There was no clue last night that would have led me to believe when I awoke this morning, life would be changed, and the changes made would be irrevocable. There was no little voice in my head saying “Be careful tomorrow, something big is going to happen” or “Get some rest because you will need every ounce of energy your body can permit.” But I suppose that is the way life happens right? On it’s own terms, with no explanation or warning, life just happens. Quickly.
I was snuggling Saucy in bed at 7:30. I heard Duncan screaming from the front door, screaming about The Big Dog, and Saucy and I opened it in a panic. Something has happened. Duncan is hysterical. Not making sense. Crying. Waving his arms and saying to hurry, The Big Dog has been hit. I threw Saucy in the bathroom for safe keeping and ran out after him, to find a horrific scene on the sidewalk, The Big Dog had been hit by a car while chasing a squirrel, and as it turns out, the squirrel won this battle. The Big Dog’s insides were now on the outside, and covered by a sheet, Duncan crying and begging her to hold on, people gathered trying to support, police not quite sure where they fit in the equation. Someone got a board, a few men helped Duncan to transfer The Big Dog from the pavement to the flat wood, a kind woman gave me the nearest animal hospital, and I drove Duncan and The Big Dog in his truck out to the valley, taking what seemed like years to travel only a few miles.
The nurses came out and asked how bad it is. Duncan lifted the sheet, and The Big Dog’s intestinal track lay on the board, she is in shock and still alive, holding on as he begged her to do. I am horrified, I’ve never seen something’s insides on the outside, and the nurses carry the dog inside while Duncan and I stand in the parking lot crying and completely unsure of what’s next. The sweet nurse came out and said they need us inside, quickly, and we met the Doctor in one of the small rooms of the hospital. The room smelled the same as the one I put down LunchBox in, the same shape, the same table, the same buzzing lights. The Doctor told Duncan The Big Dog would not make it, and it would be best to put her out of her misery. The dog in shock wasn’t feeling much, but didn’t have long to live. Duncan sat with his head to hers and sobbed, told her what a good dog she is, and reminded her of all the fun times they had together. I sat in silence, tears staining my face and sweatshirt, as the Doctor injected The Big Dog with the ultimate goodnight serum, the same juice that let little Lunch go to the big dog park in the sky, and I watched as The Big Dog took her last breaths, saying goodbye to her and in my mind hoping that she meets Lunchbox in the sky for some fun bone time. They can play together now.
I’ve never forgiven myself for not being able to be with him when he was injected, and made my living amends today with Duncan when I had the chance to be there for him and The Big Dog. I’ve watched the poor man struggle all day long, feeling guilt as I felt, going over the “what ifs” and “i should have’s” and told him there are no what if’s or we should have’s, there is only what happened and how we move forward. Every time I said it aloud to him, it was comforting to myself in regard to my little puppy, LunchBox Meatball Ketcham, and I hope that something I offered him helped. Although I know from experience, nothing helps right now.
We are burying The Big Dog in his garden in Malibu tomorrow, first it’s back to the vet, and then off to the hills overlooking the ocean, her favorite place to catch lizards and squirrels. This week will not be easy.
Rest in Peace The Big Dog