It’s been a little while, and I was unsure of what I wanted to write about next. I whipped up some drafts in the little downtime I had last week, while something big was happening in our household.
Our beloved pup (/matriarch/grandma/vacuum) Lil’ Ruby was experiencing a sharp downturn in overall health. Everything became slower, more challenging, more painful. I knew the day would come, but I was not prepared. Goodbyes are hard. I didn’t want to do it. In my mind, Ruby (who would be fifteen in two weeks) would be lounging around with my own kids while they played. Underfoot in the kitchen scrounging for scraps for years to come. She would be with me forever. I consider myself a realist, but for whatever reason, I couldn’t quite grasp the idea that Ruby would someday be gone.
Last week was hard, and keeping her around for any longer would be selfish on our part. She was no longer the crazy Ruby that she had been just weeks before. Through tears, I thought about just how much she had changed, aside from the obvious physical deterioration: I hadn’t heard her signature bark that I would repeat back to her on the regular (‘rowrf, rowrf’) for weeks now, and instances of Ruby going into my mom’s bedroom to seclude herself – situated under the dresser to the point I had to rescue her, for example – came rushing back to us. A couple bad days here and there were switched out for a few good hours once every day or two. She was getting old. She was dying.
I’m a Rainbow Bridge veteran. I did this last year, I can do it again (and I will do it again, unfortunately, with the last of the three fur siblings from my childhood sometime in the next couple of years). I was giving myself the pep-talk of all pep-talks. Free from suffering! She lived a good life! She and Charlie will be reunited! Still hard, of course, like I knew it would be. We put her down Friday night and I essentially blacked out for the entire ordeal.
When we got home, we managed to order two very large pizzas and pull ourselves together. My boyfriend brought over the essentials (diet & cherry coke) and the four of us humans (plus one very large old white Labradoodle who now has to be carried down the stairs) decided a Netflix sesh was in order. In the process of getting settled, one of us accidentally sat on the remote, and the closed captioning turned on. Not once in my life have I seen this particular TV with closed captioning on. I didn’t even know it had the option. It stayed on for a second or two while we all fumbled to find the remote, and then it hit me. “RUBY!!!” Ruby had been deaf as a post for the past six months at least! I believe that was her way of saying, “HI! I’m here and I love you. Now pass the pizza!”* What a jokester. Ain’t no party like a pizza party and there was no way that Ruby was going to be excluded from one of those. We all laughed and laughed. That moment made me feel content enough to get some much-needed rest. I put my pizza down mid-slice**, curled up on my side of the couch, and fell asleep just as the movie was starting.
*it was a quintessential ROOBY PLS moment.
**no, I did not put my pizza down mid-slice. for dramatic effect only. i promise to finish every slice i start. also, they were not slices, but squares. CHICAGO
There is a Ruby-shaped hole in my heart that cannot be replaced. She was not ‘like’ a sister, she WAS my sister, and I will miss her dearly for the rest of forever. Thank you for being the best pup I could have asked for. I love you, sissy!