It was a month ago today when I lost my sweet Teddy. He was my only dog of almost 11.5 years. I'm married and have no children. Teddy was part of my little family and I can't imagine feeling closer to a human child. I can envision people crucifying me for even saying that but the pain of losing Teddy is excruciating and runs very deep.
He died unexpectedly and I still shake my head in disbelief wondering what happened. He had been experiencing some cognitive issues with his old age (13+) for the past couple of years and at times in the past few months he also didn't seem to want to go out for walks like he used to love to do. I attributed it to his achy joints and didn't force him. But then his hesitancy to walk seemed to happen more often and yet I was aware this could also be a sign of his cognitive dysfunction progressing. In retrospect, I think it was likely something else. Maybe disc issues in his back were giving him problems and I was reading his signs all wrong. A few days before he passed, he was having trouble getting up on his hind legs. I made an appointment with his vet, some tests were run but before a complete work up could be done, he was too weak to put him through surgery for a liver biopsy. He stopped eating, he couldn't get up at all and just seemed paralyzed except for the alertness in his eyes. The vet thought he may have had either liver cancer that could have metastasized, a weak vertebral column or both that contributed to his untimely death.
There are so many things about Teddy that bring instant tears to my eyes. One of them happened on the day he passed even before I knew it was going to be his last day. We were waiting to take him to the vet and as I was petting him, a single tear fell from his left eye. I wiped the tear from his face heartbroken to see him that way. My husband and I both agreed that neither of us ever saw him do that in the whole time that we had him. Experts say dogs can't cry emotional tears like humans but the timing, the mood and the expression he had on his face and eyes told us something very different. We think he was telling us goodbye. After seeing the vet later that day, that goodbye was confirmed. Teddy knew before we knew. He was telling us he was going to miss us and was sorry he had to leave. I do really believe that. He loved us as much as we loved him.
Teddy traveled across country with us last year into this year as we left the east coast in our pursuit to settle on the west coast. My husband retired from the military and so we took our time stopping to visit family on the way and exploring new areas. Teddy loved the road trip and adventure as much as we did and was a great travel companion. We ended up on the west coast almost 3 months later and we lived in an extended stay hotel for another 5+ months until we could move into the house we found. The week before we were to move in, Teddy passed away. The house we chose had Teddy written all over it because we selected it with him in mind. He would have loved living here. No stairs to ease the stress on his joints, a shady fenced yard, a nice walkable neighborhood with dog park and lots of dog pals around. We were devastated to say the least as we moved in without him. This isn't how it's supposed to feel when you move into your new home, especially after not having one for as long as we did. I don't know if the stress of a cross-country trip and hotel living was too much for him or if all the stairs in our hotel were too much for him or - we don't know what. The three of us lived in a hotel for over 8 months and though not ideal, we managed because we had each other and Teddy brought such great joy to our lives. He made the long trip and tight quarters more enjoyable and helped us in more ways than he could know.
To say I'm traumatized is an understatement. My days feel so empty now and my whole routine has had to change. Our walks together, his playfulness, feeding him, petting him, caring for him are all gone now. He fully depended on me and it was an honor to take care of the little guy. I can't seem to get myself back on track. I loved him so much. The people in my life who have owned dogs, understand. Those that haven't, don't and their trivialization of my experience just adds salt to my wounds. I don't understand how people can be so heartless. People who say they love and care for me and yet won't even give me their sympathy over the loss of my most treasured pet. Does that even make sense? It doesn't to me and I don't know if I should say something to them or not. I needed to find this forum to be with others who understand my anguish. I thank all of you who are reading this and who can relate to my feelings. I feel so discombobulated without him. I miss you so much little buddy.