Friday, December 04, 2009

Doggy December - Day 5 - Eulogy

The morning after Tess's death was especially sad and difficult. I woke up around 4.30am and could hear the birds singing and see it gradually getting lighter outside. Sapphire woke up wimpering and came into our bed for a while, sucking down her milk and cuddling with us. When LC took her back to her cot, it was my turn to sob.

Tess’s tennis ball (half-eaten, brown with dirt, tatty from biting) lay outside on the patio. It was the saddest sight ever. I walked outside and automatically looked around for her speckly body, wagging stump of a tail and cheeky black-patched eyes. No such luck. It was all I could do to stop myself from putting the murky ball to my lips. I didn't, but instead gently placed it in the bin.

The garden felt so very empty. I knew that it would be a long time before it became a special place again. Even longer before we automatically stopped looking for her when we went outside.

Later that morning, as I sat at my desk dabbing at my eyes, LC sent me an email. This is what he wrote:

Obituary for Tess, Blue Heeler.

Born April 1995 Hayes Creek, Northern Territory Died April 2, 2001, Trinity Gardens, South Australia.

True heart, beautiful and free spirit, loyal friend and family member.

Your love was given solely and abundantly to us both willingly and unconditionally, but that love and the desire to protect us had become a danger to others, and so we made the most difficult and saddest decision of our lives - to end yours.

It’s only now you are gone that we truly understand what you meant to us. Part of our family is missing. You have left a void in our lives - a wound that we hope that time will heal, leaving us with the memory of that beautiful sparkling presence and that playful and effervescent personality.

We feel great guilt and immense sadness, for your only fault was to be true to your own nature. All you wanted was to be with, and to share the lives of those that you loved. Yet we could not provide that in the way that you deserved.

You enriched our lives is so many ways. You made us laugh with your cavorting and your 'happy laps' when we returned from work. You always seemed to understand our times of sadness or ill health and demonstrated your concern by being quiet and nearby. You were never destructive or ill-tempered. You shrugged off punishment and raised voices with that characteristic shake of the head and flapping of ears. We tried to stop your licking which was part of your overzealous enthusiasm for showing affection - but one may as well have attempted to turn back the tide!

We will listen for the patter of your paws as you make your way to our bedroom to bound upon the bed and rest your paw and head on our chest to gaze adoringly into our faces - in vain.

You will live in our memory always. We treasure the time that we had with you and thank you for all that you gave to us.

We love you Tess. Please forgive us.

He wrote that eight and a half years ago and it still has the impact of a rock-solid punch to the chest.


Wandering Justin said...

This is a really moving tribute. To me, pets are essential to the family. You made me think of all my great furry friends of the past - and gave me an extra reminder to always appreciate the one I have now.

Baino said...

It's hard enough putting and old or ailing dog to sleep let alone a healthy happy one. Very sad but you did the right thing Kath. It would have been a matter of time before she did some real damage.

Kath Lockett said...

Thanks Justin and Baino.

River said...

Those words certainly do have an impact. Even on me, who didn't know Tess except through these pages.
My prepaid hours are due to expire soon...
Any minute now....

Cat J B said...

I am not a dog person but I do understand people who are. What a moving series of posts, she looks like she was a sweetie from the start. A difficult decision, but the right one, methinks.

mreis2121! said...

Sorry to hear about your dog. great piece...reminded me to not take for granted that my dog is around and appreciate it. thanks