I’m sorry I was not the person my dog thought I was

Dear Flash,

I’m so sorry I was not everything you needed, when you depended on me to be that. I tried – we slept so many nights on the floor in the closet, soothing away thundermonsters. We walked and trotted so many paths; you fetched as much as I could reasonably allow an old dude to run and swim. We had fun together, and I tried to keep you safe from yourself.

But I couldn’t keep you safe that day, just after we just went into lockdown, when we had to go to the vet and you – always scared, always breathless with anxiety, and aged into laryngeal paralysis – had such a hard time with the change in procedure. And when you struggled and the tech lost her grip as she was loading you back into the car, your already overworked airway got choked. We tried to calm you with every trick we had, until at last you needed to rest in the yard. The sunshine and grassy slope always made you feel better.

And still it wasn’t enough. I held you and told you your story, of a brave dog who persisted – who learned so many new things, even though he was frightened. Who came to love children even though they surprised him with their sticky fingers and sudden movements. Who cuddled with the cat who taught him how to be cool and aloof. Who loved to play games to find his toys or his treats, so he didn’t have to think about where lights blinked or shadows moved. You were the best dog. I hope you weren’t scared when you sighed at the end.

I loved you so much, and I’m sorry it wasn’t enough.


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