Tonight my dog is still alive

Tomorrow she’ll be gone.

I love her so much. I love her like my sister, my daughter. I can’t bear it. I can’t bear her leaving me.

Everyone has a pet die. I lost my first pet, Little Red, when he was four years old and I was five. He was a guinea pig.
But you, you’re more than a pet. I love you like a sister, a daughter. I’ve never heard a story of anyone who lost her mind after she lost her dog. Maybe I’ll be the first.

We stood in the woods and I let her run through the knee high hay. I never wanted her to wear a leash. I didn’t even make her wear a collar when she ran away. We were equals and friends.

In August on our vacation in Maine I stared into her eyes and I saw more than what I’ve been taught that ‘animal’ should be. She looked at me with eyes that were perfectly knowing, perfectly capable of understanding. There’s a reason our dogs aren’t at eye level. We could never treat them the way we do, as our subordinates, if we had to stare in their eyes constantly.

I felt uncomfortable staring at her, realizing that she was so much more than I expected. And the strangest thing was that I could tell she was feeling the same emotion - discomfort at realizing that I, also, was able to understand her in a way that she’d never known I was capable of understanding. At first she looked away, awkwardly, and then she held my gaze and we stared at each other placidly for a long time.


“She just don’t look like a normal dog to me sometimes when I look inside there. “- Rocky Balboa on his dog

On a sunny day in November, Mungo ran across a field and I followed lazily with footsteps crunching on the frost. She turned and waited and gazed at me, her eyes exactly what a narcissistic human needs; to feel needed, wanted, loved.

I hugged her more than I've ever hugged any human. I gave her affection knowing that she could never pay me back in material things, but only with the things that mattered, like licks and tail wags. I made her wear a Santa hat at Christmas and she indulged me for a few seconds.

She was a tiny thing once, and I could hold her in one hand. The morning, nine years ago, when we drove her home from the farm where she was born, she got carsick and threw up on the seat. She didn’t know how to wear a leash. She was so adorable. I set her photo as the background on my flip phone and showed her off to my new friends from college.

Last summer she discovered toads. At nine years old she discovered toads. She ran away for the very first time to catch the toads in the creek.
I let her run away because I wanted her to enjoy life while she could. When I found her she looked at me with guilty eyes and muddy paws, but she didn’t even come when I said “come.” She just wagged her tail. She was enjoying life like only a dog can enjoy life. As Walt Whitman said of animals, “they don’t lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins. They don’t make me sick, discussing their duty to God.”

Carefree as she sometimes was, she wasn’t without emotions and loyalty. Last spring she stopped eating. She stopped eating after Dad died. You can say it’s not connected but I know it is.
Once, years before, she peed herself because she was so happy the day Dad got home from a long trip. She never did that for anyone else. For some reason she adored him more than the rest of us.

Maybe it was because they both knew how to live a good life. They both knew had to put others first and love everyone and somehow be happy doing that. That’s why they got along.

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