Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Heavy Hearted

This one's for Jack.

Jack was a good friend of mine, and, at times in his life, has been my baby brother, my conjoined twin, my wise old uncle and my shuffling but adorable grandfather.

They story of his coming to my house were not especially exciting really. I was about 5 and I asked my dad if I could have a penguin to be told "sorry son, you can't have a penguin" to which I replied "... well, can I have a dog then?"

"I'm sure we can sort something out."

Jack was the runt of the litter and would have been put up for adoption or anaesthatised into oblivion had it not been for my asking for a dog. We were given him for nothing, receiving him as something barely bigger than a potato and loving him from the word go.

Over the past few years I haven't given him as much attention as I suppose I should have and it seems a bit late to say sorry, but I can't say that I'm not. I guess I just got into the habbit of thinking he'd be around forever. I was, very sadly, mistaken.

For a few months he's not really been himself, a little more slothenly I guess, but hey, he was a pretty old dog and it was something I was coming to accept. As of a few days ago he wasn't eating so well, he didn't want to go for walks and he had exceptional difficulty in getting up the stairs.

This morning I woke up to be told that he was really bad, so bad that my parents were calling the vet to schedule an appointment for having him put down.

I came downstairs to find him in his basket in a state of living rigor-mortis, his head back at an unnatural angle, his breathing shallow and tight and, if left alone for more than a few moments he would resort to quietly yelping until someone would come to him. I thought he might be doing it out of fear to start with, he's never liked being alone, but I realised after a while that there was something terminally wrong.

I was asked to stay with him while my dad ferried my sister to school. I sat on the floor, quietly weeping, stroking him for more my comfort than his, unsure of if he even realised I was there. He started yelping despite the fact I was trying to make myself as known as possible, my already free flowing tears increasing in the scope of their flow.

I started talking to him, knowing he probably wouldn't last until the vet's surgery opened, asking him to please just wait for my dad to come back, knowing my dad would probably appreciate being there when it happened. I realised that I shouldn't be so selfish, I told him that if he really had to go then he shouldn't let me or anyone else stop him.

And then he stopped breathing.

I kept stroking him for a while, thinking I was making it up, hoping he might start again soon. I know it was naive, but I refused to believe it. I broke down in earnest as I saw his head begin to loll and his tongue start to protude, and trecked to the bathroom for some toilet paper to cdry my eyes and blow my nose.

Coming back I realised I ought to do something a little more meaningful and grabbed a glass of apple juice, stood beside the bed where he lay and said simply, "Jack, you were a good dog and I'd be lying if I said I'm not going to miss you. I'm sorry that you had to go, but goodbye." And i stood there and drank to his poor, ancient little canine body and to anything left of him that might have a semblance of ears to hear.

Then he started to twitch.

His head pulled up and his jaws tighten as he opened, a faint gurgling coming from his throat as what was left of his breath was forced from his lungs. I then decided that there is no God, slammed my empty glass into the sink and, hands placed on the work top, wailed without remorse. I begged him to stop but he just wouldn't listen.

I watched for a while, waiting for it to stop. During this unholy ordeal his head had slipped from its pillow to rest hanging over the edge of his basket, and, thinking that I could not let him lie there so undignified, I raised his head back to the pillow only to watch it slip slowly down again. Again I tried and again he fell. Being unable to take it anymore; the death of my dog, my inability to do anything right, I just sat there on the floor and cried what there was left to cry out of me.

I waited with dread for my dad to come home. I didn't want to have to tell him the news, but I guess it was something I had to do. He came in and I apologised that he was a little late. His tears awakened mine anew and I realise now that I am not as emo as I thought I was. I get my ability to cry from my dad. There is something so passionate, so forceful about it and, despite the redened eyes and sniffly nose, something beautiful about it. I found myself hoping that there would be someone out there who would cry like that for me when I go.

I got myself cleaned up and headed off for school as my dad closed Jack's eyes and swaddled him in blankets and spare tea-towels. Yea, I went to school, in the state that I was on, only a pair of black sunglasses to seperate me from the rest of the world.

If anyone at school asked me why I was wearing them I told them. I didn't feel ashamed in telling them I'd being crying because my dog died, and no one else should ever feel any embaressment over it either.

And so, that's it I guess. School ended, I came here and started writing this.

So, in closing:

Rest in peace, friend; you may not have been the greatest penguin their ever was, but you were one hell of a good dog.

1 comment:

V. said...

Your blogs always leaves me speachless..

I'm.. So so sorry about your dog.. I just don't know what to say..

But I've always wanted to say, that you're Fandabulous Joe [: