Then, One By One, We So Quickly Undo The Slow Adjustments.

The rugs on the hardwood to provide traction and prevent injury get pulled up and stored away. The baby gates that have turned our house into a zoned area for who can be where or with whom are retired. Each thing a tweak to our lives made over a long time.

I heard Buddy panting this morning, then realized what I was hearing was silence and my mind was inserting his ever present breathing. We never did know why, but his entire life he panted loudly almost all the time, smiling that Golden grin. Just a thing he did, just a weird part of who he was.

You make slow adjustments towards the end then suddenly after the end there’s no reason for them anymore all at once. Rochelle is taking a nap upstairs in our bed, something she’s not done in more than a month. She had to nap next to him on the couch downstairs. Adia is curled up next to her right now. We slept together last night for the first time in weeks, because before at all times someone had to be downstairs. I was too used to sleeping with one ear open, and was startled awake a couple of times last night to nothing at all, and Rochelle calmed me down.

There’s a pile of medication to return Monday to the vet. Treats specifically designed for taking pills will be put away. No longer will feeding time also involve an ancillary call out to all the dogs for “Medicine time!” because some dogs got jealous that one was getting “extra food.” and everyone had to have treats.

Things wind back a bit, the new normal we had adjusted to becomes the old normal.

It’s quiet. And please allow me this trope: it’s too quiet.

Children outside start shouting and playing, Eowyn stirs and growls and jumps into the front window saying the dog version of “YOU DAMN KIDS, GET OFF OF MY LAWN.” She’s two. And I remember how he used to bark in protection all the time. After he stopped doing that, I suddenly remember, is when we started to refer to him as “old man.”

If I hold Eowyn close, and breath in deeply I noticed something today for the first time.

Her fur smells like stale popcorn. Like him.

Thus life moves on. This crazy Internet thing keeps sending us messages of love and support. Neither myself or Rochelle can make sense of a world where that wasn’t possible because it now means so much to us.  I make some mental plans to take Eowyn and Adia walking or to the park, something we couldn’t do recently. There was a hockey game on today, I didn’t watch it. My team won. That was nice.

It was raining this morning, in a stormy sort of way. Lots of wind and noise. Now it’s calm and the sun struggles to peek through but it was friend zoned by Seattle long ago and won’t break out of there until July with promises of warmth and happiness. I need to find work, there’s bills to pay.

That, as they say, is that. And I suppose I could have it another way. I suppose I could.

But nope, as Eowyn starts barking again, this is fine.


  1. Rachel Priebee says:

    We had to say goodbye to our sweet Newfoundland girl, Elly last May. Also nearly 13 which was great for a giant breed – especially one who had a kidney out at the ripe old age of 10. Such a huge personality leaves a very large hole that our 4yo Newfy boy, Floyd can never fill. He’s a sweet clown in his quiet way and we adore him – he’s far more typical of the breed than Elly was with her boundless energy and outgoing, fearless personality. Nearly a year later and reading your beautiful words about Buddy has the tears flowing again as I recognise those changes in the house and routine that follow. Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories.

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