Today my best friend of 15yrs died.
He was the sweetest, funniest, silliest, (hungriest) little guy you’d ever meet. He had 4 legs instead of 2 but that didn’t make him less special, it seemed to only make him more.
Maybe it’s weird to call a dog your friend. But if you defined what one is, he would fit it better than any person I know. He never cared when I woke him up getting out of bed 6 times a night to take medicine. When I returned home twice a week during a brutal treatment program, he knew this wasn’t like other outings & he never left my side. He would snuggle next to me, looking up at me with this goofy smile that either said: “Hang in there, I love you” or “I’m hungry, can I have more food?” Either way it always made me laugh.
He took advantage of the situation here & there too! He wasn’t a fuzzy saint. He came across an Easter basket one year & ate the ears off every marshmallow peep! Like a row of corn, they had all been de-eared! I would try to scold him but he would cock his head all the way to the side & I would fail every dog whisperer rule there is & laugh.
He’s been my baby since the day we got him. He arrived so tiny & scared that when he finally fell asleep in my arms, I held him for 4hrs straight, afraid to move & wake him. 15 years later, as I held him while they injected the euthanizing medicine into his leg, I was struck by 2 things:
How much you can love a dog
You hear people talk about pets like they are human & let’s face it, they can sound a little nuts. Yet that’s how much I love Bentley. I know he was “just a dog” but his death seems more painful in a way that is really hard to describe. B was different, but I was different too.
When my Grandma died I couldn’t cry. I was really close to her, loved her so much we talked every day no matter how sick I was & yet I couldn’t seem to shed a tear. Her death was physically tough on me & shot out my adrenals big time. But still, I really thought something was wrong with me. Then one day, while talking to my best friend (another patient), we stumbled into one of those random conversations that lead you to say something neither of us had said before. We discovered we both felt incredibly guilty for an almost numbness to the things that happen to people. (Maybe it’s just more than we can bare). But for the first time in years, I didn’t feel quite as messed up.
Before B came along I was already really sick, had already lost most of my friends & wasn’t sure I’d ever get to have kids. Enter this cute, fuzzy soul that is just always there for you at your best or worst and is it any wonder we connect to pets on a different level?
I was amazed Bentley was allowed to die so peacefully
As I held him (me battling bad pleurisy, he battling pneumonia) we sat there: both struggling for breath, both feverish, both looking so sick. They injected the medicine in his leg & he became unconscious so fast it took my breath away. 20 seconds later, he was peacefully gone. It’s incredulous to me we don’t give people who are terminal & will die in horrible pain & suffering, that same respect. My dog got to have a better, more peaceful loving death than I will probably get to have. What does that say about us?
I’ve struggled with opening up about my real life & how to talk about it, but when B died it struck me that it’s always those moments when other patients go out on a limb & say things that are tough to admit that help me the most. So here’s me going out on a limb, honoring my fuzzy best friend for 15yrs & officially forgiving him for be-heading my marshmallow peeps.