there are times when life is a beautiful thing, and there are times when it makes me sick. those of you who follow me on instagram or facebook probably already know this, but for those of you who don’t, my littlest brother and the best dog that ever lived, the star of many of these blog posts, my lucky dog, went to doggie heaven on monday night.
we are absolutely heartbroken, devastated, just completely torn up, as he was such a beloved member of our family, and his death was unexpected and shouldn’t have happened at all – not yet. he was young and healthy and hadn’t even reached true old age yet…he was only 11 [almost 12], which for a little dog, isn’t old at all. but the most terrible part, the part that i can’t bear to think about, is that our worst nightmare for him came true – something tragic we never thought would ever happen to him: he was attacked and killed by an animal in our own yard. i shudder horribly at the thought. i can’t believe that i’m making myself relive it, but i for some reason feel as though writing down the sequence of events that took place might give me closure, so here it is:
we live on several acres and have a woodsy area towards the back of our property that we keep “wild” [even though it has streets on two sides of it], and although we’ve seen the occasional small coyote out there, we were never too concerned about lucky, as he was a pretty tall 15 lbs [and looked even bigger when he had lots of fur], he was smart and fast, he never wandered far nor sought out danger, and he was accustomed to being let out in the yard unsupervised for short periods of time during his entire full-grown life. his nightly ritual was to go out and bark – we’d let him out, he’d bark a bit, then want to come inside, and as soon as we let him in again, he’d want to go back out and bark some more. it almost felt like a form of exercise for him, and then when mike or me or other visitors were there, he’d make a big show of trying to look tough. sometimes he’d wander a bit onto the nature trail that my dad mows through the wooded area that we keep wild, but he wouldn’t go far or stay out there long, and if we called him, he’d come running back to the porch immediately.
on monday night, though, mimi had come over to our house to spend the night/watch him since dad was on a trip and mom was at some kind of competition in florida with her students. lucky had wanted to go out, so she let him, just like we would have, and apparently he bolted out the door to the woods. she didn’t really think anything of it though; we wouldn’t have either, but after some time, he hadn’t come back, so she went out there and called for him. but nothing. and so she started calling and whistling and searching a bit around the yard and he never came. by this point, she was getting worried, and she called my brother and dad and asked them what she should do, but they reassured her that he would show up. but he didn’t. she slept downstairs on the couch that night, hoping that he’d show up at the door any minute.
by morning, she was distraught, and she told my parents and brother that he was still missing. even though they weren’t at home, they called the neighbors and got them involved to help search, and my dad ended up getting off his trip so he could come home and look for him. at the end of the day on tuesday, the neighbor next door let us know that they had found his collar and… i struggle to write it… his leg. at this point, they knew that something had gotten him – a coyote, a wild hog maybe – and that he was no longer alive. it sounds so matter-of-fact to say it like that, but it feels like a dagger straight to the heart.
i knew none of this yet – not even that he was missing – as my family knew i would have been worried sick about him and wouldn’t have been able to work. i greatly appreciate this, because i don’t think i would have handled it well. anyway, i found out on tuesday afternoon: when i got off work, i called my dad, and he acted a little strangely, although i didn’t think anything of it. he asked where i was, even though i always call my parents on the way home from work – it’s just a habit – and i said that i was leaving for the day, but he told me that he was having dinner with mimi and to call me when i got home, emphasizing the home several times. i told him that i had some errands to run but that yes, i’d call him once i got home.
just as i was bringing the groceries up, he called me, first making sure i was home, and then started crying and told me that lucky had died. he hadn’t wanted to tell me when i was driving. i was in complete disbelief, trying to process what he was saying, and he told me the whole story. and then of course i started bawling and pretty much didn’t stop until i fell asleep that night. mike and mom both called me that night in tears, and dad again later too, as we tried to reason with how this could have happened to our little guy and fathom that he could really be gone.
i’m absolutely sick over it – there’s a void in our heart, our family, and our home that will never feel completely filled, as there will never be another dog like lucky, the dog we grew up with. he was not just my parents’ dog – he was ours, mike’s and my dog too, and we knew that, and he did too. but more than that, much worse than that, to have such a sweet, innocent pup die in that way? it’s the most horrible thing ever, and i just can’t make peace with it. it would have been so different had he just died in his sleep, or even as our old dog had – he’d had a stroke and was very old, so they had to put him to sleep. but instead, we’re haunted with images of what those last minutes or seconds may have been like, and i don’t know if i’ll ever recover from that. it’s the worst worst worst thing. so unfair, so awful. i’ve had such a wide range of emotions, from sadness to anger over what he had to go through. and mostly just utter heartbreak and sorrow that i’ll never get to cuddle his velvety fur, massage his neck and ears, get kisses and head rubs from him ever again. i literally can’t believe it. there are so many things – family traditions, everyday stuff – that won’t be the same without him.
as a sidenote, i want to make it clear that the most important thing is that my human family is safe and healthy and alive, and as i talk about our family grieving for our little lucky dog, it can by no means be compared to the death of a person. he is just a dog, yes. but what i will also say is that he didn’t feel like just a dog to us, and it definitely hurts to have him gone. much worse than i even would have thought.
i’m not ready for this chapter of lucky to close yet – it just doesn’t feel right. i hope that someday i’m able to come to terms with it, because it happened and there’s nothing that can be done, but right now, it makes me sick and sad and angry. i miss him fiercely and can’t believe that just a few days ago, he was alive and everything was normal and i had no idea that we’d be losing him. i’m still in denial that he’s really gone.
but i do know that time heals [i’m praying for sooner rather than later because i want this hurt to go away], and i also know that this little lover dog will always live in my heart. as a final note, this post was depressing… it’s hard not to be right now… but i’m hoping to share some happy stuff on my little baby dog over the next few days, when i’m ready. i want to remember everything about him for always. xoxo