No matter how much I talk about the loss of my dog, only dog owners will relate to my pain and my love. But still, I will write this, because my Tina deserves to be remembered every day and forever, and maybe it will ease your pain too.
On the 17th of October, 2015, my dog Tina passed away. She was 16 years and 2 months old.
Let’s go back to early September, 1999. It was still a beautiful summer day and my father walked in with a little fur ball that still couldn’t walk without falling on her face and wiggling her little tail because that’s what puppies do right? And yet I was terrified. However it took me a couple of days to get used to Tina because simply I had no choice.She was always stealing my food, licking my face in my sleep, chewing on my toys, you know, dog stuff. And soon enough, we became inseparable for 16 years. She was my bestest friend in the whole wide world. When I’m happy, she’d wiggle her tail even though she doesn’t understand what I’m happy about. But I’m happy and that’s what mattered to her. And when I would cry, she would sit on my lap and lick my tears away and I stop being sad, because how can you be sad when there’s a fuzzy dog jumping in your lap trying to make you happy?
I would always hug her and kiss her and let her lick my face, and non-dog owners would ask me mortified “How can you do that? How can you let her lick you? How do you even allow her in the house?” I mean, HOW CAN YOU NOT??? Why would you get a dog if you don’t treat them like family? Pets are not accessories! Anyway, Tina was more than family to me. Growing up, I was the youngest at home with no close relatives or real friends. So Tina was everything. We were both growing up together side by side and we were always watching out for each other.
When Tina turned 14, she started slowing down. She would trip sometimes while walking or bump into stuff, she was running out of energy fast but she was still as happy as ever. Happy and slow. And I was happy too as long as her nose was wet and her tail wiggling. As she grew older, she got slower and weaker (she got sick in her last 2 weeks, she developed Canine Cognitive Dysfunction which is Alzheimer’s for dogs). Those last 2 weeks were really hard. She’d stay awake all night barking and howling like a wolf and I had to keep holding her and caressing her, making her feel safe. Her vet told me it was time to consider putting her to rest because it’s only suffering down this road. But she wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready. She was still walking and eating and I wanted to hold on to her as long as I could.
Her last 3 days were the hardest. On the 15th of October I woke up as usual at 5:30 AM but she couldn’t get up. She was vomiting and shaking and I knew it was happening, what I always feared. I cancelled everything I had and I stayed home with her, holding her to my chest and helping her. At this point, she stopped eating and drinking and moving but she was still opening her eyes. On Saturday the 17th, I knew I was torturing her and that I should let her rest. I told my father that I’m ready and he arranged everything with our Vet. A couple of hours later he helped her pass through doggy heaven where she is young and strong again. I can’t even begin to describe the pain you feel at that moment. It’s a different kind of pain. A pain you only feel when you lose your 16 years old dog. I mean, I’ve been through family death but this pain is different and only dog owners will feel it.
Her last day
Actually, I feel bad for people who’ve never had a dog in their lives. They have never experienced the unconditional, pure love a dog has to offer. The happiness you feel when you hold your dog to your chest when you’re sad, when they’d still run to you after you’ve left them all day alone, when they won’t stop licking your face and all you can do is laugh, when you know they’re always next to you, when their silence is enough to help you through hard times.
It’s been a little more than a month and I still cry daily at random times. I still hear her paws on the floor. I still hear her barks every now and then as if she’s right next to me. I still come home sometimes and think that she’ll be waiting on the door. I guess time will heal.
We all wish dogs could live forever, because they really deserve it. They’re the most amazing creatures on Earth and you learn so much with them. If I were to grow up without my dog, I think I would be a really different person, probably for the worse. Dog owners will understand my long post and for the rest, I hope you experience this kind of love someday.