Yesterday, I said goodbye to my best friend.
Daft isn’t it? A dog – my best friend? But he is, or he was.
He was there when we found out we were having William, curled up crying with us. He was there when we joked how it would be nice if he brought us Bacardi and Cokes as we sat sunbathing in the garden. He was there when he had a leap of faith, literally, and pounced off the edge of a tall ledge and plunged into the water below. He was there when he made a mad dash for the park, across the street from our old house. He was there as I threw-up, pregnant and bewildered, and yet he sat by me and licked my hand. He was there as my bump grew, placing two delicate paws onto my stomach. He greeted our son with a curious lick. Happy to observe this new, tiny creature. He was there when my son first laughed – he wasn’t just there, he was the cause of that laugh.
He’s always been there.
Saying goodbye was, without a doubt, the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
The last I saw of him was his little trot and waggy tail as he trotted behind a corner, off for a walk.
I stood, tears running freely, holding the penny I found on the floor outside my parents’ house, as we dropped William off at the start of our journey. “Charlotte – look.” My mum found it and I picked it up. Pressed it firmly into my palm and kept it there.
I collapsed into a heap in the car. I sobbed. I couldn’t breathe.
I would never see him again.
He’s not a human. He’s not much to some. But if you’ve ever loved an animal, you’ll know. And if you don’t know – get yourself an animal to love. It’s worth any heartache you could feel at goodbye.
Our house is empty now. It smells different. Feels different. For such a tiny thing he brought so much life and noise. Seeing the empty spot where his bed used to sit made me feel lost. I didn’t want to go home, opening the door and not bracing yourself for an excited terrier is going to get some getting used to. I even put my plate down on the kitchen floor tonight – a default move after one of my mum’s meat and potato pies. I felt so stupid. Picking it up, letting it splash into the sink and the leaning over it, watching my own tears splash down too.
I want to race back. Drive into the night. And bring him home.
But that would be selfish.
Because someday soon, he’ll find a family he truly deserves. And I hope he forgets about me. Writing that is hard, because I’ll never forget him.
Thank you for indulging me. Forgiving me for writing tens of posts about my dog.
He was such a big part of my life. I just wish I knew how to fill it. There’s a big Max-shaped hole. A big guilt-shaped hole for having to chose, for letting what happened happen, for feeling like a poor mother.
But I did the right thing.