I was going to make a regular post today, recipe and all, but I didn’t know how to work what happened over the weekend into talking about food. It didn’t seem right. I wasn’t sure how to handle it, or what to say…so I suppose I’ll just dive right in. My dog, Tessa, died over the weekend. I went back home to visit two weeks ago, as we weren’t sure how long she had once we found out that she was sick, so I am really thankful that I got to see her one last time before it happened. My whole family, Kramer included, doesn’t really know what to make of it. My mom says that she looks around and it’s like she’s still there, only you call her name and you don’t hear the tap-tap-tap of her paws on the floors as she comes running around the corner. I guess in her old age, she wasn’t quite the same dog that I grew up with, but she was still my dog, and even though I moved out 5 years ago, she was always there to greet me with unabashed enthusiasm; wagging her tail furiously and nuzzling her head into my shoulder as I bent down to give her a hug.
Everyone loves their dog and thinks that their dog is or was the best – that is no different in Tessa’s case. She was quiet, obedient, and extremely loving. On my most recent trip home, even though she wasn’t feeling well, she would still come over to me and want to be petted or let me squeeze her, and that’s something that not all dogs are willing to do. When I lived at home, I could always count on her to sneak into my room at night and wiggle her way under the covers. She, like a human, wanted to be snuggled up in the sheets. Tessa would climb up onto the backs of the couches, much to my mom’s chagrin, and roost up there like a cat. I guess she liked to be tall. She wouldn’t necessarily beg for food, but she’d always be sitting at your side, waiting for something to drop as you ate or cooked, but was sometimes finicky about what you gave her. She loathed the smell of orange peels and would do a crazy little dance if you put one near her nose, and she’d chew and spit out grapes if you offered her one. Everything else, though, was fair game, and even when she was sick, when she couldn’t eat, you could tell she really wanted to.
I miss her so much. I kept busy this weekend, trying to put it out of my mind so that I wouldn’t drive Kramer insane with constant tears, but it’s really hard. I keep thinking about how I wish I had spent more time with her, how I wish I had gone home earlier so I could have seen her before she got sick. I can’t decide if I remember her as a puppy or if I remember her as I saw her most recently. I feel like all of my memories of her are a jumble right now, and all I can think about is how desperately I want to wake up and find her curled up at the foot of my bed like I always did in high school. I am doing my best not to cry, but then something reminds me of her and I can’t help it. I know that it will get easier with time, and that she was in a lot of pain when she died, so I’m glad that she doesn’t hurt anymore, but it doesn’t make the fact that I will never see her again any easier, despite what I keep trying to tell myself. I loved her unconditionally, the same as dogs love you, without any judgement. I could always wrap my arms around her and she’d stay there for me until I was ready to let go. She was patient and loving, and I hope that whenever the day comes for me to get my own dog, that he or she will be half as incredible as Tessa was.
Edit: Thank you so much for your kind and supportive comments. It means a lot, and it helps tremendously to hear your stories and know that others can relate. My family and I have been reading each one and they are all so touching. You’ve all helped us remember that it will get better with time, but that it’s still okay to cry.
As a puppy. I don’t think this was the day we got her, but probably on the way back from her first set of puppy shots.
I think I took this for my 8th grade photography class.
I love this one because it not only reminds me of the one above, of her a few years earlier, but really shows Tessa in her true form.
Putting up with crap from my brothers.
But she’s happy to do it.
This was her when I last saw her, afraid of the camera and with her little shaved belly and IV bandage, but still loving as ever.
But I prefer to remember her this way. I love you, Tessa!