On Man’s Best Friend

I killed my best friend today.
I don’t want to soften it by saying, I put her down.

Or euthanised.

That term is reserved for when both parties understand what’s about to happen.

You didn’t.
You felt you were coming home to me again.
And I betrayed you.

I am shame.

My eyes swell with the sting of my tears.
My forehead feels like it’s being crushed.
My chest is weak, like my heart is missing from within.

I am grief.

I keep looking behind and around me hoping to see her.
I want to call her name.

The house is so quiet.
It feels less of a home.
She was home.

When I came in, she pranced with jubilant longing,
“You’re home! Yes! You’re home!”

Always, ALWAYS by my side.

But she’s no longer beside me.
And I feel alone.

I am loss.

They say Akita’s are renowned for their loyalty and devotion to one person.
I think my beloved was an exemplary demonstration of those noble virtues.

She breaks the myth that a dog is loyal to whoever feeds her.

I haven’t been able to personally feed her for seven years.
I haven’t been able to personally walk her for five.
I haven’t experienced the bliss of touching and playing with her for what feels like an eternity.
ALS and this fucking paralysis made sure of that.

I am rage.

And yet, even though we were separated by my confinement to an electric wheelchair; even though I could no longer maintain physical contact, she remained always and ever by my side.

For fifteen years, she insisted and remained by my side.
In human terms, that’s equivalent to 105 years.
She loved me unquestioningly and wholeheartedly for 105 years.

My beloved’s wagging tail spoke more than the empty noise that is speech.
Her tender and consoling licks of my face and hands soothed me.
The soft patter of your paws coming down the hallway reassured me, I would never be alone.

I am longing.

I want to call your name.
But I don’t dare because I know you won’t hear me.
You won’t come.
You can’t come.
You’re gone.

I’m sorry.

I fought and fought for you to be with me longer.
I wish I could get out of my chair and hold you.
I longed to massage your pain away.
I wish I could hold and nurse you.

I am impotence.

I could no longer bear to see you in pain.
Weak, blind, deaf, rotting away; struggling to stay by my side.
Hurting yourself continuously to stay by my side.

Yet…I’m thankful you couldn’t see my tears.
I’m thankful you couldn’t hear my sobs.
I’m thankful you couldn’t sense my despair.

I don’t think you’re in a better place, nor do I think you’re in a worse place either.
You are no more.
But you’ll not be forgotten.
In memory, in thought, you’ll remain alive in my dreams.
Alive in my solace when I remember you.
When I pretend you’re still here but out of sight.

Like now.

I’ll feel the rip of your absence and the saddened joy of your memory.
But I’ll never, ever forget…My life was better because you were here.

I am…yours.


Kuma. My beloved, loyal friend.


7 thoughts on “On Man’s Best Friend”

  1. I do not know what to say, there is nothing that will make you feel better. It was a beautiful tribute. My two are getting old and I dread the day they go or I have to make the decision. My heart goes out to you.

    1. Thank you for saying so Jodie 🙂 I am terribly sorry that you’re also nearing this dreaded time. What breeds are they and how long have you had them?

      1. My babies are both about 10 now, one is a border collie cross and fat at that! The other is my grumpy tabby cat. I never was a cat person until her, she is mean and grumpy but I still love her. Neither show any signs of illness yet which is good but still the day will come.

  2. My tears freely fall,
    loving both of you on this journey.
    Tears for grief, tears for sadness
    and tears for love.
    Love crosses all barriers,
    there are no boundaries to love.
    Love her and keep on loving her
    her love for you is there,
    her love for you is always there
    your love for her is infinite
    and your actions were based purely in love.
    Mother wolf teaches us so see the love and compassion and the beauty of bringing and quick death to those in her embrace – a death without suffering.
    this is a kindness and a reflection of your love.
    Be at peace.

    1. Oh Jess, thank you so much for your understanding.
      I know many people find this sentiment and attachment to a dog perplexing, and then there are those of us who’ve been lucky enough to experience the human-canine bond beyond the pet or utility genre. It’s truly a blessed experience without compare.
      I had incredible hesitation in posting this as it was personal purge, of sorts, to deal with the pain. But with some encouragement from a great friend who thought others would love to read this, was convinced it would be worthwhile to post it on the web. Even if it only reached one person who experienced the same intensity at the loss of their canine friend.
      Thank you Jess

  3. I am sitting here crying for your loss of beloved Kuma. It is an unfathomable grief to lose the unconditional love and devotion of a dog. Dogs don’t get up in the morning and say they a re going to leave us; they love us regardless and sense our emotional mind very clearly. They also teach us to live in the present and accept but they strive to keep living out their being to the end as your Kuma did.

    Yes, there is a terrible sense of shame, almost murder when one has to decide to end our companion animal’s life; sometimes far stronger grief than experienced for the death of a person in our life. Regardless of the torn heart and psyche, we are given an enormous gift when a dog loves us – no conditions.

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