Something horrible has happened. I’m having some difficulty processing it.
I’m not a dog person. Or a cat person. Actually, cute babies, cute puppies, warm fuzzy bunny rabbits: they don’t make me melt. I simply wasn’t born with the gene that forces me to emit oohs and ahhs when cuteness comes my way. I also think that people who kiss their dogs on the mouths are weird, and people who dress their dogs are even more strange. I’m not judging you if you do. I simply think it’s strange. I wouldn’t french kiss my hamster either.
That being said: I found out today that our family dog has been put down. And I can’t stop crying. I’m not tearing up…I’m sobbing. And in the few minutes that it does stop, I’m holding back a wailing noise that even I don’t think I will recognize. I canceled my lunch plans and have rearranged my day to accommodate my true feeling of mourning. If you have a family pet, you will know what I’m saying. If you don’t, then it’s possible you will not understand the rest of this: stop reading now. I feel like a member of our family is gone: and she is.
My parents come to visit twice a month, and each time, Snoopy is in tow. She stayed with me for awhile, after they moved into their townhouse. No pets policy, and I agreed to house her for awhile. She was so annoying. Five kids. Two dogs. Running after all of them almost nonstop. I was annoyed and irritated. I hated the way she smelled. And I couldn’t get her to not potty all over my house. I screamed at her incessantly. I don’t think I ever pet her when she lived with us.
When they come to visit, she wanders around, looking for somewhere warm to lay. Usually it’s on something that belongs to Olive. Most of the time, for whatever reason, she has mardi gras beads on. It’s a family joke that she is a whore. I don’t know who started it, but we all lovingly refer to her as “puta.” She growls at neighbors, and constantly escapes. Sometimes she encouraged our dog to follow her. Once they made it all the way to a shopping center across the highway and a nice stranger called the number on the dog tag to come and pick them up. She has led many dogs to freedom. In fact, the police have visited my parents home several times for the disruption that this tiny neighborhood dog has caused with her freedom crusade. Strange thing about that dog, she never takes her freedom for granted. I barely noticed when she was here visiting, her presence and her escape tricks just became such a normal thing.
On Friday, my father brought her to the pound. They simply could not keep her in the townhouse anymore. I told him on Saturday to please go back and get her, and bring her here. It’s a hassle for me, but I felt sad thinking of that crazy dog away from us. And Olive loves to hug her. We don’t have much more space or time to give, but hugs can be enough. I thought about what our family would be like without her, and it just didn’t feel right. It’s alot, but we would figure it out. The kids would just have to pitch in a little more so that she could stay.
The pound was closed on Sunday, and yesterday first thing in the morning he drove the hour to go back to the pound. They said that Snoopy refused to eat, she was sick and making herself sicker. They euthanized her.
I can’t stop crying. I can’t concentrate on anything. I’m thinking of my mother, who called me upset last night. My dad told her a family had adopted Snoopy and they didn’t have a forwarding number for him to find her. My mother insisted he go back and find the phone number to get her back. I’m thinking of how much Olive loves her and how gentle Snoopy was, even when the girl tormented her. If the dog had a saddle, I do believe Olive would have a pony. I feel so guilty for not offering to let her stay when they talked about the no pet policy where they lived. My heart hurts. I don’t know how stop how sad I feel.
I pride myself on not taking things for granted, and yet I have. Snoopy’s presence was in the background noise. I cared for her by feeding her, letting her stay in our house, treating her the same as our dog. She wandered around our house, sleeping under the beds, hiding in corners. I watched the children play with her and dress her, without thinking twice about how much I really enjoyed it. My husband and I walked the two dogs, each with a leash in hand. It may have been the only time we took a few minutes to be something other than parents.
I work so hard to love and care for the big things, the obvious things: our home, our children, our marriage, our family, that I forget to pay attention to the less obvious things, the small things that make the background noise so filling. When we lose our house, the actual building: we will still have a home in each other. A two bedroom apartment or a four bedroom house, where we live is not relevant. I need to replace housekeeping with homekeeping. When our children our grown, they will remember the quality I spent with each of them, not the efforts I put into treating them equal and balancing things to be fair. They aren’t equal, they are each so unique and I am a different type of mother to each of them. I forget that. My marriage is rocky at best; I forget that it’s more than a paper that binds us. The relationship itself needs more than to exist in the background. Before we were father and mother to one, then two, then three four and five, we were husband and wife.
I took for granted how big of a space Snoopy filled in our lives. I hate that it has to be empty for me to feel it. What a horrible lesson! We are trained to focus on the end goal, the big picture, the joy of completing our tasks for the end reward. We forget to pay attention to the small things that fill in the everyday spaces. I ignore the background noise because I have felt that it is so distracting. I always have so much happening, between the children and our home, work and life schedules, streaming all together: it’s constant chaos. I am so consumed by maintaining balance, that I have forgotten what I have known always is true: it’s the imbalance that makes my life so perfect. I will miss her, and will mourn for awhile. I won’t forget what she has taught me today. When I am done crying and second guessing, I guess Snoopy is sending me on my own freedom crusade after all. *sniff*