Since February, I have been a weekly volunteer at the local animal shelter to help out in one of the cat rooms. My Friday morning usually consists of getting Reza to school, dropping off Josh at work and then heading over to the shelter for my shift. I call these days my “kitty therapy” day. I didn’t expect the rewards that came from volunteering with these furry nuggets but I accept them nonetheless.
I park in the back of the building, getting there around 9 a.m., around the same time they allow the shelter dogs to come out to play in the fenced enclosures outside. I rarely go into the dog section because it bums me out but I stopped that morning, to watch the enthusiasm of barks and wagging tails. Amongst the bunch of pups there were several feisty little chihuahua and toy breed mixes, happily dishing their attitude to their larger counterparts. I am all smiles and then it hits me. It has been almost two years since I had to let Nena go. That was two years ago today.
While time has healed a lot of the wounds from her absence, watching all those little guys made me realize that I am still, not ready to be a dog owner. Granted, we aren’t in the space where it would be right.. small place, leases, clauses, etc. But even if I did have the space for it, I am just nowhere ready to be a dog owner and don’t know if I ever will be. I had to walk away before the tears started coming out.
When you first bring these furry critters into your family, you’re never prepared for the idea that as fast as they arrive, there is also the imminent departure. The hole and the absence, the heartache of companionship that is no more. No one prepared me for the possibility of illnesses and the fact you may have to make decisions for them that will alter your and their lives forever.
To this day, I still carry a lot of guilt over her euthanasia. I let my emotions get the best of me so much that I regret the way I handled myself in the process. I chose to not be there because I couldn’t handle it. I let my emotions and personal depression get the best of me. Part of me really wishes I could back to do it all over. She gave me 13 years and I couldn’t even give her my hand in her final moments. I have to live with that.
Every morning I sit at my desk and her empty bed sits at my feet. The cats refuse to go near it. I know it’s silly to keep things like that around to some people, but I can’t help but feel a little comfort of the idea that something is still there. A place for her should her little pooch specter decides she wants to come home. It reminds me of our times together, to think about my decisions and how they affect others, to feel a little reminder that once there was someone small, that barked a lot, bit the mail lady, snuggled my newborn and loved me.