He woke up early and we went outside, but I wasn’t ready to give him breakfast, because Neil was going to come over to have breakfast with us and I was going to let Otis have biscuits and gravy as his last meal. But Otis was restless and expecting to eat, so I made him some scrambled eggs with peanut butter and cheese, which he was really into. Neil came over a little before 10:00 and we cooked breakfast together, and then lucky Otis got to eat a second breakfast of biscuits and gravy.
After breakfast Neil inked up Otis’s right paw and took paw prints, one for each of us. I’m going to frame mine and may also use it for a tattoo. Quasi-boyfriend suggested that I get the tattoo on my hip, where Otis liked to snuggle up against me. I like that idea.
At noon it was time to leave for the vet. When we opened the backdoor a bell was ringing at a church nearby. “It tolls for thee, Otis,” I said, because black humor is sometimes the only way to get through these things. I drove to the vet while Neil held Otis on his lap.
When we arrived everyone was super nice and they quickly ushered us into a room so we wouldn’t have to sit out in the lobby. A vet tech brought in a blanket, a small lamp, and a candle, and turned off the overhead light. It was very cozy and relaxing, and Otis lay down on the blanket and started dozing off before he was even sedated. Once they administered the injection he went quickly — it only took maybe a minute. Neil and I stayed with him for a little while afterward. We were both extremely emotional and did a lot of crying.
When we got home we had a cocktail and sat on the couch and talked for a bit. Then Neil went home and I started on a deep clean of my bedroom, which is going to include vacuuming, shampooing the carpet, and rearranging some furniture. Then quasi-boyfriend came over for a bit and we ate dinner, and now here I am. I feel very, very tired. It has been a very draining day.
It’s still hard to wrap my head around the fact that he’s gone. Earlier I thought I heard his tags jingling in the bedroom, but of course I didn’t. I know that we did the right thing but it still just feels so surreal for him to not be here anymore.
Neil’s writing about this whole thing has been so much more eloquent than mine. I feel like all I can do is recount facts. I don’t have words to really talk about the actual experience of it, the anxiety leading up to it and the mixture of relief and horrible grief when it was over. It’s devastating to lose someone who’s such an important piece of your daily life. Even though I’m glad that he’s no longer suffering — that he will no longer wander lost around the house or yard, that he will no longer run into things that he can’t see, that he will no longer howl incessantly while I’m away, that he will no longer be leading a life devoid of all the pleasures he used to know — I still miss him so much. I wish I could hold him one more time. I wish I had one more night to feel him snuggled against me in bed.
Otis, you were the first dog I ever had as an adult, and you were the best one I could have asked for. You brought so much joy to me, to Neil, and to everyone who met you. It was a privilege to be your mom for these past seven years. Thank you for loving me. I sure loved you. So much.