I sat at the storm door with the glass cleaner and paper towels in my hand, staring at the slobber marks for a good two or three minutes. I wasn’t sure that I really wanted them gone.
They were one last reminder of Louis, my black lab mix who died a week ago.
But I did it. And I cried. Again.
It was a week ago today that I came home from the gym to find Louis stuck on the landing of our stairs. He could no longer get up and down, so I had to carry him. Bawled my head off afterward.
Then I spent some time on the phone with my husband, making that crappy ass decision that no pet owner wants to make. My oldest daughter stopped over to say goodbye. I did a FaceTime with my other daughter, who is away at college, so she could see the dog she selected from a litter of 13 puppies at a makeshift shelter in Bay St. Louis, Miss. after Hurricane Katrina. The six-year-old came home from school, and though he didn’t quite get how we knew Louis was going to die, he said goodbye and went to a neighbor’s house to play.
Then there was my 18-year-old son, Josh. He was the closest to Louis. He would annoy me CONSTANTLY with pleas to “come and see Louis” because “he’s so cute”. Louis would simply be laying somewhere not doing a damn thing but being a dog. But Josh loved him more than anything else in his life, I think.
So when Josh walked in the door after school and immediately started hugging Louis and crying, I was toast. There is absolutely no worse feeling than watching your child feel such a deep emotional pain. Especially a child who rarely shows much emotion. This went on for about 10 minutes before my husband and I had to tell him it was time to go. All three of us were with Louis as he passed.
There are so many constant reminders in my house of this dog who really was not very well behaved and often did things that made us angry. But, you know, dogs.
I expect him to go berzerk when the mail carrier approaches the house.
I want him to greet me at the back door, licking me, with his tail wagging excitedly as if I’ve been gone for years.
I expect him to lay at my feet on my bed, even though it made for awkward sleeping.
I still worry about leaving food on the counter, because he would eat anything left out. Anything. He ate an entire pan of roasted cauliflower and asparagus from the stove top not long ago.
His food dish is still half full in its place on the kitchen floor because, well, we’re just not ready.
The cushions on the “new” couch are still smashed and ruined from him laying on top of them.
The window bench seat he often occupied is oddly neat and clean.
I think the cat even misses him.
Dogs are the best. Even when they’re the worst.