how many times in the past few years have i felt put out or annoyed by our dog, eating the girls' food or digging a diaper out of the trash? how many times have i shoo'ed him away from the dinner table with annoyance in my voice? if i'm honest, it was more than i can remember.
but he was our casey bubba. our sweet dog that i once waxed poetic about on the blog before three certain little girls took over our lives. the boy that i once in confidence confessed to my sister that i was afraid i wouldn't be able to love a child as much as i loved him. and i meant it.
i loved him so much that when pressed to find the perfect gift for me, my sister had a painting of him done. and it has hung proudly in my home ever since. i loved him so much that i slept on the laundry room floor next to him the night of his knee surgery knowing he couldn't make it up the stairs to our room. i loved him so much that i would take him on walks to meet up with kevin as he finished bike rides just to see casey's tail wiggle with delight at the sight of his best friend.
he loved me so much he tolerated my three little girls that loved him and tormented him in turn. he loved me so much that he pretended not to notice when they took more and more of my attention and he got less. he loved me so much that he licked the salty tears off my face- more than once. i wish he was here to lick my tears one last time. i seem to have unending supply today.
the girls threw him a 'goodbye bubba' party at lunch. complete with cheeseburgers, tres leches cake, and several renditions of 'for he's a jolly good fellow', it was a fitting tribute. i'm not sure kevin and i were ready to say goodbye. we went together to the vet. we fed him treats. we held him tight.
when the end came i wailed. like a child i just couldn't control myself and i shouted. i wanted to take back the past few years and see him as a young spry fellow again and enjoy him. i found myself repeating 'i'm so sorry bubba. i'm so sorry. thank you'. then when faced with the inevitability of them taking him away i buried my face in the soft folds of his neck fur and just breathed in.
i miss him. i know it will get better with time and the sadness in my husband's eyes will soften. but he will be missed. that part will not change.