It was sad and I was overwhelmed by the feeling of helplessness. I loved him so much and I couldn't help him anymore than I already was. Its a horrible feeling.
After the family left, I proceeded to get a cold, that sounded like bronchitis, but never is. Lucky me I guess. I took 2 days off from work and laid on the couch. When I went back to work the next week, that Tuesday, weeks of wondering about if it was time to put Peanut down came to a head. I was looking online and tried to call my vet to discuss it. Eventually, I came to the realization that it was time. Its the hardest decision I have ever had to make.
Peanut was still a hearty eater and very alert, but his body had given up on him. His little legs withered beneath him and could no longer support the frail body that remained. It broke my heart to make the decision, but I also needed to do it for me because I hadn't slept in months and was starting to lose my mind. No wonder sleep deprivation is a torture technique, it works. You start to feel like reality is a lie and everything looks weird and seems out of place. Its horrific to live through. I was willing to put up with it for a bit because I loved Peanut that much and then I realized that prolonging the decision was just going to chip away at me even more. Plus Peanut had dissolved to a point of frustration and was just barking at me all the time. Poor little thing. My biggest regret was just not holding him more in the end. He was such a sweet dog.
Wednesday August 20, 2008 I released Peanut from his broken body and at the same time, broke mine. When I asked the vet if he was gone, and he said yes, I crumbled over onto the exam table because my back went out. It was as if all of Peanuts pain transfered into my body and it broke me. I have never felt so weak and disabled. I didn't know what to do and I just wanted to hold and kiss Peanut forever.
I loved his ears and how they were soft when I got him and now they were crunchy and bumpy from the skin issues. But I loved them because when he slept they would fold down on his head like moth wings and I could just run my hands over them down to his back.
I loved his paws. Always stopping to do a mic check on them, "Hello!? Are these things on? Hello!?" Then there was the 'rogue' paw, the front one that had dislocated out of its socket and caused me to put bands on his front paws so they would stay together and he could walk. I had to reprimand it one more time and tell it it was a 'bad paw'. I loved that they smelled like Doriitos or Fritos after he napped and I loved the little fur between his peds that was soft and he'd let me stroke for hours.
I loved his little snout. Barely an inch and a half long. So tiny and so sweet. I marveled at how small he was sometimes. Precious little dog.
I loved his belly. I loved kissing it when it was chubby and even when his little ribs would stick out. It was a feat trying to keep some meat on him. He was blessed with a fast metabolism, but sometimes people thought I didn't feed him. Oh please. This dog would eat anything that wasn't nailed down! I love telling the story of the burrito....it was more like a wrap, but he ate the WHOLE thing. I left him alone with it and when I came back, only a little piece of tortilla and some lettuce were left. Crazy little monkey.
My favorite spot by far, was his cheek. It was a little space between his eye and his ear, where the bone had a natural bump under it and it was perfect for planting a kiss. He was so funny about this too because he would always act like he didn't care and would just stare off into space, but you knew that secretly, he was soaking up the love. This was my favorite thing to do to him and I could just kiss his little head all day long.
I also loved napping with him on the couch. He'd snuggle into the crook of my arm or armpit. Sometimes he would just sleep on my chest or I would lay on my side and he'd rest his head on my arm. He was such a little napper since he was an old man and I remember many a weekend day where we would watch tv and just snooze. Of course he was really happy if that nap took place with the sun on us. He was just like his momma in loving the sunshine.
What do you do? Where do you live your life when this little creature, who was like a child, is gone from it? How do you find your footing again when you have such an emptiness? Its a hole thats bigger than you, bigger than your soul and bigger than the universe. Its like it takes so much away from you that you almost don't exist. Its a horrible, exhausting, painful void that nothing can fill. Nothing.
Its frustrating because you want to feel better, but there is nothing to be done to achieve that. No food, beverage, place, person, event, creature or thing to patch the pain. And so here I sit, today, surrounded by the emptiness, the sorrow and the memory of a little dog that brought me so much joy and touched the hearts of everyone he met.
He was a gift and I was the lucky one that received him.