When my dog died so did the last of my adolescence. It’s been a slow death beginning with the loss of a few distant friends from high school that I didn’t really care too much about. It moved inch by inch from the back of my mind closer to the front.
I put my dog down not too long ago and I’d never been through such a thing before. I can’t honestly say I’m overly close with any particular family member apart from my brother who lives in Dallas now. I do remember spending what seemed like eons of my childhood with what used to be my puppy. I picked her from the litter when I was six and couldn’t come up with a name, being so young I called her ‘Brown Eyes’ after the touch of brown reddish hair that surrounded only her eye brows. A strange name to most more mature than I but in the mind of a six year old it rang true. The name quickly stuck in my adolescent heart and eventually became what she was called.
All day today I knew what was coming but never really stopped to think about it. When I saw my companion for the last 19 years waddle into that office I felt a wave of mercy that still feeds my undying feeling of guilt that I am sure in some form or another I will carry with me the rest of my life. I shed the first tears since I had become a teenager. I was always taught to be a man and I learned long ago how to fight back the tears in face of both blood and despair but I lost that battle today. I slowly watch her brown eyes drift back into unconsciousness. I barley managed to utter one last “I love you” before she closed her eyes forever. I never said a word during the entire ordeal to the doctor or the aid helping, I simply nodded and hid every ounce of feeling until left alone.
I sat in the empty room with my dog constantly reminding myself apart from me it was completely devoid of life. I looked hard at her and saw mostly the memories of myself. I realized that most of the times I remember seem so long ago. I am young I suppose but never have I felt so far away from youth. I saw in the death of my dog the death of one of the last connections to a past I no longer have any ties to except in my mind. I sat a long while thinking about all the burdens of my current life and how they subtly obstructed all the older memories. Thirty tears and four shots later I came to grips with reality again and punched a wall. I was always taught to be a man but I think in the last four years I’ve taken the final steps in understanding why.
I lost more than my dog today.