Bye, buddy.

The day arrived.

Of course it would, it was a given, one thing I could always be certain of. This day would come. I am fortunate and thankful that it took sixteen years. Still, that does not make the pain any easier to withstand. As many years as I got, it could never be enough. No finite amount of time could be sufficient.

I had to say goodbye to the love of my life, my buddy, my constant companion, my sweet boy, Canelo Dog.

In all honesty, I always feared that the time leading up to the decision would be awful, that I would be unsure and hesitant, that I would be too damn emotional to think clearly and do what was right. Oh, but that pup. I mean, he was simply perfect, right through the end! One look at him that morning and I knew. There was no doubt in my mind that our time together had come to its end.

He was ready. My perfect pup had to leave me.

I held him, and with tears streaming down my face and his soft face resting in my trembling hands, I said, “Okay.”

I told him that I understood and that it was okay, that he could go. I thanked him for being such a tremendous source of happiness, for always putting matters into perspective, for being my priority and making every damn mishap in my life seem trivial in comparison to him. I let him know that he was a good boy and that I loved him. I loved him more than anything.

I tried to assure him that I would be all right, although I knew that it would take a while for me to get there. And again, I repeated to him that I loved him.

It was a beautiful morning, almost as perfect as he was. The kind of morning that would have led to us taking longer walks than usual. Fuck, I already miss my walks with him.

Dammit.

A few days earlier, it had become pretty apparent that we were nearing the end, and so I group-messaged the five most important ladies in my life.

  • Mom (One of two people who let me keep Canelo; I was sixteen years old then)
  • My cousin, Ellie (aka Canelo’s wonderful petsitter)
  • My three closest, dearest, absolute best friends…
    Wizzo (bestie since elementary school)
    Cent (bestie for ten years, first friend I made when I moved back to Dallas, animal rescuer extraordinaire)
    MexiBestie (fellow member of the veterinary medicine field, knows well how these matters go)

They know me best, they knew my bond with Canelo best, the first three have known my boy since he was a puppy. All five would know the right things to say, they would be solid support. I could not keep news of such a life-changing event from them. I had to let them know. 

Their sweet responses did not fail me. Of course.

I decided to message them again that final morning,

We are saying goodbye today. I love you all so much!!!

I could feel their hearts breaking for me and I could feel their love. It was the push I needed to be brave. They were all I needed and even though they could not physically be there with me, I felt the comfort of their solace and sympathy. I will be forever grateful to them.

I am also grateful to the countless people who have taken the time to write sweet notes to me via Facebook and text messages. Since that day, I have been posting daily photos of my pup as a sort of tribute to him. So many friends have taken the time to write such sweet words of encouragement and console.

Some that have moved me the most:

What a beautiful relationship you both will ALWAYS have for each other. You raised the bar on how to love and care for our furbabies, especially as they grow older. Much love to you and Canelo Dog, Daisy. You’ve done absolutely everything right by him

Oh Daisy, I’m so sorry. Seeing your posts about your sweet old man loving his walks and celebrating yet another birthday warmed my heart. It hurts like hell when their soul finally outlives their body. Those memories you share though will be with you forever. 💕

Oh Daisy I am so, SO sorry to hear this. Carlo (14 yo) and I have always looked up to you and Canelo Dog as the epitome of human/doggie bond. I’m hugging all of my crew but especially Carlo a little bit harder tonight. Hugs to you my friend.

So sorry for your heartache, so happy for his beautiful life. What a lucky guy to have been your dog.

What an amazing and wonderful life he had! I can only be so lucky to have my pups as long, and to have the amount of love for them that you have for Canelo. Truly a beautiful example of the human animal bond and what it means to love a dog.

When I think of well-loved dogs, I think of Canelo Dog.

Are my friends not incredible? How awesome that Canelo and I have inspired others! I had no idea, but I am happy for it. And I am glad that my love for him showed, that it was evident that he was my everything. What more could I ask for? I cried when I read those comments, but I smiled as well. Honest.

I also asked that friends make donations to the Humane Society of Dallas County in memory of Canelo Dog. I hope that they did. I hope it helps his legacy live on, through whatever critters the money ends up helping. Wouldn’t that be great? His life would continue to matter, just as it always has. It always will, though, regardless.

You know what else has brought me comfort? Work. I went back the following day because I felt the urge to be around dogs. I realized almost immediately after I lost him that for the first time in over twenty years, I do not have a dog. My heart broke a little more when my mind came to this awareness. I wanted nothing more than to hold and hug a dog, which is exactly what I was able to do at work. It is what I am planning to do again tomorrow. Thank you, job.

Ugh. Time to watch The Walking Dead and not care nearly as much about who dies as I would have before I lost my pup.

Thank you for reading. Hug your critters. Love them, be patient with them, forgive them. They’re animals and that is why we love them, right? Be grateful for all the moments with them. If you are feeling generous, donate to the Humane Society.

With love.

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