December 8, 2021
My dog died last week. It sounds kind of simplistic to just say those words when the reality is that it crushed me to the core. This little nine-pound ball of fur and attitude has been my main companion for close to five years and even though he was “just a dog,” I am here to tell you that he saved my life on many occasions. Bruno was my go-to dude. He was at the ready with a cuddle or to simply splay across my lap snoring in total contentment. It was heaven to me. And now he is gone. I “rescued” him from a local organization. Allow me to editorialize for a moment. Rescue organizations do God’s work and with little reward. I will never buy an animal when there are so many looking plaintively through cages waiting for someone to say “yep, YOU are coming home with me today, buddy.” The joy on their faces is palpable and they will never stop letting you know how grateful they are. That’s how it’s been with Bruno the moment he entered my life. He was a senior little guy, and I knew he wouldn’t be around forever, but we packed so much joy and love into the five years we had together. He had a tough life before he came to live with me. He didn’t know how to play, had no interest in toys, didn’t know how to communicate his needs, so potty training was a challenge (I highly recommend the Bissell Spot Bot) and he was not a fan of tall men and barked incessantly. But we made it work because he had SO MUCH LOVE for ME. He followed me everywhere. If I wasn’t home, he was heartbroken and waited disconsolate because in his mind I might never return. Dogs have no concept of time.
So, he was 13 years old and costing me a lot of money. He had an enlarged heart, congestive heart failure, and a cough requiring narcotic medication. He also was given additional prescription meds that were, shall we say, difficult to swallow, as was the exorbitant price. And, because he was a real pain in the ass when it came to taking medication, I had to jump through hoops to please his majesty and “meet his demands.” The demands were as follows: Pills shall be placed in a small piece of gourmet deli turkey, topped with a dollop of Cheez Whiz, and then rolled up into a small bite-size hors d’oeuvre and gently placed into his mouth. Yes, that is how we did it. And I did it happily. He was my Bruno.
As Bruno approached the end of his life (I didn’t know for sure, but had my suspicions), he began acting a bit differently. On his final day, early in the morning, he died right by my side where he spent most of his time. I know that is where he wanted to be, with me stroking his back as he slipped away. He has helped me deal with the loss of my husband and provided me with comfort I never knew I needed to get through some dark days. This little nine-pound runt is my buddy, my dude, my hero. I love you, Bruno.