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To my dog…
My sweet Rusty, I was so lucky to call you my companion for 13 years.
I still remember the day we went to pick you up. I just got into sixth grade and it was a pretty spontaneous decision, we had looked for a dog for about a month, but we saw you that day online, called them and then basically got in the car. It was a 3 hr drive, you were the last one of your litter. You weren’t even that cute as a puppy, but we immediately fell in love with you.
You cried for a few minutes when we got in the car, and then you were quiet, it’s like you knew that you would have the best life with us.
We led you inside, you met my mom, you went into the garden, and started chasing our cat. Luckily, you two became friends quickly.
You were such a whirlwind back then, always running around, and you loved playing with other dogs.
You have always been such a sweet soul. I cannot remember a single person that you did not like. You were always so friendly to everyone.
I know some dogs can be sassy, but you never were. You were the sweetest soul, and everyone loved you. You were so often the life of the party, and we goofed around so much.
You were so cute, with your long hair, your massive eyebrows and your goatee. I always hated it when we got you your summer haircut and you were basically naked, because in winter, you just looked SO DAMN CUTE.
Our cat died, and we got a new one, she was very scared of you at first, but she luckily learnt to trust you. And then in 2016, she had her babies. You were so excited about them, and you were so gentle with them when you first met them.
And in the process, you became my cat Ser’s daddy. We truly believe he thinks you were his daddy, because he loved you so so much. He was always near you, as you went to bed with my mom, he walked you to the door, and then he waited for you in the morning.
As you became older and walking got harder for you, he was always there, helping you up and down the stairs. It was the sweetest thing, and I know he often truly motivated you.
For the past two years, life got so hard for you. We knew our time with you was limited, and there had been days and weeks in the past when we thought it was time for you to go. But you always managed to get better.
You also started to become SO stubborn, and we are pretty sure you had dementia, at least to some degree. You couldn’t hear, except for when you miraculously heard when we opened a pack of sausages in the kitchen.
In the past three weeks, your condition worsened, and day by day, it became clearer to us that you would not make it through the winter, and that you probably would not even make it through October.
You think you can prepare yourself for the day your dog dies. You know that they will be free from their pain, and you think you can accept the fact that he will be gone.
The rational part of your brain knows it, and it helps to soften the pain a little.
We made the decision to put you to sleep, we thought we could maybe give you another week, maybe you would even manage to go all by yourself, but on Friday, we knew we could not wait any longer. We did not want you to suffer any longer, and that way we were all there for you, to accompany you over the rainbow bridge.
Those ten to fifteen minutes, where the vet gave you the injection, were the hardest of my life. Watching you fall asleep, knowing you will never wake up again, petting you throughout the process, and then suddenly, your heart stopped, your breathing stopped.
You lay there so peacefully, as if you were asleep, in your bed. I kept looking at you, waiting for you to breathe, even though I knew you wouldn’t.
We called a pet crematory, and they would arrive one and half hours later.
In the meantime, I picked my cat up and showed him what happened. He sniffed and all of a sudden, he looked shocked, and then turned away. Four hours earlier, the two went for one last stroll in the garden.
The lady from the crematory came and took you. It was the last time I saw you, now all that is left from you is one strand of hair… and thirteen years of memories.
I am so grateful for the time we spent together, you were my best friend for more than half of my life.
The thing that I find most painful about losing a dog is in all the small things that you don’t notice as long as they’re there.
The sound of their paws on the floor.
When you cook and there is nobody lying in your way, waiting for food to drop.
Getting up in the morning and letting you out the door.
Eating something and thinking “Rusty will be so happy to get a bite of this”.
A dog is always there, and we have so many rituals with them, and that makes it so damn hard.
I have lost my grandma earlier this year, so I naturally find myself comparing the pain. It is a different kind of pain, I miss my grandma, our conversations, knowing she is always there for me, I just miss my biggest supporter.
And with Rusty, I miss having him around, his loving eyes, all the little things that you don’t realize make your daily life so much better.
I know pain is not permanent and I know it will get better. I hope my cat will also heal again, it is so hard to watch him grieve, knowing he lost his daddy that he loved so much.
A dog makes you happy for his whole life, we always dread the day when they leave us. Grief is the price we pay for love. I have loved and I still love him so much and I know he loved us so deeply. He had so much love for everyone, and I know he will continue to shine his love onto us. And I know he is sitting up there in heaven with my grandma who gives him ALL the treats and just spoils him so much.
Grief is a part of life, probably the hardest one, but maybe one day I can just look at the beautiful years we shared.
Hug your loved ones extra tight, we never know how much time we have left with them.
In loving memory of Rusty
06.07.2007 – 09.10.2020