“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” – Albert Einstein

I feel like I am tempting fate to write this, but we had a last bit of 2009 sadness on Christmas Eve.  I didn’t want to write about it, on that Christmas when I was just starting to feel a bit of Christmas magic returned, but it was there in the background,  a dark shadow in the corner of the warm holiday glow.

On Christmas Eve, we took a second of our dogs to her final rest.  Anna, my adopted racing greyhound girl, was still bright-eyed and sweet at venerable thirteen, but her body finally failed her.  A disc in her back ruptured, and by the time we realized what had happened, her hindquarters were paralyzed and unfeeling and she could no longer rise to eat or drink or relieve herself.  Her large, clear, brown eyes were a mask of misery and, in consideration of her age and general health, there was nothing we could do to reasonably restore her to a bearable life.  On Christmas Eve, we gave her a final gift and released her from a life of pain.

It was a hard thing.  She was not a dog that you could get “close” to.  She was a gentle, quiet dog, with that inherent greyhound elegance and infinite patience.  But she was aloof.  Retired to her meant retired, and her world revolved around a soft place to lay her bones and good food to eat.

Nevertheless, I got accustomed to stepping over and around her slender but sprawling frame on the carpet.  I got used to her following us around like a gray ghost on the edge of family gatherings.  I got used to her silent, watchful presence.  And without her to announce dinnertime to us in her short, ringing bark, we often forget to feed our one remaining dog until well past the scheduled hour.  I was unprepared for the hole her absence has created.

We have so much more room in our house now.   The remaining member of our pack, our diminutive (in stature only), Jack Russell Terrier is parsimonious of space and resources, even if her personality is large enough to fill a room.  The big wire crates are gone,  the big water jug has been replaced by a modest bowl, and the economy-sized food bin is a sad relic, unnecessary in our new dog-reduced state.

But the spaciousness echoes with a bit of emptiness, and at night I still find myself stepping around the place on the floor, that place that seems still so warm with the memory of quiet gray dog, and a phase of my life that is slowly passing away.

December 28th, 2009 at 11:51 am
2 Responses to “And then, there was one”
  1. 1
    Steph Says:

    I’m so sorry, Bri. My heart goes out to you.

  2. 2
    Sara Says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.