Good dog

Dakota and me

He looks like he only has eyes for me, doesn’t he? It’s a total lie. The groomer was off to the side holding up a toy.

Look, I promise this is not going to degenerate into one of those “my dog died and I’m a complete mess as a result” posts—and it kind of disturbs me that it won’t.

Wait. Let’s rewind, shall we?

Specifically, let’s go back to 2007, when both of my cats died within a month of each other. The first, Boris, was unexpected, and I was so caught by surprise I had no idea how to cope. When Natasha died less than a month later, I was just, “What next? Boils? Plague of locusts?”

Because, you know, I’m not prone to overreact.

Dakota had been well into his sunset before this past summer, and by the end of July it was pretty clear that twilight was approaching. (Let’s work this metaphor to death, what do you say?) Still, when I left for Vancouver on August 1 he’d been to the vet and was pretty stable.

By August 5 he was gone.

2550121106_3e7ddbacf6_oNow, everyone who knows me is well aware that I’m pretty much crazy cat lady when it comes to pets. When I got the call that Dakota was heading for his final visit to the vet, I was over a thousand miles away, and he had seemed, not exactly fine when I left, but stable. After getting this news I was, much to my surprise, not a complete and total basket case.

So, in a way, it feels like he’s either not yet left or he’s been gone for ages.

Is this me being in Kübler-Ross’s denial stage? Or have I just skipped on to acceptance? Or is that whole five stages not all it’s cracked up to be?

Distance obviously helps. Also, it’s not like he left all at once. He’d shown signs of slowing down and getting more frail over the past two years. This wasn’t exactly unexpected.

Still, it would have been nice to be there.

But, things like death don’t happen just when it’s convenient for all parties involved. In the end, he was surrounded by people who cared for him. And that’s the best that any of us can hope for at the end, isn’t it?

The other thing about Dakota was that he never took a bad picture. And I think that’s not just me being biased; that’s an empirical, verifiable fact. Don’t believe me? Go take a look at all the pictures I took of him that are over on Flickr. Yep, he was a damn handsome dog.

14 thoughts on “Good dog

  1. I’m sorry for your loss, I’ve been keeping on your posts of him. I think that Dakota didn’t want to put you through the stress. He chose to leave when you were a thousand miles away because he loved you that much.

  2. I am laid out. Completely and utterly. And while I realize that this isn’t about me, it seems that you know my heart well enough to know that while I’ve never met you or Dakota face to face, I have adored you both for many, many years. I’m broken for your loss. Love…so much love from across the miles.

  3. I’m with Pua here … alas, not literally, but, oh, you know what I mean. However, I have indeed had the great fortune of not only knowing you and seeing you quite a few times, but of being with Dakota in the glorious fuzzy flesh, of hugging him and kissing him and lying on the ground with him and smooshing him and adoring him. And taking videos of him chomping on his dinner just because the sound of him eating was so insanely wonderful that it brought me to tears. This is the first I’ve heard of this. And I’m sitting here so sad that I only got to see him once. But then I think, oh, how fortunate I was to know him at all. He was beautiful. He was my boyfriend, even if only for the few days I spent with him that weekend of your 40th birthday celebration. Sending you and Mikey and Anya hugs, sweetie.

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