He’s Not There

Atticus died on Saturday. Well, we had him put to sleep. The vet had a special room that looked like a tiny living room with a rug, couch, chairs and a lamp. The lighting was low and the doctor and vet techs were unobtrusive. It was intimate.

I lay on the floor next to my chocolate boy, stroking his face and telling him how much I loved him as they gave him a sedative. Peter and Hadley were there too petting him. (Finn didn’t want to go.)

Our vet gave him the final injection and it was over in 15 seconds. Hadley covered him with a blanket that was in the room.

I was crying, but quietly, until my darling Peter said “Bye, buddy” and I lost it.

Peter settled the payment while Hadley and I walked to the car holding hands. I told her I was glad she was with me.

Driving home I noticed the clear, beautiful day as Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill blared from the stereo.  I could hear my sweet Hadley singing in the backseat.

Sunday was filled with Easter hustle and bustle and I was distracted and busy. I pushed sadness from my thoughts. At my sister’s house for brunch, my family offered condolences and I thought I was ok. Logically, I had accepted it. Emotionally, I hadn’t.

I woke up this morning and he wasn’t there. Next to the bed on the floor, on my side, where he has slept for the past 12 years. Every morning, I would open my eyes, look over and see him patiently waiting for me to wake up so I could feed him and let him out. As soon as we made eye contact, he would get up and nuzzle his face in the side of the bed for a pet.

I felt empty.

I got the kids off to school this morning and I was finally left alone to grieve. 

I miss my friend. I’ve never loved an animal like I loved him.  In the chaos of this life of mine, I could always count on him to keep me grounded. We’d catch eyes across the room and I’d know that he was on my side and I’d be ok. He was here through our marriage, babies, moves, lupus, my dad’s death, cancer. I don’t think more tears could be shed on a dog.

He also made me incredibly happy and for that I’m profoundly grateful.

RIP Atty. You were such a good dog.


little irish | April 9, 2012 at 1:42 PM

I read this little tid-bit about why dogs don't live as long as humans from a 6 year old's point of view and I found it touching.

He said,''People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?''

''Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long.''

Holding your hand my friend. I'm sorry for your loss. He was a great boy! xoxo

Confessions of a Mother, Lawyer & Crazy Woman | April 9, 2012 at 6:51 PM

Emily - I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet boy. I hope the happy thoughts of time you've spent with him over the years lift you up during this sad time. Hugs, J

Bree | April 9, 2012 at 8:15 PM

I am so, so sorry, Emily. There are just no words that can make it better right now, but try to take comfort in your memories and knowledge that he did what he was put here to do: make a family deeply happy, and be made deeply happy in return. Big kisses and hugs.

Mel | April 9, 2012 at 8:37 PM


Mel | April 9, 2012 at 8:37 PM


Karrie | April 9, 2012 at 10:06 PM

Oh boo. I know Scout and Atticus are chasing squirrels together in doggy after-life. He was a sweet dog. Big hugs.

Emily | April 10, 2012 at 9:19 AM

Thanks so much, ladies. You sweet women, you. xo