My Last Dinner with my Friend
No matter how much I struggle while writing this blog, it does not compare to my friend’s struggles. In the past few weeks our family dog of almost 14 years has gone through a transformation of a vibrant family member to struggling in just walking. Our usual Sunday family dinners were somber tonight. This was our last with our family member. She doesn’t eat and struggles to walk across the room. Tomorrow we will be saying good bye to her in person but in our hearts she has changed our lives.
Thirteen years ago I remember vividly … I came home from work and headed to our parents place. As I stood in the kitchen, in came my little 12 year old brother with a big smile. Following him my parents smiles lit up the room as in my dad’s arms was an adorable little german shepherd puppy. My little brother and I spent the whole night playing with our new family member and coming up with names. I was an adult and he was a little boy but we both were little kids chasing this puppy we named Whisper.
She brought the family together as our first pet and her spirit was quite infectious. One morning she knocked over a dozen eggs and pooped yellow for days. Thanksgiving she made her self comfortable in the kitchen finishing up our turkey dinner. She never was mistreated but loved. Even during mischievous times her eyes made it impossible to be angry.
Eventually my brother and I taught her to play goalie during our hockey games in the backyard. She loved it so much that upon hearing the word “hockey” she would bolt to the back door waiting for another pick-up game. Our games were wild as all three kids … me at 29, my brother at 14 and whisper at 2 would run in the house muddy and bloody from another game in the back. The hockey sticks and tennis balls are still sitting on the wall outside my place.
Whisper never was a mean animal often playing with my cat and eventually our new little maltese. The last two years she has been amazing with my niece, letting the baby sit on her, pull her ears and pretty much use her as a punching bag. Whisper would just smile and lay back. My niece named her “foo foo”.
Whisper learned the difference in our dad’s shoes. Sandals went on and she ran to the back for backyard fun, regular shoes mean front door and walk around the block. Smart animal and a great friend.
A few years back I went through a bad time with depression and my friend sat by me on every visit to my folks. No one knew what was happening on the inside but she did and she made sure I had comfort in someone. No words, just a friend sitting next to me at every opportunity. Licking my face and hands and nudging me in fun. Seeing her tonight emotionally kills me because as she was there for me I can only be there for her in mild ways. The last few days I try to sit by her and scratch her favorite spots. She doesn’t make eye contact any more. And won’t let me take any pictures.
For tonight’s dinner our dad didn’t yell at us when we fed her off the table in fact he joined in. Him and her are best friends and she hasn’t left his side in 13 years. Until tomorrow. Our dad is one of those tough guys with no emotion but I can’t imagine what he is going through right now on his final walk with her as I write this blog. I snuck in to hang out with her and walked in on my parents about to take her for her final walk. Due to the redness in my eyes our dad asked me if I was sleeping, I nodded in agreement but we both knew better. Whisper was standing by the front door and stumbled outside almost falling. This week her kidneys and back legs gave out. But tomorrow it will all go away.
I have spent too much time working and missed a lot of opportunity to spend time with her. And I’m sad for it. She doesn’t cry just moans when she moves and now she bleeds. To see such a wonderful creature struggle is sad beyond control. My night tonight will be spent laying next her. I want to make sure she understands that what we gave her doesn’t compare to what she gave us.
The last few days I kept busy working but haven’t stopped thinking about her since seeing her struggle so badly last week and on our conclusion to finalize it this Monday. I worked every day, shot and edited but limited my communication with people. I did not sleep. Only napping when my body needed it. But tonight I couldn’t push it all away. After our shoot my drive to dinner was very emotional as I tried to compose myself before arriving. Now as the final night falls for my friend the emotions are greater. My struggles do not compare to her’s, I can’t imagine what she is going through. Tomorrow my friend will be loved and spoiled with burgers and treats and hugs and kisses.
Then at 5pm we take her to the doctor for our final good byes. Having a family pet was a new experience for us all and it brought us so close together. Now we are going through the sad part of saying good bye. And again this week has brought us even closer together. Whisper upon her arrival in our lives changed us for the better and now as she leaves us, she will change us again in a meaningful way. For that I have to say thank you and I love you my friend.