A few days after the sunshine wedding (see previous post), my best pal of twelve years died at home after a difficult couple of years of age-related illnesses. If you had said to me before the wedding that Alfie was about to die, my reply would have been that it would be a relief. Both the Scribe and myself had suffered broken sleep for a couple of years coping with the demands of an old dog. It was becoming distressing to say the least to see our once dignified and proud puppy soiling himself, going blind and a bit deaf. However, we never considered putting him down as he had some quality of life and wasn't suffering. He still enjoyed the odd walk and his meals.
However, I do believe he hung on for the wedding and finally couldn't take it any more.
I found him on the kitchen floor in the early hours. We were expecting him to die very soon as he had weakened so much.
But I don't like to think about those final days for him. I like to remember our boy when he was in full health and strength. Grief and love have no logic. They take no heed of clocks, or well meaning friends. Grief and love are as logical and meaningless as a red dragon.
I was unprepared for how immense my sorrow would be over losing my friend. I miss him every second of every day and the house and my heart is an empty shell without his presence.
We buried him in the garden amongst the geraniums and sun-flowers. He went to his grave surrounded with all his favourite things around him. Around his neck I hung a special piece of jewellery from Italia. Part of my bridal bouquet also went with him.
It is alienating when you are mourning a dog. People tend to dismiss the grief and I understand that, I really do. But my grief - my bucking, biting red dragon - has no logic or reason. I can not diminish Aflie's life by not grieving fully for him.
He was an important member of this household. When we first bought our little brick cottage, I went to the dog's home and he came home with us. He was on death row as his callous owners had abandoned him there to go overseas. His stomach was red raw with allergies and he was shaking in shock. The Scribe didn't want me to take him as he said, 'he's going to die tonight.' I replied, 'He could die at my house then in comfort and dignity.’ There was something about the look in his eyes that went to my soul. I paid my $120 dollars and he went home with us to die.
Of course he didn't die. He lived for twelve more years and was a continual shadow in our house to all the domestic dramas. He was always there, the silent, always loving witness. At our heels when we were writing, or reading. Continually being trodden upon when he went deaf in his need to be near his family.
I'll never forgive myself for in the last month of his life, snapping once in the early hours as I rose wearily to clean up his mess, 'how much longer is this going to go on for? When are you going to go?' They were terrible words to utter to my most faithful friend and companion. I have wept bitterly as these words have returned to haunt me.
Whilst I ride this red dragon of grief and mourning, I was going to take another break from Tale Peddler. It felt simply too hard for me to be upbeat, cheerful and inspiring when I feel this shattered. However, I think for a Blog to be truly real, it must at times bend to the tragedies that will befall us all. The Blog helps to distract my thoughts at times from my loss. Tale Peddler was always about trying to inspire myself, and if other people became inspired in the process then so be it. It was never about putting a false, jolly blogging mask on but rather a creative scrapbook that supported my writing and life.
Alfie was a great friend. He loved the wind in his fur and car rides. He loved baked lamb dinners and sheep. He loved walks and being with his family.
We are lucky to have a very understanding young priest in this area who kindly consented to say prayers for our boy in his Masses. Alfie came a long way since his time on Death Row.
He will be forever missed and mourned in our home.