I am writing this with a lump in my throat. I have so many thoughts racing through my head. This is about a loss my family has suffered. Which many families suffer. And it helps to write about it. My sweet little doggie is gone.

16 months after I was married, and was eight months into my new job a box of puppies was brought to CT. I saw this little black pomapoo with white feet. I called my wife and told her we needed a dog. I hadn’t had a pet for years. Hello Macy! Well. That was March 1994. The little thing was flea bitten and had parasites. Great. Vet bills. And it wailed at night. So it slept in the bed with us. My wife is an amazaing mom. She would take it outside. Can’t walk a dog like this though. Mostly its a “carry.” It got Science Diet “crinkles.” And loved grilled chicken. My wife trained the dog to use a cat sandbox for her business. One night it wandered off the bed. Broke front leg. Matchstick leg. The cast didn’t help. Had to go to Athens for a plate and screw. That worked. And cost a bunch. But that dog was amazing. It was always underfoot like little dogs are. It could bound up the stairs two at a time. Hilarious. Sat in the chair with me and watched TV. Gave me tons of “hoosies”, my word for kisses. It got to know our personalities. That the wife didn’t like being licked in the face. That I did.

Fast forward to 1997. Birth of our only son. And a new house. The dog never really took to the boy. Maybe felt he was competition. And the dog was a little nipper. Liked to bite. And bold attitude for being six pounds. This dog traveled with us to visit our families down South. Hardly spent time at the vet.

Moved to my current practice. Dog with us. Apartment to new house. Dog took to the new house. Couldn’t climb the stairs though. It was 11 then. Getting a little grey around the face. Years go by. We all get older but it seems that time stands still. You know what I mean? You get in a routine. School. Vacations. Restaurants. Favorite TV shows. Work. One of my lines is “it”s SO much the same.” Well, Father Time is grinning. He marches on and fools you into thinking that this current situation will go on forever.

Well. The last two years haven’t been kind to Macy. All white in the face. Losing muscle mass. Wobbly legs. We had to devise a system to keep her comfortable. She spent most of the day in a little doggie bed on the sofa in the family room. Her “bathroom” was in the back. When she went to the edge of the sofa, we knew to take her to her sandbox. At night, she slept upstairs in a dark bathroom with her nightlight because if she heard us, she would want to sleep in the bed with us, which we couldn’t let her do anymore for fear of her wandering off the edge.

It was Tuesday night.My wife said the dog had been crying all day.  I was in my usual position on the sofa. Dog at my feet. It suddenly tumbled out of the bed and had a twenty second grand mal seizure. I called my wife. As a physician, I recognized the post ictal state it was now in. Labored breathing. Listless. We thought it was going to die. We knew it was time. My wife, god bless her strength, tried to make her last night comfortable. The dog was too confused to eat, but could lick water out of her hand. She took it outside “one last time.” Our mostly feral cat nuzzled the dog, sensing something. My wife sat with the dog on the floor. It made constant circles around her. My guess is the dog had a bleed, stroke or tumor. A tiny part of me hoped the dog would recover. That this was a one time thing. But we both knew this was likely it’s last night. I had work the next day. Couldn’t stay up with it. I was upset about that. I felt I owed Macy my time. I awoke the next morning. Went upstairs. My wife had been up all night. Said Macy had two more seizures and on the last one, the poor dog was dragging it’s legs. She was going to the vet to “see what he thinks.” I knew. I took a last look at the dog. It was breathing hard but looked the same. I couldn’t bring myself to kiss it. I had the night before. It had given me one last “hoosie.”  I knew that was the last time I’d see her. I went to work. Angry. I felt I owed her that time. My wife relates that she took the dog in the car to the vet. Isn’t it wonderful that animals don’t know whats going on. She was leaving HER house, never to return. God bless the strength of my wife. My son, learner’s permit in hand, drove her. The dog was wimpering some. She said at the vet, the dog stopped crying. She usually shakes at the vet but not today. Did she know? The dog was given a pain killer and went limp, according to my wife. Back at the hospital, my son sent a text. “She just got the shot.” You are looking at a man who never cries. Over anything or anyone. I closed out the film I was reading, bowed my head, and cried for my dog. My sweet liitle hoosie. My wife snapped a picture of it after it’s breathing stopped. It looked so old and frail. The vet took her away.

My wife then went to visit her mom down South, which had been planned for a week. That was good for her. For me, the misery began.

I arrived home. My wife had thoughtfully removed all vestiges of the dog. I frantically ran to the back. No baby gates. No sandbox. No water bowl. No crinkles in the bowl. Just an empty dog treat container. I ran down the hall. Her little squeaky toy. I ran upstairs. No sandbox. No bowl. No nightlight. Nothing. I ran to the bedroom. My wife had left a teddy bear in the bed so I wouldn’t feel so alone. You have to imagine this: A 50 year old 200 hundred pound man sobbing uncontrollably over a four pound dog. Deep sobs. The kind that gives you a headache. I don’t know what exactly I was crying about. Mostly the finality of death. For 18 years I’d gotten wet sticky “hoosies” off this dog. It laid in the bed with me through my numerous medical procedures and yearly flu. It kept me company when I watched TV. Or maybe I was crying because I always feel such anguish when a living creature’s journey has ended. I know it was 18. But I somehow felt it could keep going a bit longer. Or maybe that this was the rude way Father Time shows you that life is moving forward even though you think it is static.

I didn’t sleep well that night. I thought I heard it crying. Kept waking up. The next day, there was no Macy wimpering to come downstairs for her jerky treat. Dead silence. I went to work. Was tough. Shared with people. I had such bizarre thoughts. I wanted the world to stop. This dog was my life. I wanted Macy somehow to know that her life mattered. She made me a better person. She taught me to care for another living creature prior to our son’s birth. I never felt alone with her around. I was wondering: If there is a heaven, is she with loved ones or alone, looking for us?

My wife is devastated. And she’s the strong one. We texted all day. We are the only two who understand the loss. My son is sad, but never really got to bond with Macy. It’s gonna be hard on her when school starts back, and I’m at work because she hasn’t been alone in the house for 18 years. Our little buddy has always been there.

We decided to cremate her. Have an urn with a picture that they can put on the urn. And I’ll keep her in the family room where she spent most of her life. That is actually bringing me some comfort. Knowing she will be “watching” TV with me again. Maybe that sounds bizarre to you non pet people. But you pet people understand.