It's been about 5 days since my buddy Mags passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in my arms and I find myself really struggling with the blur in which it happened and the unfairness of life.
I know I'm not the first to lose a pet unexpectedly but it's new and raw to me. My dog prior to Mags was a beautiful Golden Retriever named Annie that lived an extremely long life of 16 1/2 years, finally requiring my compassionate decision to let her go. That was much easier than what happened with Mags because it made sense; Nothing makes sense right now as to why Mags passed so quickly. I hope you will understand my pain and suffer my babbling as I try to reach out and share in order to heal.
Mags was born at a disadvantage rescued from being tossed into a river with his litter mates. He has always had nothing but love in his heart though his early energies were misdirected and was considered somewhat of a goof until I had the serendipitous opportunity to enter his life. It was shortly after my Golden Annie had passed and I was not looking for a replacement but instead he found me. Belonging to my now ex, he instantly ignored her and became attached to me. So much so, that during his obedience class lessons with her, he would ignore others and commands to stare directly at me from across the large indoor arena. When my relationship ended with my ex, it was a foregone conclusion that he would come with me. Since then he developed into a well-behaved, well-loved character.
Being a buddy and not a trial dog he still followed hand signals and knew to stop as a car passed by on our daily walks. Basic commands such as heeling were remedial to him and he enjoyed more advanced skills such as running circles around me in a game of tag initiated by a look or gesture from me or him. People were always amazed how well trained he was but to me it was just a common respect we had for one another that made him want to follow direction. He was showing off. Having fun.
One of the best memories I'll carry with me is how he would 'sneak' away to visit his girlfriend Border Collie down the road named Haika thinking I didn't notice. He would always limit the trip to his destination and return on his own after he was done visiting. Once in a while I would stop him as he was about to slip onto his secret trail through the woods. I would say 'you better stay here young man'. Most times he would change his direction of travel as if that's what he planned. Once, he considered my threat and then bolt away anyway! Obstinate and endearing would be a good way to describe his personality. Asking for forgiveness was easier to him than asking for permission and I loved him for it.
I work alone out of the house designing architecture. I'm on some land and fairly isolated from the world so his presence, energy and companionship was quite important to me. We became fairly codependent upon one another. Structure and routine was important to him and he kept me on my toes reminding me if I was late with his feedings or hadn't taken him on his daily walk. He would be willing to allow me to work for only so long and then he reminded me that he was also in the house and needed some attention. He gave my life purpose and responsibility. I don't like not feeling that anymore.
Late on the 4th we came back from riding in the truck and he was panting heavily. He was unaffected by fireworks so I thought it was just the heat and his age. He plopped inside the door by his water bowl but didn't drink which is unusual for him. He eventually drank some water but the breathing continued. I talked to him, pet his favorite spots and eventually the breathing slowed some. By bedtime he was better and I went to bed. In the morning I found him responsive but breathing heavily again. He moved from spot to spot but didn't seem to be comfortable. I went on the internet searching for possible causes, etc. He was always healthy with no ailments so I wasn't sure what to look for. When I went to be with him again, he seemed different. He was somewhat distant in his stare and wasn't blinking as often. I tried to help him up but realized I needed to pick him up instead. I held him. I kissed him. I told him how much I loved him and everything would be alright. I stroked him and he pushed his head closer to my neck and shoulder. Then he was just gone. Placing him on the floor in disbelief, he gasped two times briefly, reflexively. I broke down and wept over his body, holding him tightly and apologizing to him over and over, feeling responsible somehow for what had just transpired. I plead with him to not leave me. There was nothing that could be done. It all transpired in around just 2 hours.
I took him to be cremated, not wishing to put him (or me) through an expensive necropsy knowing it probably doesn't matter. He was nearly 14. His poor heart had just worn out. Now I struggle with the silence and lack of energy that have replaced his spirit. He's not here crowding me out of bed or laying his head on my foot as I work at my desk or watch TV. I don't have to check on him during the day to see how he's doing or check to see if he needs to go outside. His food sits in it's bag. His bowls which were a fixture on my floor now sit clean and unused on the counter, stacked together. It's all wrong. It doesn't make any sense. Why did this happen to him? It wasn't his time. He was going to outlive Annie's time. He ate carrots and fresh vegetables and no table food. His food was grain free and salmon so he didn't get hot spots. He had so many friends that are suffering nearly as much as I. Why does it hurt so much?
If you made it this far, I thank you for listening. There is no one here to talk with. That was Mag's role. He was a great listener. He was a great everything.