Dealing with a loss of a pet is something that we never want to think about. But, it is a part of life that is unfortunately inevitable. A few weeks ago, my dog Bella that I had since I was 8 was put to sleep :(. This might be a bit of a depressing post (sorry), but I think it is important to reflect and take time to think/ process feelings through writing. After all, writing is therapeutic, right?
I knew that things were rough from talking on the phone with my mom. She kept the severity of her poor health away from me as long as she could, but I couldn’t help but ask whenever we talked. I feel like it’s a part of human instinct to just know something is up regarding bad news or something. Eventually, my mom explained how Bella wasn’t walking, eating much and had a hard time breathing. After a visit at the vet, she was diagnosed with lung cancer that had spread all over her body. Things looked awful and it became obvious that after 11 long years, her life would come to a close.
I knew that it was going to come and that I would not be there with my family– that, I think, is the most difficult part to imagine when considering a death of a pet who has literally been by your side for years. I would not be there. I was hoping that I would be able to make it that weekend (this was a Monday), but I definitely did not want my parents to feel like they needed her to suffer and wait for me.
The second hardest part was knowing that I didn’t get to say a proper goodbye. She had made me laugh at just about anything she did, and was such a huge part of my family’s life. She had such a character and anyone that met Bella automatically found her hysterical. She was an American Bulldog, so she had a cute face and silly personality. I FaceTimed with her for what seemed like only a minute. I’m not even sure if she could tell it was me on the screen, but I’m hoping she recognized my voice. Then that was it. The rest of the day I couldn’t function. It must seem so unbelievably strange to someone who has never had a pet or had to say goodbye to a pet, but it’s heartbreaking.
I went home that Friday and I knew on the drive there that I needed to mentally prepare myself for when I walked through the front door. I wouldn’t hear her get up and scratch her nails, running toward the door, and I wouldn’t see her spastically shaking her entire fat body trying to jump up and down while I set down my bags. I had cried so many times over her since that Monday, I thought things would be weird but OK. However, when I took one step through the door, I lost it. It felt totally wrong and that something was missing. It was weird in the saddest way possible.
That night and days that followed, I kept doing little things with the thought that she was still here. When I brought a plate of food over to the living room, I kept thinking, I can’t leave this on the coffee table because Bella will eat it. Or each time I took off shoes in the mudroom, I would move them on the top shelf thinking, now Bella won’t try to play with them and mess up the laces. Even whenever I left the house, I would glance behind my shoulder thinking that I would see her sitting there, looking out the window.
Missing her comes in waves. As upsetting as it is, I’ve been trying to keep in mind that I’ll never quite “get over” or simply “deal” with no longer having her in my life. Instead, it will slowly stop feeling weird and the funny memories of her will outlast the sucky feelings.