Yesterday I was at the library, I am the parent volunteer for my third graders Battle of the Books group at school. 3 eight year old girls and my 4 year old to boot. My phone rang. The number looked very familiar, one I had called many times before.
"Hi, this is so and so from Willow Creek Pet center"
"Buster's remains are here for you to pick up, anytime during regular business hours"
Deep Breath. Deep Breath. Everything went silent in my head and all I could feel was a memory; the fresh memory of rubbing his soft ear on my chin one last time 3 weeks ago.
"Mom, Mom, Mom"... (yanked back)
....I dropped my girls at home, and went right back out. I was actively holding in tears and blocking out memories of my sweet old boy peeing in the same spot every visit on the concrete pillar of the pet center. Lamaze type breathing to hold it together until I got back in my car and let it out.
"I'm here to pick up my dog's remains" I whispered, for fear of letting myself hear it.
(clear throat) Repeat.
"What is the pets name?"
Whisper, squeaking like a mouse "Buster"
(clear throat) Repeat louder. "Buster"
She returned with a gift bag...a gift bag. I hurried to my car, and cupped my face passing the pillar again....His ashes in a redwood box is heavy, but too light. It's his remains, all that remains are the ashes of my 80lb kindest friend in the world.
***It's not an uncommon pain. They are better than people. Every dog parent has a story, a connection, a void when their companion of typically many years is gone. The footsteps in the hall, the dog hair fading away, they are gone. My short story with my Buster is this. I adopted him when he was roughly 4 months old. I was fairly new to Utah. He had been adopted previously and returned a week later. I had to take him home.-And, that's where he stayed, with me for almost 15 years. He loved to run, we had his ACL repaired when he was 8. He ran more. Then he got cancer, we chose to do chemo. We walked a lot. Then he got worse. And, one day he couldn't walk, eat, or drink. And, then he was gone. And, the pain that comes from the finality of a loved one's absence creeps up on my husband and I sporadically and frequently.
I think the reason that it's just as hard to lose a very well loved pet as it is a human is partly because a well loved pet loves you right back. They are a constant presence of peaceful looks and licks and warmth from their bodies as you curl around them nightly, year after year after year. They have personality's, like people, often better than. My Buster was a gentle giant and I may have adopted him and given him a home, but he gave me so much more- simply
love and happiness.
I miss him so much. I know you miss your bestest friend too. Time helps almost everything, but I don't think I'll ever love a dog as much as I did my Buster. He was as special to me as yours is or was to you. I am trying to remember how much nicer he made everyday, and be thankful he was mine, rather than being so sad that he's not here.
Rest in sweet peace all of our lost friends.