Yesterday we said goodbye to our best pal, Lunchbox. He's raiding that big dirty laundry bin in the sky now, in Dog Heaven (the stinkiest of all the heavens). He'd been sick for about two weeks, in and out of the vet office. But, he never stopped wagging his tail, so we'd hoped he was recovering from a nasty kidney infection; what he was actually experiencing was full-on kidney failure. When it became clear he was in pain, we made the decision to let him go. We made that decision without consulting him, because he would've voted to stay by our side forever, whether he hurt or not. When I left the house for work each day, I'd tell him, "Take care of my men." When Wolfman left the house, he'd tell LB, "take care of this woman and my boy." Lunchbox took his job, chief protector and comforter, very seriously. He was 15, white hairs all over his face and paws, moving and grouching like a little old man instead of the young buck he was when I met him, but I'd still hoped (expected, even) we'd have a few more years with him.
We'd been fretting over him and shedding brief, panicked tears over him since his first somber vet visit two weeks ago. By last Friday afternoon, when LB's vet laid out the grim circumstances of his deterioration, I thought I was all cried out. Wolfman told me, "We have to put him down on Monday," and I didn't shed a tear. But, that same night, after Mads was in bed, Wolfman and I sat on the sofa with the dog between us and cried over him together, and laughed at all the stupid things he'd done, and reminisced, and loved him with our stories and memories and hands rubbing behind his ears and cradling him. We repeated that ritual Saturday night and again Sunday night and again Monday morning, sitting on the floor of an examination room as he went under and away from us. We brought his body home, and I stood in the cold to bear witness while Wolfman dug a grave for his companion, his first son, his best friend of 15 years.
In the course of our marriage, Wolfman and I told each other the story of, and thus created, a place we called Dog Spa. I'm not sure how it started, but in the eight years we've been a couple, we have often texted each other, or poked heads around corners to announce to each other things like, "at Dog Spa, there are squirrel pee facials." Or, "hot garbage juice saunas at Dog Spa." Most recently we added, "Used tissue hors d'oeuvres at Dog Spa." The point was to imagine what true pampering of a dog (by dogs) would be, while also grossing each other out as much as possible (usually, I won at being most disgusting; Wolfman is a classy gentleman, while I am a true Garbage Pail Kid.) If we are, indeed, co-creating our reality, then Wolfman and I have created a perfect, smelly, truly foul and nauseating heaven for our favorite beast. In Doghalla, Lunchbox is rolling in critter corpses as I type this.
|Last photos of Lunchbox, taken last week.|