Living in a small apartment with an even smaller yard, I had to find a pup who's mass would not make my tiny space a mess. I visited several shelters but found nothing but the Greatest of Danes, Bloodhounds requiring their own queen mattress, and St. Bernards who could consume a metric ton in a week. It was not until leaving a Petsmart adoption event empty-handed, and spied a man walking in with nothing more than a wee tuft of hair in his arms, that I found what I was looking for. After chatting with him, he told me that the breed was a Britney Spaniel and the breeder had one more male he was anxious to find a home for.
It was shortly after the move that I began to notice old age over taking my energetic guy. He began to put on weight, was less interested in playing fetch and would rather sleep than go for a walk. Old age happens to all of us. Since the dog's life is condensed compared to ours, I had the opportunity to see him from infancy to a geriatric. It had me pondering how our bodies changed, and how none of us can escape it.
One night I came home and found him down in the backyard. He was so sick he could not even stand. I had to dead lift my 55 lb dog into the house, where I tried to give him what comfort I could until the vet opened. The verdict there was ominous. Carson was suffering from DKA secondary to acute pancreatitis. After a valiant battle, the call came that it was time to release Carson from the pain. My dad came in and together we sat with him while he drew his last breath. I was a wreck. I cried so hard that the entire staff, including the vet cried with me. Suddenly after 12 years of constant companionship, he was gone in the blink of an eye. All our time together, all our understanding, all of our relationship was suddenly just extinguished like it never existed. Having never lost anyone close to me, I had just the slightest, tiniest, minute glimpse of what some of my patient's families must feel. I was devastated.
Coming home to an empty house was the hardest. The first day I caught myself yelling for him to come greet me at the door. You don't realize how something so silly like a dog fills your life with happiness and unadulterated joy. There was a hole in my life that made the loneliness ebb in from the fringe of my consciousness.