Personal blog - and temporary home page until new website is finished - of writer, editor and graphic artist Christopher Mills

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Farewell, China

A little over two weeks ago, we lost our dog, China. She contracted an especially virulent case of Lyme Disease at the end of October, and although it looked as if she was going to pull through - twice - she experienced acute renal failure, and on Sunday the 13th, we took her to the vet and let her go.

I have attempted, several times, to write about this over the last two weeks, but each time I tried, I was overcome with emotion and unable to continue. Many people may not understand the depth of my bereavement over the passing of a pet, but China's death really shook me up. She was not just a member of our family - she was our family. Brandi and I adopted her from the Palm Beach Humane Society in December of '02. Over the ensuing years, she was not just our pet, but our constant companion. She accompanied us on road trips and hiking expeditions, weekend drives and camping trips, and, since we moved to Maine in '04, to every family gathering and holiday celebration.

I'm having a very difficult time adjusting to her absence. For the last six years or so, I've worked from home, and my girl was near my side all the time. I still find myself thinking several times a night that I should get up from my computer and go take her for a walk, or, often, find myself slowing as I pass the couch, reaching out to rub her belly.... and then experiencing the cold, hard feeling in my gut that reminds me that she's not there.

It's especially difficult for me because, literally less than a month ago, she was proclaimed to be in perfect health for her age, and it looked like she would be around for many more years. But once her kidneys failed, she seemed to completely give up.

I've lost pets before, and three years ago, I was devastated when we had to put our cat Audrey to sleep. But this loss is hitting me particularly hard. China was a big part of my life every day for almost ten years, and everything just feels "wrong" without her in it.

I haven't done much work over the last two weeks, and things have piled up. I have a design gig that I'm finishing up today, and a huge stack of DVDs and Blu-rays to review for my DVD Late Show website. I haven't even been up to posting to this or any of my other blogs. Hopefully, writing this indicates that I'm ready to get back to work.

Damn. I miss that dog.


Rip Jagger said...

Sorry to read about your loss.

We have a cocker spaniel named "Scooby" we rescued many years ago now and he's getting into his later years for sure, showing more and more signs of age and weakness. His end is nigh.

I grew up on a farm and have a farmer's attitude to animals by an large, but I have to say I think I'll be like you more than a tad when Scooby finally shuffles off this mortal coil.

Hang in there amigo.

Rip Off

Sam G said...

My thoughts and condolences to you. I've lost several furry family members over the years and it's always very difficult. Thank you for sharing.


Paul R. McNamee said...

Losing a pet is never easy. Condolences to you and your family.

Andy said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

We had to say goodbye to Malcolm (our 13 year old chocolate lab) over a year ago. I still miss his gentle presence.

When I die, I want to go where the pets are.


Charles Gramlich said...

I am sorry to hear that, man. I wish there was something to say to make you feel better. Sounds like China was well loved.

Craig Zablo said...


So very sorry to hear about your loss. I can't imagine how you feel.

Hang in there.


Anonymous said...

I had a Boston Terrier for 10 years and I always had to put the bathroom trash can in the bathtub when I left so he couldn't pull out the trash and eat the dental floss. For weeks after he passed I caught myself putting the can in the tub and it would hit me he was gone. I know exactly how you feel and I'm so sorry.

jason said...

My condolences, Chris. I completely understand what you're going through... for me, it was a border collie named Shadow, who fought cancer for the last two years of his life.

They are family members, and don't let anyone ever tell you they're "just animals."

Patrick Rogers said...

You have my condolences, too. Unfortunately, I know from experience what you are going through. We lost our family of three dogs to illnesses in less than a year, despite their ranging in age from 17 to 10. I still think about them all the time- even with our two wonderful new dog companions around. However, I think maybe the gratitude of having known them is finally overtaking the grief. Good luck with everything.

Chris Well said...

Sorry for your loss. That's rough.

dannyexplosion said...

Truly sorry.

Tenkar said...

pets can definite be family. I'll be devastated when my girl Ashley passes, as all pets finally pass. She's sleeping on my desk as I type this and all i can think of is your loss.

Frederick said...

I am just reading about your loss, and it hit me hard, because I just went through the same thing. MY 16 year old poodle, Dusty, passed on Dec 21st. I too work from home, and he was my constant companion. I loved him the same way, he knew me so well and could anticipate my routine. I got his hair cut the Friday before and took some photos, he looked so nice, I would never have imagined that only a few days later when I took him to the vet for a loss of appetite that I would hear that his kidneys were failing. I hoped to at least have him through the holidays, but two days later he was in bad shape, hardly moving, not even drinking, so we took him to the vet and let him go.

So you have my deepest sympathies. I look at his photos, and videos, and try to imagine he's back behind my chair in his bed as I work, but it doesn't help. Some times when I turn over I still reach over in the night to feel for him in the bed and he's not there. It will be a long time before I get over this, as I know it will be the same for you.

Anonymous said...

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went."-Will Rogers

Anonymous said...

"You think dogs will not be in Heaven? I tell you they will be there long before any of us."-Robert Louis Stevenson

Anonymous said...

Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really. - Agnes Sligh Turnbull