Today was not good for a number of reasons from the beginning. I had neglected to set my alarm. We had forgotten to put out the garbage the night before. And there was the looming knowledge that my husband’s dog, Sheba, was going to have to be put down today.
After trying to work out some details of the day’s agenda with the husband, I snipped at him a few times before heading into work fashionably late. I struggled with an ongoing project that’s been making me feel increasingly incompetent, all while trying to ignore my neck, which has decided to kick my ass the last two days.
I had just decided to lie down on the floor next to my desk to give my spine a rest when my phone rang. It was the baby’s school. He had just thrown up. I called the husband, who told me that the vet would be coming to his mom’s house to take care of things with Sheba about an hour. I told him to stay there with his mom and his dog, since they needed him there with them. I called my mom.
“The baby just threw up at school and the husband is with Sheba because they’re putting her down today and my neck is ki-hi-hi-illing me,” I said, as I began to sob. I must have been such a sight, lying on the floor of my office, crying. She kindly offered to take me to get the baby and go back to her house, which is closer than ours.
The baby seems to have been only momentarily ill, thankfully. (Right after I typed, that he threw up again, so no more diagnoses from me.) The husband called me about a half hour ago to let me know that Sheba was gone.
Sheba was 17 and in really bad shape, so there was no sense that it was too soon or unfair. My dogs that I had as a kid died very young, and that was, indeed, completely unfair. I noticed in the last year or so that I was trying to sort of compartmentalize my heart, rationalize that Sheba wasn’t really my dog so I wasn’t too sad about her impending departure. But when the call came, I cried just as hard as I feared I would, and my heart seemed just as whole and hurt as if she had been my own from the beginning.
Last night, we stopped by my mother-in-law’s house and told the baby to say his good-byes. It was as sad as you would expect and lots of tears were shed. The husband had an errand to run so the baby and I were by ourselves at home for awhile before he went to bed. He let me cuddle him on the couch, the two of us needing each other’s comfort.
“I’ll tell you one thing I know for sure about dogs,” I sighed, as my baby’s sobs settled into shaky breaths, “They break your goddamn heart every time.”
So long, Sheba. You were such a good girl.