This past weekend was one of the hardest of my life. We put our dog Oliver to sleep yesterday, my sweet boy. He was 17 years old. As much as I agonized over when, I know now it was the right time. He always hated being picked up, but on Sunday morning he didn’t mind at all, just trusted us as I lifted him and sat him on my lap in the car. Lots of pets and kisses. It was quick and painless, and I think he knew he was loved and cared for, right up to the end. I had tears running down my cheeks all morning, and we sobbed there in the room after. Pulled it together enough to head home, and then I cried again at home as soon as I saw his empty bed. I miss him, but I am at peace and I hope he is too. Peaceful and happy, and no longer a prisoner of his aging little body.
I didn’t realize quite how much medication had become Oliver’s new normal until I cleaned everything out this weekend. Our pantry feels remarkably uncluttered in comparison. The cat’s kibble is in the second food container, now that his reviled prescription kidney food is gone. Likewise the kitchen floor feels oddly empty, with only one pair of dog dishes and the extra rug out of the center of the room. We’re going to be getting used to being a family of eight paws instead of twelve over the coming days and weeks. It simultaneously feels like a sad emptiness and a weight lifted — not fussing over medication schedules and attempts at feeding him, not listening for any signs of distress or vomiting from him in the night. I miss him already. In the meantime, life winds on, and we hold our memories close. Almost fifteen and half years of love. Until we meet again, my bear, my dear sweet Oliver.