What is it to have a dog?
To be loved. Unconditionally.
To be greeted. With excitement. Always.
To be looked upon with trust and loyalty.
To have companionship.
We always had a dog growing up. And I remember each time we had to say goodbye.
But yesterday was the first time I had to say goodbye to one of my very own. Not my parents’ dog. My dog.
I got Ebi and Ginger, affectionately referred to as “the girls”, 14 years ago. I knew Ebi was mine before she was even born – I staked my claim on the runt. And that was her. After being told that Beagles do better in pairs, it didn’t take much convincing to get two. And there was Ginger.
Both so tiny.
What a character Ebi turned out to be – snored so loudly, eating anything she could, humping anything she could. Paul and I often joked that she was either an angry old man or a chain-smoking hooker in her past life.
But she was also such a love. Gentle, sweet, quiet.
She was everything I ever wanted in a dog.
And up until 5 days ago, I couldn’t imagine life without her. But then her balance was off, her breathing was labored, and she lost her appetite (unthinkable for a Beagle.) Blood work and x-rays showed a massive tumor on her lung. Malignant and inoperable.
And just like that, I had to make the hardest decision I have ever been faced with.
And now she’s gone.
Ginger, my other love, has always been jealous of Ebi. But now, without her…she’s lost. She looks for her. Looks at me, with curiosity and depressed eyes.
And it’s surreal. No more separating food bowls, no more fighting for my lap, no more placing the mail underneath my arm because both hands were occupied by a leash.
Ebi and Ginger. Ginger and Ebi. Littermates. They’ve never known anything other than each other. And now there is only one.
It comes with such an unforgiving sadness and an ache that feels like it will never go away.
My dear sweet, Ebi. 14 precious years. And not enough for me. I miss you so much. You grabbed a piece of my heart from day one and never let go. I hope you’re somewhere playing hockey with beetle bugs and eating as much popcorn as your heart desires.
Your purple collar sits on my desk.