I'm writing not because I think anyone who reads my blog would care to know the personal goings-on of my life, but rather I'm writing it as a kind of therapy to deal with my great sense of loss. Those of you who've experienced the joy of caring for a beloved family dog will understand.
On June 22nd, 2002 we met Brutus, our Boston Terrier, for the first time. He was 10 weeks old.
|Brutus the day we met on June 22nd, 2002.|
The story of Brutus' life is a simple but great one. He traveled the country with my wife and I to art shows and reference-gathering trips. He spent nearly all of his time with at least one of us (his greatest pleasure in life was simply to be at our sides). He adored people, was gentle, playful, curious, brave, and above all, loving. He filled us with such joy that my wife and I would muse about how it was possible a dog could have such a grip on our hearts. Yvonne and I don't have children so Brutus, in a way, filled that void for us — as I'm sure many dog owners without kids understand they seem to do. It was just the three of us and we deeply enjoyed every minute we spent together.
He was my studio buddy. I would sometimes turn off the music, or whatever background sounds I had playing while I painted, just to listen to him snore as he slept near my feet. He seemed to know when I was spending too much time at the easel as well. Just when my back had had enough of standing in front of a large canvas, he would come bounding in with a toy — begging me to take a break and play with him. Now, his absence is all I feel while I'm in the studio. The space is too large and too empty without him.
Every corner of our lives are haunted by his memory. I can't go into a room without seeing him there. I can't walk to the mailbox without missing him, or take a car ride without thinking how he'll never ride with me again. And maybe worst of all, the freshest memories of our beloved Brutus are ones of his pain and suffering from the back injury that forced us to say goodbye—the injury that broke apart our family and took our Brutus from us. Though I do take some comfort in knowing that in his worst hours, my wife and I never left his side. We never stopped doing everything we could to care for him. And at his end, we did not abandon him to his fate alone. We didn't leave his side when it was time because we couldn't bear to watch the light leave his eyes. We stayed with him, held him and did not allow our sweet Brutus to pass alone and afraid.
I know that time will eventually take the edge off our pain and grief. I know that the memories of his suffering will be drowned by 11 years of memories of him running, playing or simply snuggling with us in front of the TV. But in this moment, the pain of his absence is so heavy I feel as though I can't breathe. 11 years with him and suddenly he's gone. Just gone. What a heartbreaking realization.
Goodbye our sweet Brutus. We love you and we will miss you, always.
|Brutus enjoying one of his favorite activities; sunning himself in the grass.|