Musings on the death of a beloved pet
I wrote this, three months after the death of my little chihuahua, Astra.
The pain was still pretty raw and this story was an attempt at catharsis.
Some of the details are too close for comfort and it's still hard for me to read.
Father always warned me about keeping pets.
"You get too attached to them." he’d say. "Then you have to let them go. their lives are so short."
I wish I’d listened. I wouldn’t be feeling like this.
I remember the day I brought Nena home. Her previous owner had kept her for breeding but after a couple of still-births, the last by caesarian, he decided she wasn’t worth the house room.
"She’s a nice specimen, though." he said.
She didn’t resist as I put her lead on and led her to the car. She just watched me with those big brown eyes, curled up on the rear seat.
She settled in quickly and soon found her favourite place on the sofa, her chin resting on my leg while I stroked her head. She knew she was safe and began to come out of her shell.
Guilty about having to leave her alone for hours, I soon bought Boris to keep her company. He’s not the brightest, but he’s going to miss her too.
The night she died, I sensed it was coming. I carried her upstairs and lay her on the bed beside me. She was panting for breath.
Around 2am, her breathing slowed, then finally ceased. I held her limp body in my arms and cried.
I buried her in the garden, under the trees.
But now, weeks on, the grief returns unbidden. With the slightest provocation, seeing her photograph on the sideboard or finding her favourite toy where Boris has dropped it, I fall apart again.
A lump rises in my throat, my eyes begin to burn, as if someone were sticking hot needles in them and I am overcome with racking sobs. The tears well up and I feel them coursing down my cheeks. I don’t care.
It passes and I reach for a tissue, wiping my face dry. I crumple it in my hand then look down at it, moist and red.
I call Boris and he rushes to my side, eager to please. I ruffle his hair and he inclines his head to offer me his neck. I gratefully accept and lose myself in the oblivion his blood brings. But carefully, I don’t want to lose another pet so soon after the last.