Last week we celebrated the first birthday of our new dog Biscuit.
Today marks the one year anniversary of the day we lost Clyde.
Clyde was a Dachshund Pat and I found in Austin pre-kids. Actually, we found him pre-marriage now that I think about it. We had to get someone to care for him while we were on our honeymoon.
We noticed about a week before his death that he was slowing down. I thought it was probably his back. Dachshund’s are notorious for their bad backs. I massaged it frequently through the years to try and help, but we still had to resort to medication from time to time to help with the pain and his mobility.
We had great weather that week and would go on our family walks with Savannah on her bike, Sarah in her stroller, and Pat and I on foot with Clyde beside us. Even though he was obviously not feeling well, he still wanted to go with us. He had been wearing out about half way through our walks for the last few outings and would ride back to our car in the bottom of Sarah’s stroller, but on this last walk he was out of steam about 10 minutes in. Pat stopped and bent down to him. "Hey, Clyde. You okay, buddy?” Then he picked him up and put him in the stroller. He rode out the rest of the hour seeming perfectly content to just be with us and out in the sunshine. Clyde stayed in his chair for the rest of the day.
Yes, he had his own recliner in our living room...
and according to Jeff Foxworthy that makes us rednecks.
"If you're dog has his own recliner....you might be a redneck."
But back to Clyde -
We helped him to his bed in our bedroom that night and the next morning we laid him back down in his chair when we left for church. We came back home to find he had vomited all over himself and the chair. Pat immediately placed Clyde in the tub and gently washed and massaged him, all the while talking to him, caressing our beloved dog with words. Pat knew Clyde was at the end. I wasn’t there yet. I was going to call in sick the next day and take him to the vet. Denial is a dangerous thing.
Clyde didn’t move from his chair the rest of the day or evening. I stayed in the living room with him watching television, reading, folding laundry, and would check on him frequently. It was when “Brothers and Sisters” went off that Sunday night I got up to pet him and talk to him and carry him into bed when I noticed he wasn’t responding to me. His eyes were open, but there was no life. He had died while I sat on the couch watching a stupid soap opera-type television show. I still haven’t forgiven myself for that.
Savannah and I both stayed home that Monday. Neither one of us could function. Clyde’s death completely debilitated my family. But somehow Pat found the strength to dig Clyde’s resting place in our back yard, bundle him up in blankets for our small, quiet ceremony, and then cover him with dirt after Savannah and I went back inside. I watched from the kitchen window as he placed dirt over Clyde's body, taking breaks between every couple of shovels. His body language told me it was one of the hardest things he had ever done.
A year later…every great once in a while…I can hear his collar jingle. Or for some reason I suddenly feel his presence in the room and I turn to say, “Hey, Buddy,” but then I catch myself.
To some people, like my neighbors, it’s just a dog. But to me it’s someone who was by my side for 13 years. Someone I shared all my mornings with before anyone else stirred. Someone who came to my rescue when Pat tickled me, or when a stranger came to the door. Someone who comforted me when I was sad, or rejoiced in the fun times at home.
He was my buddy.
And I miss him.