I don’t really know how to start this blog. I find it hard even writing about it.
Last Monday, our baby dog of 13 years, Oscar, who would sit next to us and comfort us when we were ill or sad, who was a genius when it came to stealing food (including opening the fridge!) but would let other dogs bite his nose off, the family’s favourite companion, who’d do anything for love and affection, died.
He was old, I knew that, we all did, but as much as we kept reminding ourselves, we didn’t want to believe that he might die soon.
Even in his last couple of days, he didn’t want to overburden or cause any more pain to my parents.
On Monday morning, my mum messaged me, whilst I was at work. Oscar hadn’t been eating that much lately (his teeth were not in the greatest condition due to his age), though he’d still eat anything he could chew, but on that day he ate almost nothing. And that wasn’t the worst symptom. His legs gave up and he couldn’t move at all.
At this point, I felt that it might be the end. My heart kept beating faster and faster, I felt my blood freeze, and I could barely keep it together. I told my mum to let my sister Stella know, and take him to the vet.
Stella took our baby with my dad to the vet. She called me an hour later. ‘Are you on your own’? She asked.
As soon as she said that, I realised what happened.
He died in her arms, just outside the vet’s office. As the vet poignantly noted ‘You brought him to me when he was a puppy 13 years ago for the first time, and today you brought him back for the last time’.
Needless to say, we were and still are devastated about it. We all loved him to bits and we are trying to deal with his death each in our own way. His passing inevitably triggered painful memories of other loved ones’ deaths over the years, which makes it even harder to deal with.
I keep replaying what happened on Monday, in my mind, until my brain accepts the fact that he died. Some days I feel more sad than others, other days I’m just forgetful and irritable.
There’s no right or wrong when it comes to grief. And it makes no difference whether a human or a dog died, or whether you grieve the end of a relationship, friendship or any other end.
Oscar for us was a member of the family, who we love more than a lot of other humans.
We feel grateful and blessed we got to enjoy his unconditional love and affection for 13 years, and his death was as less traumatic as it could have been. My parents were worried he might die at home, my sister Stella worried that he might get gravely ill and she would have had to make the horrific decision whether to euthanise him, and my little sister Anna was worried he might have died as soon as she had left for her studies a year ago. Thankfully none of this happened. He loved and cared about us until the very end.
We love you our lixi (‘greedy’ when it comes to food, in Greek), now and always. Thank you for making our life more fun and colourful, thank you for all your cuddles and all the adventures we’ve been together. You will forever be the 6th member of our family.