I knew what I was going to be doing the rest of the day today the second I walked in the door from work.
My husband had that look on his face, the one that you never, ever want to see. I could tell he’d been teary-eyed, and I knew why. Shamus had taken a turn for the worse.
“How is he?”
Shamus was the most responsibility I’ve ever had in my life. He had the soul of an old Scottish man, and what I imagine to be a very distinguished, cigar scented voice like Sean Connery. His face was grey, and so were his ears. He had just turned nine years old on Monday.
I was never much of a dog person. But when this little pickle came into my life all the way from Kansas, I knew it was meant to be. And what happened when he came home? He chewed. He chewed everything, including shoes, hats, the door jamb, the window sill… we’re pretty sure he was trying to chew his way out when we weren’t home. Either he was looking for us, or he just wanted to go on walkabout.
Shamus was the most sensitive creature I’ve ever known. I always said if he were a real little boy, he’d be in his room listening to The Cure and contemplating his suicide.
We gave him routine, something I never had (or more specifically, I never liked). He gave me a reason to get up and go to the park. I gave him tennis balls to chase after, and bones from the rib place. We spoiled him with trips for frozen yogurt and so much love it could shift fate, the seemingly immovable fate of those of us who said “a dog? I don’t want a dog!” And the next thing you know, you’re at the pet store buying ridiculously expensive dried banana and prosciutto treats.
He gave us a reason to get our other boxer, Sabina. Shamus helped raise her. (That’s about 150 pounds of dog on the bed, friends.) I think she knows something bad happened today.
It’s not often I’m at a loss for words. I would’ve crossed galaxies to make my dog happy.
“Do you think it’s his time?”
“I think so, baby. I think he’s been trying to tell us for days.”
And with that, my husband laid down and whispered to Shamus that he could go. He told him I would be OK and not to worry, that he would take care of me. I went out to the backyard; I didn’t want Shame to see me sobbing. And I thought about his little life.
I’m guessing right now you want to hug your dog, if you have a dog. If not, spread some love somewhere, anywhere. Have an open heart, and be good to the people in your life, especially the animals. And they’ll be just as good to you. ❤
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