Thursday, October 09, 2003

Making Adjustments

Sigh. You never really see what someone (or something) means and how much they're in your life until they're gone.

It's so weird to not have to let my dog out in the morning. It's too quiet and still when I come home from work and nobody's there to greet me and wag their tail. I don't have to go for a walk after work and at night before bed, or out to the park on the weekends (I figure I will reclaim about 10-11 hours a week this way). Nobody's going to wake me up on the weekend because they want to go out for a walk, or sleep at the foot of my bed and crowd me over to one side. Even when she was sleeping, I could feel her presence in the house. Now it's just me, and the house is empty everywhere I'm not.

There's nobody there to eat my table scraps at dinner. Then again, Astra was never the brightest dog (I affectionately called her my "dumb dog") - if I tossed food at her, she wouldn't catch it in her mouth, instead she'd let it hit her in the nose and fall to the floor, where she'd finally decide whether it was food or not. Dumb dog.

The two hardest times I had with the whole situation were Sunday night when I was writing my first entry below (not when it happened - I was probably still in shock at the quickness and finality of the situation), and then Monday afternoon when I left the vet's office after dropping her off. I talked to the vet and gave him the final update on what happened, and then I thanked him for all he had done over the years. I started to choke up a bit when he thanked me for all that I did for Astra.

I decided on a communal burial for Astra. For an extra $100 I could have had her ashes back in an urn, but I didn't need that extra closure. Heck, with all her hair that's still around the house I could hold a symbolic cremation in my back yard. The other option (totally unofficially) would have been if I wanted to bury her, the vet would have accommodated that with some burial bags. So somewhere in the city, she'll join all the pets who were lucky enough to find a family that loved them and took care of them.

We had our first family dog, Peanuts (a beagle mix), from 1971-1987, and she went with us from Chicago to New Jersey to Houston. Then I got Astra (a spaniel mix) after I graduated and started working, and I had her all to myself from 1989-2003 in Houston. Somewhere around 2020 I'll have to go through this all over again, probably as a another family dog.

And sometime in the spring or so, after I've gotten my house cleaned up and the carpets steam-cleaned and my car detailed, I'll start over again. So far I'm 2 for 2 in getting a great dog from the SPCA, both of them mutts. That's where I'll start looking next time for that dog that catches my eye and says "I'm yours, please take me home."

No comments: