~Just a Dog~

It was just a dog.  She kept repeating the phrase over and over again in her mind to fight back the flood of emotions.  Just a dog, she told her mind.  Just another dumb dog.

Just thirteen years, that’s all the time she spent with him.  Just thirteen years spanning from college, to marriage, to children.  Just a dog who took up her whole entire full-sized bed, just a dog who danced with butterflies, and chased snowflakes.  She shook her head, trying to shake loose the vivid memories that were flooding her mind.

“Just a dog”, she reminded herself.

The children, her children, stared at her eyes after her husband hung up the phone, they watched her cracking heart as he said the word she was dreading the most.  She swallowed hard the lump of death that was forming in her throat, digging her nails into her palms to remind her that she couldn’t react, not in front of the kids.

“Just a dog,” she told herself again.

Just a runt of the litter, worm bag that no one else had wanted.  A pup her mother certainly was not happy about her bringing home.  Just a runt who turned into a 90 pound Great Dane mix that could no longer fit into her Sunfire.  Just a dog who she bought an SUV for, so they could continue their drives into the country, and the trips to agility practices. 

“Just a dog, not a human.”  She whispered.

Just a mutt who scared off the van full of strangers that had followed her home one night.  Just an animal who had always been there when everyone else turned away.  Just a dog who now was laying dead, waiting for her to take him away.

13 years, a life longer than ever expected.  13 years, not quite long enough.  Just a dog… that everyone loved.

She took a deep breath as she made the turn, she bit her lip to keep it all in.  Gripping the wheel tightly as the storms pounded outside her car, taking the dog for his last ride, past the trail they always walked, her and that dog.

Taking him past his favorite park, feeling his phantom breath on her chin, going so slow, so gentle to protect the memory from any harm.  Letting it all play out in her head, the movie of her and that dog.

Breathing slow and deep, calculated, counting the hours, the moments, begging the memories to wait until they could be alone. 

Until he was home, safe and sound, till the world was asleep, and he was secure under his tree.  Just her and her dog, saying soft one-sided goodbyes…

Until we meet again.

You were more than just a dog.

~Gus, 12/15/99 - 4/28/12 ~

9 responses to “~Just a Dog~

  1. What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful friend. Pets are so much more than ‘just animals’…that is so very true.

  2. Ouch. There are no other words for this. I am sorry for your loss. Thirteen years is a long time to spend with a furfriend, and he was clearly more than a furfriend to you. 🙂

    My thoughts are with you. May Gus fly free.

    Take care,


  3. My heart hurts for you, I know how this feels…I’m so sorry, hon. {Hugs}

  4. There is NO such thing as “just a dog.” They are our family, our friends, and sometimes our lifelines. My heart aches for you, Em. ❤

  5. Hannah Joy Curious

    Where love is involved, the word “just” becomes redundant. You’re not “just a human” Emily, therefore Gus was never “just a dog”.

    “Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened”, Anatole France wrote. So true.

    The man I love came complete with feline life partner, so I became a pet parent at 36. Our cat, who is 16, is at the heart of our little family unit and we wouldn’t want things any other way.

    It sounds like you have a lot of love to give, therefore hopefully you will consider sharing your life with another canine, when you feel ready…

  6. Oh, honey. I am so very, very sorry. It’s never just a dog, it’s always just family, and you’ve captured that beautifully.

  7. My dogs was sleeping next to me as I read this and I just wanted to nuzzle my face into her fur. I’m so sorry for your loss it is never easy to lose a good friend.

  8. Pingback: NaBloPoMo~ Over, or is it? | Coffee and Spellcheck

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