Amazingly enough, I have the equivalent of a day off- no night shift, no school, no day shift. I don't go back to work until 5pm tomorrow. So I went and grabbed some groceries, and started baking. One breakfast tart, two pans of brownies and a batch of cookies (plus dinner) later, I'm wiped out. I got the boys bathed and bedded down, packed up the supplies and tidied up the kitchen and sat down with my cup of decaf tea to enjoy the peace and quiet of a house devoid of adult males.
Jasmine, the big red hound, let me know that the neighbors had company. I went out and fed her some roast beast, and spent a few minutes scratching her adoring face. I can feel the swollen, hard lumps of the lymphoma that spells the end of her life in just a short week, when the pain meds from the vet run out and we make her final appointment with the vet. I'm not a dog person, but I will miss my girl. She's unfailingly loving, impossibly loyal, and has been security and protection for my boys for years. She's eaten concrete blocks and chewed through chains and wooden railings, and until a week ago, she had never had so much as a cold. In another week, one more piece of my little world will be gone. We're loving and spoiiling her rotten these last few days, knowing that letting her go now is so much kinder than letting her suffer through months of slow dying.
Nine months ago today, another little piece of my world vanished out from under me. I can always calculate that loss down to the day- unlike Jasmine, there's no peace to be made there. Three days after Christmas, my horse disappeared from my life. I lost a huge chunk of my heart and soul, and a huge chunk of my family, all in one go. Some things just cut too deeply to ever heal. For me, this is one of them.
We're a family that just has animals- lizards in the bedroom, a dog in the yard, usually a cat or two prowling around (whether they are ours or not). The squirrels know we're a soft touch, and this afternoon a chipmunk from under the holly bush came and sat on my sock. We love them in a practical way, for the most part, and understand that animals are pets, and won't be there forever. But every once in a while, one of them gets so deep under our skins that we can't imagine life without them.
Our home won't be the same without our sweet red pound puppy. It won't be as safe, or as secure, without her hell-hound alarms and constant begging for attention. My life will never be the same without my spoiled little Arab. Things will move along as they always do, but there will always be a little clock in the back of my mind- counting off the days, weeks, months and years.
With Jasmine, I have the closure of knowing that she will be beyond pain, waiting in whatever afterlife dogs have, chasing rabbits and rolling in the sunny grass. With Luke- I'll never know what happened. Wherever you are, my boy- I miss you. I'd give anything to have you home.