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Just tell me ‘I’m sorry your dog died’

Dear Editor:
I lost my dog. It is an odd term to “lose” a dog. I know exactly where she is, her ashes in a little box on my bookcase, but I keep looking for her anyway. I see a shadow and I think, “There she is.” I look in the yard expecting to see her there. I hear a bark down the street and I wonder if she escaped the yard again.

I feel guilty. Was I a good enough owner? Did I deserve her unconditional love? Could I have done more to give her another day or two? I keep thinking of her wagging tail when she saw me as we were preparing to put her down. Ah, to be loved so much!

She was the only dog I ever had. The dogs in my youth don’t count. They lived in the yard, chained near an old dog house. They would escape and get hit by a car or eat something in the neighbor’s trashcan and die. They were disposable, replaceable. My dog was not. She was family. She was stubborn, an escape artist, a tease, a proud princess after a grooming but willing to roll in the smelliest stuff she could find. She was unique in my eyes. I want her back.

I will miss the vet. I used to see him every six weeks or so. He tended to ramble a bit so we got to know each other. I will miss the groomer I saw every month. I will miss going into Atwood’s looking for special treats. I will miss dishing out kibbles and sharing a taste of my morning cereal. She was everywhere and every day. There is so much emptiness in my day. She is lost.

Don’t tell me your dog death stories. I don’t want to hear them. Don’t tell me to get another dog, or to get a cat instead. Don’t tell me to be glad of the good days or to be grateful or the time I had with her. And don’t you dare tell me to have a nice day. Just say, “I’m sorry your dog died.”

Eleanor Krimmel
Lawton

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