Almost exactly six months after my beloved dog Lech Walesa died, now my other dog Little Face has joined him. To say we were not prepared is quite an understatement.
My fiancee Jamie let her out to go to the bathroom Monday while I was in Owensboro running errands. When I got back soon afterward we were supposed to go to the church to work on wedding planning, which tentatively included Little Face. It’s hard to find a role for a dog.
But when the time came for her to come back in and for us to leave, she was nowhere to be found.
Her disappearing, especially outside, was completely the opposite of her normal modus operandi. Generally she begrudgingly would go outside and then within a matter of 30 seconds or so she’d be back at the door, her tiny nose pressed gently against the glass, looking as pitiful as she could muster.
We went out and called for her, walked around the entire yard, even places none of us ever go, and still no Little Face.
We canceled our appointment and continued to look. I came inside to watch the playback from from security cameras to see if maybe someone picked her up or even something crazy like an eagle.
As I was rewinding I heard a horrible scream calling out my name. I heard it again. Dave! Dave!
I ran to the door in time to see Jamie standing there cradling Little Face, with Little gasping lightly for breath and looking like she was in shock.
Turns out she’d been beside the mailbox the entire time but she blended in a little with the ground, plus we weren’t looking for a lying down dog, we were looking for a walker.
We rushed her to the vet and they told us she was fading fast and that she wasn’t going to make it so we opted to give her the shot to end her pain.
As she lay there on the vet’s table, Jamie and I quietly cried, with Jamie telling Little Face what a good dog she’d always been and how pretty she was. We told her we’d miss her but that we loved her and she was just such a great, great dog.
Then it was over. A couple of gasps and it was done.
Now we’re feeling what must be some form of empty nesting syndrome, where the sight of her uneaten food and her water bowl make us cry. We had to put away her kennel the next day because it was just too painful of a reminder.
Little Face had always been my dog, but she was really, and increasingly, Jamie’s dog. They were girlfriends. When I was still asleep in the mornings and Jamie would be up early working remotely, she had Little Face to keep her company.
And when I was very sick and couldn’t really get out of bed, Jamie and Little Face hung out in the living room and watched TV or read a book.
The final week of Little Face’s life was a total girls’ night out that lasted for several days. Jamie took her back to her home in Indianapolis while I stayed here to finish up projects, so they spent all day, every day, cuddled up on a heated blanket.
She got a sink bath, which Little Face never seemed to love but she didn’t seem to hate either, and Jamie got a facial. They spent the week pampering each other.
Now it’s just quiet here. No more tiny snoring, which she also somehow did with her eyes wide open looking around. No more whining at the doorway of the bedroom, which she understood she was not allowed to enter, but it didn’t mean she didn’t whine for us to come out and give her some attention.
I could invariably lean up from the bed and see her in the hallway, either lying there patiently or staring inside waiting for any sign of movement.
But none of that any more. Just quiet.
It’s also an odd reminder that I’m supposed to be going through this same thing at some point. I just chose my urn for my ashes a few months ago and now I had to choose Little Face’s.
I snore too, although not as comically.
I know things will be different once I’m gone but I hope I’m missed just as much.