We made a pact. He promised to tell me when it was time, and I promised not to make him stay any longer than that. Well, its time.
He has stopped eating. Well, he’s stopped eating what he’s supposed to eat, anyway. He still shows great interest in what I’m eating. He hasn’t played in about two weeks. He’s losing control of his bodily functions. I’m not really sure if that’s true, but he has to strain so much to get to a standing position, I think he just can’t help himself.
Promises weren’t made to be broken. I know that, logically. They’re not always easy to keep, though, either. We’ve already made the appointment, but I know I can’t be a part of it. In my head I know it’s the right thing to do. It’s just that my heart can’t seem to get in line with that thinking.
You see, he’s my best friend. That sounds like a cliché, because it is. He saved my life. That’s probably a platitude that’s been a bit overused as well. When I lost a job I held for thirteen years, he was there to console me. For the ten months I was unemployed, we did everything together. Almost everything. (He did visit me when I was in the bathroom, and he did try to climb in the shower with me, so when I say almost everything, I mean it).
When I was weepy, he snuggled and lapped away the tears. When I was somber, he would drop a toy at my feet. When I was introspective, he would curl up and sleep on the floor next to me, as if he knew I just needed to be alone with my thoughts.
I could tell him anything. I could trust him with my deepest secrets. I could be catty and venomous about people and situations, and he would never tell. I could tell him my hopes and my dreams and he would never discourage me or dampen my spirit with reality. He never changed the channel.
When I finally got a job, he was the only one that came running, happy to see me, when I got home after a long day at work. He had his place on the couch, but he would get up, tail wagging, to come greet me.
He had more respect for me than my own kids did. He learned to put his toys away when he was finished playing with them. People balk when I say that, but it’s true. Before he lost his hearing, I could tell him which toy to get, and he would put whatever he was playing with away, in his toy box, and go rooting through it to pull out just the toy I had asked him to get. My kids never put their toys away unless I threatened to give them to less fortunate children. That sounded remarkably like my mother.
The one thing I won’t miss is the hair. Oh, the hair. I can sweep the entire house and within an hour, hairballs are scheming to form under the dining room table or the piano. They line up along the hallway even while I’m in the midst of sweeping, and just when I put the broom away, they scurry out plant themselves in noticeable places, making it look I did nothing at all.
And so it is time. He is the third rescue dog our family has loved. Part of me wants the freedom from the responsibility of taking care of an animal. That’s mostly my eyelids at 5:30 in the morning when he wants to go for a walk. The biggest part of me, my heart, will likely find myself at a shelter or the Humane Society within a month. But, if you made it to read this far, you will know, there will never be another Goyo.