In the space of three short months we’ve had to say goodbye to both of our pugs.
It’s as if the pilot light in our home has gone out.
We’ve always had these dogs; they’ve been part of the very definition of home from the start. They’ve shared our beds (and pillow), our hearth, the very food off of our table, if we failed to push in the chairs. They each had more nicknames than you could shake a stick at, most derived from our growing, eclectic collection of music. Over the course of the almost-11 years we shared, they cultivated personas that transcended standard dog-hood; Svejk (named for a Czech fictional hero) did some time in jail, Lucy was irresistibly drawn to heirloom tomatoes. Both took off in a dead sprint towards their kennel in answer to the question, “Who wants a Mr. Pugsly?” They had an amazing repertoire of party tricks.
They’ll not be curled up on the pillow in front of the hearth, a fawn-colored, perfectly formed yin and yang. We’ll not be fighting over their warmth under the covers as the nights become cool, stealing one or the other from behind the curve of our partner’s knees. They will not be dressed as a skeleton and a pumpkin for Halloween this year. When bits of whatever I’m chopping for supper inevitably fall to the floor, they will stay there, untouched, until I sweep them up. I have not had to sweep up carrots from my floor
in over 10 years ever; that they will be snapped up by an eager snorting mouth is just as certain a law of nature as gravity. I should not be able to set a bag of groceries on the floor without dire consequences! There’s no one here waiting for us when we come home. There is no one keeping tabs on us.
It’s a sad, unnatural state of being for us and it can’t go on for too long before we lose some of our humanity. We look to the future with tearful but bright eyes, eager to meet those four-legged friends who will lead us into the next chapter.