Today marks 2 months since the unexpected passing of my little angel, Dorian. Some days, when I think about her, I smile and am overcome with warm, and often funny, memories of her personality and hijinks. Other days, I feel like someone has punched me in the gut, it hurts so badly to be without her. And there are the days when one of these feelings is sharply followed by the next. Moving forward from the loss of a pet is not easy – not one bit.
Most of you have never met my precious girl, but some of you may have seen glimpses of her through my social media and even here, on this blog. Dori was 8 years young, a red miniature dachshund who had started sprouting gray hairs on her paws and chin within this last year (her “cinnamon sugar” look, we liked to call it). From the day I brought her home as a puppy, her zesty spirit and personality shined through immediately. And she never stopped shining.
Some of Dori’s favorite things in life were being with her grandparents, slobbering through a peanut butter-stuffed Kong, and being showered with kisses and special neck scratches before burrowing beside us underneath a blanket or our hoodies. I enjoyed countless walks and hikes with her through the years, even more so once her Papa entered our lives 3.5 years ago. She was our fierce defender against small children, maintenance men, and dogs 1.5 – 5 times her size. She was our sheet-stealing furnace on nights both hot and cold. We even called her The Empress around the house because that’s exactly how she acted (any dachshund parents will understand) and had a goofy voice for her royal narrations.
My little booger butt gave me years of immeasurable happiness, comfort, laughter, and life lessons. In so many ways, she completed me. It was us against the world, at times. Being without her feels surreal. There are moments when I want her back so badly my mind turns to numbness to dull the pain. Then, there are moments when I feel an odd sense of relief knowing her little body isn’t struggling anymore and there’s nothing she or I must be afraid of, when it comes to her health and safety. She’s at peace. We’re just waiting to find a bit of that, ourselves.
Here is a piece I wrote shortly after that fateful day. Thank you for reading and, to all the grieving fur baby parents out there: take care of yourselves. You are not alone.
Thank you, mind, for not completely falling apart on the day we lost our little girl.
Thank you, mind, for still commanding my legs to walk, my lungs to breathe, and my arms to reach for comfort.
Thank you, mind, for accepting the vet’s warm hug and for verbalizing the gratitude I feel for everything she did to try and save my princess.
Thank you, mind, for the tears that cascaded that day and still come days later. They help put my feelings into a language even my little sweetheart could understand, when she would lick my face and curl up beside me to comfort me.
Thank you, mind, for the robotic, autopilot mode that gets me out of bed in the morning, unloads the dishwasher, returns emails, makes grocery lists, and does all the mundane tasks necessary to keep me afloat.
Thank you, mind, for the gentle reminder that it’s okay I am not as productive as before that day. That I need this time to find a different pace, so I don’t become completely exhausted.
Thank you, mind, for realizing that I cannot look at photos or videos of my precious angel right now. For not seeking out memories that will only cause the void in my heart to widen.
Thank you, mind, for the numbness each day. It dulls the hurt like a prescription-less painkiller, administered behind the scenes and monitored by my own protective unconscious.
Thank you, mind, for the smiles and laughs you allow me to have at stupid TV shows, stupid jokes, and stupid internet memes. Because they bring back the physical release of laughter, they aren’t so stupid, after all.
Thank you, mind, for the distraction you allow me to seek throughout the day. For the outrage at political figures, the interest in the topics of podcasts, the focus I can give to co-workers and their daily lives. I need these moments.
Thank you, mind, for reminding me that the flashbacks of that day’s trauma, the devastating pictures I imagine, and the pointless wondering if I could have done anything differently will eventually fade.
Thank you, mind, for recognizing the amount of love and support around me right now. And for knowing when I need to reach out.
Thank you, mind, for always making sure I would remember to tell her I love her every day. To give her kisses every time I held her. To give her outdoor adventures and late night play sessions with every toy in her toy box. To memorize the feeling of that smooth spot on her paw, the texture of her ears, her wonderful smell, the snorts and snores she would make while she slept, the sideways glances she would give, the sound of her barks, the pure joy and excitement that would erupt from her when I came home, the bold personality that radiated off of her, and the love she would return to me in full.
Thank you, mind, for taking care of me.
I will always love you, Dori.