on the passing of a friend*
Wednesday night, and Dianne and Doreen were at our house rehearsing for a gig at His Place. We had finished up and were standing in the kitchen talking. Bo was doing his usual routine, trying to convince somebody, anybody, everybody to go to “that cabinet” – the one where he knew the dog treats were stored. I was pretending to be him – in an imaginary Bo voice I said “oh come on you guys. Somebody just open the cabinet, I’ll take care of the rest. Give me a break – I won’t be around much longer, you know.” I can’t describe to you how horrible I felt when I came home Thursday and went to let him out of his kennel. I opened the door and he didn’t move. Not all that unusual – at 15 years old, he was almost completely deaf and slept very soundly. Sometimes he was very hard to wake up. I patted him. Nothing. I patted him more, tapped him. Nothing. I started to get worried and looked to see if he was breathing. I couldn’t see any movement so I laid my hand on his side. No motion. I was feeling pretty sick by that time. He was facing into his kennel and I couldn’t see his head – so I pulled the top off his kennel… and I knew for sure. I slumped over next to his kennel and started sobbing. It took me a few minutes to get composed enough to call Judy, and when she answered I couldn’t talk again. She immediately knew something was wrong but didn’t know what. I was finally able to croak out “Bo’s gone.” She closed the store and came home immediately. We did a lot of crying that night. By the time she got home I had cleaned him up a bit. I won’t go into the details. I really would rather forget them. I just want to remember him as Brown Thing. He was a nuisance, but I somehow couldn’t resist becoming fond of him. I knew Judy was going to be devastated, but I had no clue it was going to hit me this hard. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to lose a human family member. We wrapped him up in an old down comforter that we had used to cover his kennel (the basement gets a little chilly when the temps are sub-zero outside) and took him to the vet’s to be cremated. That’s it. He’s gone. Nothing but memories now. It hurts. I think you know how it hurts. Even now, almost 4 months later I sometimes catch myself thinking “I’d better get home and take care of Bo…” then I remember and feel that familiar sting in the corner of my eyes.
(*based on an email to a friend.)