Thursday, March 27, 2008

Achieving a sense of normalcy

It's been a rough adjustment from a four-member family to a three-member family, but it's getting a little easier. I think a big part of it is my extremely poor memory. It's pathetic, I know, but when change happens, the memories of "what was" evaporate rapidly.

Another part, I am sure, is the fact that I am frankly avoiding pretty much everything having to do with Felanie, my websites, dogs, pit bulls, etc. I work, I come home, I do housework, I watch TV, and I play computer games. I just don't want to think about stuff—I don't want to poke at this funny hole in my heart.

But I know that I need to get back in the saddle. I still have blank webpages waiting for material, and updates I need to make, and so forth. I really need to get my act together.

Dozer is doing better than we ever thought he would. He's still a pathetic whiny baby, but he has grown up a bit—he no longer follows me everywhere, and he behaves himself while home alone. He hasn't torn anything up, or gotten on the furniture, or knocked over the trash, or any of a whole host of things that he could do if he really felt like it. He's obviously lonely, but he's also coping very well—and we are making sure to play a solid game of fetch with him every day, so he gets enough exercise.

I want to say a heartfelt and public "thank you" to everyone who has been so supportive during this rather difficult time for me. It meant, and means, more to me than I can properly express. Thank you.

And now, on to the future, and happier times!

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Letter to Dog Heaven

Dear Felanie,

It's been two weeks since you left us, but the emptiness lingers. The first few days after your death weren't too difficult because I stayed out of the house, kept busy, and tried not to think. It just felt like you were away on a short vacation.

But after two weeks, I can't deny the reality anymore. I feel your absence when I lie awake at night.

The other day I vacuumed the kitchen and I actually sucked up pieces of food. Dog food, crumbs, some broken pasta, and even brownie crumbles—you would not have let those things sit for half a second, much less a week. We used to call you a "vulture," laughingly, as you scavenged the kitchen floor—but I never realized how true it was. I never realized how messy we are, or how clean you were.

Dozer is the same, but not the same. He whines a lot more and eats a lot less. He plays fetch, but not for very long, and without the enthusiasm he used to have. He loved you. He relied on you to set the agenda, and now he doesn't know what to do with himself. I don't know how to explain to him that you're never coming back.

The weather's turned warm again. At this time of year, you always used to love lying in the backyard in the sun like a big red cat. The wisteria is about to bloom, and the grass is turning soft and green. Remember when we used to sit together in the yard, and I would pick grass for you to lip out of my palm, like a horse? Or when I would tickle your nose with a seed stalk, and you would pretend to sneeze? You always humored me.

I'm sorry. I know you were feeling bad, and I know it was your time to go. But I still want to apologize to you. I feel like I was not honest with you, like I lied to you. How do you tell a dog that you are trying to do what's best? I couldn't tell you you had cancer. I couldn't tell you that we had scheduled your death. I couldn't tell you to savor your last day, your last bite of cheese, your last hug. You didn't know—you thought it was just another day, even though it wasn't. The look in your eyes—the surprise, the hurt, the confusion—when the vet put the needle in your leg... I will never forget that look. Please forgive me for lying to you. I didn't know how to explain it.

I'm sure you're in a better place: healthy, happy, and pain-free. I hope I will get to see you again someday. I'm going to continue sharing your teachings with others, so your spirit will live on forever. It's the least I can do to honor the memory of a dog that taught me so much. I miss you, Fel.

Love, your mommy