If you’re still fragile, please skip this post if you are prone to tears and crying at sad things. This post is about pet loss and I would hate to trigger any one of you but I needed to share this today.
10 years ago this past November, the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend, my husband and I met for the first time. We worked together and upon returning to work that morning, we discovered our work stations had been relocated. Right next to each other. At first, we did not speak. Eventually, as I put up my cubicle paraphernalia, a conversation began. Most likely over politics or something snarky. The next few days had us emailing back and forth furiously, practically IM’ing each other as we did our work. Side by side.
Finally, one afternoon, as he lamented about going home to roommates for another boring night, I joked about my ability to go home and have a fancy steak dinner with Merlot all to myself in the silence of a quiet apartment. He made a comment about how a steak dinner sounded fabulous. Within the next few minutes, I had dinner company. For a meal I had no intention of cooking that morning. Crap. I had to go the store. After work, I raced to the store as he went to run errands of his own.
We had an awesome dinner. Our second date was later that same week. He took me on a tour of Athens in his beat up Nissan.
Later that night, I met Oscar.
Oscar had reddish brown fur and had to approve of any potential girlfriends. You see, if you didn’t pass the Oscar test, well, you just had to part ways. Oscar immediately snuggled up to me and in just a few weeks, cuddled with me like I had been there all the time.
Oscar was my first brush with a small dog as I had grown up with Akitas, a Rottweiler, and a Chow/Lab mix. I had never met a dachshund before. But it was love at first sight.
We would take long drives in the country with him to go “cow hunting” Oscar would bark and growl at the cows, licking the window in his futile attempt to reach the huge animals.
He wasn’t very happy when Chris moved in with me though. See, we weren’t supposed to have pets at the apartment complex in which I lived. We had to hide him, smuggle him to the park in laundry baskets, praying he wouldn’t bark when he was home. I remember one harrowing time when my Landlady popped over unexpectedly, barging into our apartment to talk to me about a neighbor’s aggressive behavior. I did not have time to put the dog up and prayed so hard he wouldn’t just randomly wander into the living room. He didn’t and all was well.
One of Oscar’s favorite things to do during this time was to get down in the middle of the night and crap on the floor on my side of the bed. Nothing says I hate you quite like leaving a pile of poop for your human to slip on the the morning. Thankfully he grew out of this after we moved to a pet friendly apartment not too long afterward.
In October 2002, we moved to South Carolina. While there, Oscar became very depressed. He even stopped playing with us. A small dog next door started coming over and playing with me. I asked the neighbors if she was indeed theirs. She was and I implored them to consider letting us take her in if they ever decided to give her up. Just a few months later, Maggie came to live with us and Oscar began to perk up now that he had a buddy with which to play. It was awesome to see him perk up and almost become as playful as he had been when I first met him.
Then we became pregnant.
Dachshunds are notoriously maternal. Oscar was no exception to this rule. His anxiety levels went through the roof anytime we moved the kids as if he were convinced we were incapable of taking care of the little things. Even this past week he was still yipping every time our son would climb in his high chair or we would move the chair.
Oscar has been my husband’s best friend for almost 12 years now. He has seen both of us through quite a bit. Oscar would cuddle with you if he knew you weren’t feeling well. He loved playing with laser pointers, balls, and Maggie. He tolerated the kids yanking on his ears, poking, and prodding him.
This morning, after a difficult talk, we decided to have Oscar put to sleep.
Oscar has been occasionally yelping since Christmas if we tried to pick him up. Last night, he would not even let us touch him. We managed to get an aspirin in him and he seemed to perk up for a bit. But this morning – oh, this morning. He could barely move. If you touched him anywhere, he yelped and whined. I took him outside and after going, he snuck away and tried to crawl under the bushes after looking up at me with very sad eyes. His entire body shook. (Cue the tears)
Oscar was not just a pet. He was a friend. He was my husband’s best friend. He was a great friend to my children, to me, and to numerous others who knew him. He was a playful, loving soul who lived a long good life. Oscar was a very beloved member of our family.
So I sit here now, wiping away tears, mourning the loss of a family member. I have had an ugly cry this morning – that guttural, deep, I can’t friggin help it or make it stop cry. I wailed. I clutched the entertainment center for support as these cries ripped forth from my depths of my very being – our almost five year old asking me from the couch why I was crying despite us having just talked with them about what was going to happen this morning.
I know that cry won’t be the last. I also know life will go on. But for now? Here? It’s stopped as Oscar’s chair lies strangely vacant. As Maggie lies quietly on the back of the couch, tear stains around her eyes. One of the hardest parts after Oscar’s death was when my husband came home and Maggie immediately started to look for Oscar to come in behind him. She’s been very quiet and reserved ever since Oscar failed to return.
This afternoon we will take the kids over to Nana & Papa’s where Oscar has been laid to rest. They got to say goodbye to him before my husband took him to the Vet this morning. We’ve talked with him about death and our beliefs. They took the initial news very hard but seem to be recovering okay. We have let them know they may have feelings that come and go. That it’s okay to cry. That it’s okay to be angry. And we want them to talk to us about how they feel.
I want to curl up in our bed and go back to sleep. Because right now? Right now fucking hurts. And I just want our Oscar Meyer Wiener back.