On Monday I brought my 4 year old bulldog Freida in for what I thought was a fairly routine procedure. The vet kept her overnight and she aspirated and passed away. To say I've been shredded by this is an understatement.
That morning I spent coloring my hair while Freida slept on the sofa. When it was time to leave I jingled the car keys and off we went. Once at the vet I handed him her leash without so much as a second of hesitation and off she went. All of these things, which at the time seemed so routine, are crushing me. I was so casual and it was the last chance I had to spend any time with her.
From the very first day I held Freida she had me hook, line and sinker. She was feisty, funny, and so incredibly loving to everyone she met -- her bulldog siblings and every person. Most of all she was loving to me. There was not one thing about her that I didn't find utterly charming and adorable. We had a true soul connection which I have never experienced before. She would climb onto my lap to snooze after her breakfast while I drank my coffee. About once a week we would catch eyes and she would gaze directly into my eyes with the most loving, gentle, kind, soulful and knowing look. Those were our most special, bonded times. She knew she was loved and I knew she loved me right back.
It's only been a few days and I am trying to be patient with myself (never a strong suit) but I feel so utterly bereft and miss her so intensely. I know it will take a long time to heal. I am lucky to know many animal lovers who have experienced similar heartbreaks. That helps. Sort of. I find the mornings are the absolute worst- the pain is most intense then. I'm trying to do one or two normal things everyday -- see a friend, take my other 2 lovey dogs on a nice walk, visit my mom. My husband has been very sweet but I am worried that he will not be able to deal with my level of sadness for much longer. Not sure I can hide it or even want to. I am worrying that I will never have that same feeling of mutual love again (of course, it is different with humans). And yet I know that while it will not be the same, I will have other deep and loving connections. I miss the entire tactile experience of holding her and rubbing her chubby belly, cleaning her wrinkles, calling her for dinner, watching her darling ears flap in the breeze when running in from the yard, her jaunty little rolling trot. And most of all the doggy smiles that she generously bestowed on me all the time, especially when I was cracking peanuts shells and sharing the peanuts with her. One of her favorites.
On the positive side, and I'm not a religious person, I do feel that God sent her to me, that we were destined for each other. She had some hefty health problems from the get go and I did absolutely everything I could to give her the best life possible. I am so thankful for the time I had with her, for the fact that she was mine. But I want more of her. I guess I'm greedy.
I'm learning from talking to friends that it seems that it might not actually get better but you get used to it and in time life gets normal again. I welcome and dread that day at the same time-- wanting to end this pain and yet hating the day that my new normal doesn't include Freida. :(