i lost my best friend yesterday.
my house feels weird and deafeningly quiet. i’ve gotten so used to every little sound she made. climbing down from the bed, shaking off, and puttering about the house every morning, waiting patiently for me to wake up. so many things i’ve gotten used to. so many things i couldn’t have noticed until now.
i adopted olive from the humane society in february 2008. i was 24, she was a 9 months old. to this day, i stay amazed and unbelievably thankful for whatever circumstances allowed her to be watching as i walked in front of her cage that day. she had been there for months, and i will never understand how. she had already developed a few of her signature moves, and deployed them aptly as i stooped down to say hi.… the hopeful eye contact; the lazy, swaying saunter; the toy haphazardly stuffed in her mouth. i was already sold, but i was most impressed with her demeanor. here she was, in a stinky cage she had spent months in, in a giant room full of stressed-out, loud, frantically barking dogs, and she just sat there quietly, wagging softly and looking at me with big brown eyes like i was the only living thing in the world.
the theme would continue. from that point on, we were a package deal. our bond was immediate, deep, and unlike any i’ve ever had or likely ever will. i think every girl i ever dated probably felt a little chagrinned by it at first, only for olive to win them over anyway. i started to resent anything that kept me from being around her. work, travel, social events. i had a few opportunities along the way that logistically couldn’t include her. at the time i felt i had to take those opportunities, but the more commitments i made to those kinds of non-dog things, the more i didn’t want to bother. this is mostly why i quit traveling. i just always, always wished she were there.
god, i had no idea. i could never get used to being without her, and now i really need to learn.
i don’t know how i am supposed to do this. it feels like she was always there my whole life, helping to make me a man. i don’t know how to be one without her. i don’t know anyone or anything without her. i only know how to be half of a whole. like, do i like things? do i have preferences? do i wanna go to the park? there’s a squirrel on the fence outside my window right now, should i go chase it like olive would?
i know in my heart that she is still with me. i know that i’ll never see a squirrel on that fence again without thinking of her. i know i’ll still wake up with my legs diagonally across the bed, making room for her at my feet. i know i’ll still hear her feet tearing through the house to greet me every time i come home. i know i’ll never grab ice out of the freezer without looking over to see her sitting politely, waiting for me to toss her a cube. i know i’ll never leave for work without thinking to kiss her on the head and say “sorry ol, you stay here.” i know she is still present in everything i do. i know this is the hard part. i know this is what love is. i know this is what will guide me through the next chapter, and what gives me pain now will give me strength later.
but FUCK it hurts right now. i can’t believe she’s gone and i miss her so much already.
still, there is some sense of relief. i have been dreading this day for a long time, and this last month was hard. i’m glad i was able to take more time to spend with her during her last days, but in retrospect i realize i probably didn’t really NEED to do so and it was probably more for me than for her. in classic olive form, she was always happy with whatever she got. even as her tumors grew, uncomfortably restricting her movement and taking away her breath, she loved all the same stuff the same way. her last hours were spent eating cheeseburgers, chocolate cake, and ice cubes and lounging in the yard. she looked as happy as ever. i tried not to let her see me tear up, but she knew anyway; she had seen that a lot lately.
so now it’s about following her example and being happy with what i have. and i am. i have been lucky to share a (dog’s) lifetime of love and laughs with the sweetest, funniest, absolute best creature i’ve ever known. her spirit and soul will endure long after her body’s passing, and i am so thankful to have been a part of it.
we had fun, ol. thanks for always being there. i’ll see you soon, in this life or the next. <3<3<3
*a special note for clients: i realize this is the first blog post i’ve made in a long time. perhaps it’s the first thing i felt was worth writing about. i also feel i owe some explanation to those of you who have emailed me anytime in the last month or two…. you probably haven’t gotten a response, and i think this explains why. if you haven’t heard back from me and are still interested in getting tattooed, please feel free to re-send and i will get back to you as soon as i can. i have a lot of scheduling and rescheduling to manage, but i’m looking forward to getting back on track in the coming weeks. as always, thank you for your continued interest and patience.*