Last night my best friend told me I should write something, so I scowled at her (on Skype), doing my best Skype scowl, and was like, ugh, tsch, writing!!?! No way! Then just before bed I picked up a pen and wrote a letter to my dog, as it would have been his birthday next week. *clears throat*
We knew something was up when we didn’t have to turn the Tesco advert off before it got to the ‘DING!’ at the end. The scramble to get to the remote, to mute or change the channel before ‘DING!’ and then chaos, shouting, slamming doors. We were going to write a complaint letter, so shrill and distressing was the noise. Then, a few years ago, you just stopped doing it. We thought maybe they’d changed the frequency, but then again, we didn’t really think much of it at the time.
I realise now that you’ve gone how much you meant to me and my family. First, there is my mother. She often looked at you disapprovingly, but I think you knew that she (within her caring nature) – would always be the first to realise if you were sick, and couldn’t bear to see you in pain. She was the bravest to make the choice, in the end.
My brother loved you, right from the day he met you. You were his, after all. My parents got you because my brother never got on with your sort before. You probably didn’t know that. And now, the sighs when he catches a glimpse of my phone wallpaper. Oh. He probably cried the most.
For my dad: you really were the world. You were for all of us, obviously, but you two would hang out all the time. Then he started lying to us, and you must have seen it all unravel; (this one is partly your fault, you were always the indoors sort.) We still fed you at 6 o’clock every evening, regardless of everything else losing it’s structure. I’m sorry he kept you awake at night, you must have been very sleepy after your long evening walk.
As for me, well. I am writing you this letter. Is that enough? People would laugh but I’ve often had long conversations with you about boys, fall-outs, how my day went. We didn’t ever speak about the v-e-t, and in some ways now, I wish we had. I wish I’d let you know before how nice it would be to have so many people looking after you, right until your last little steps, and those who had never met you before could always see how much joy you brought into our lives.
It started with the indigestion, which, laughably and often was cured with a Rennie- an absurd idea from my mum that my friends would always laugh at. You developed a limp, dragging around all those secrets. You got slow and tired and drowsy, so I’d nap beside you.
Maybe we can have a real Christmas tree this year, as you won’t piss underneath it.
During an insignificant July evening this year, we sat around our kitchen table and had a chat. I can’t remember if you were in the room. A few days after, Dad moved out: so I went out drinking too much, my brother locked himself away in his room, you were unnoticed and lonely, Mum kept trying to keep everyone going, and your organs began to fail.
I loved you the most the last day I saw you. You were in your little box at the clinic, and when we came to say goodbye, you stood up for us all. Not much, I know, but you hadn’t stood up for a week, and your kidneys were working at 10%. You stood up for us, and licked my hand. We all cried, sharing the same tissue. It was strange, everything that had happened in the past month, the affair, the break-up, living in two houses, trying to give everyone equal attention; yet here we were, as a family, crying over the loss of our little white dog. Thank you for that. As much as I want you as my pup forever, you brought my family together for the final time. I don’t think you could cope with us not as we were. I am sorry for that, but I equally couldn’t bear for you to have all that tension and deceit take its toll on your old bones.
I’m glad they changed the Tesco ad. I don’t think I could bear the silence that would follow.