i wasn’t ready for the wave of emotion that came over me when i dropped charlie bear off at the vet for a day of tests. it hit me first when he realized i wasn’t staying with him (he was more happy and easygoing than any dog i’ve ever seen in a vet’s office until then). he turned that big block head around and tried to come back to me as i moved to go. heartbreak.
when i got home, it hit me again. charlie is underfoot almost every step of the way of every day and all of a sudden, it was just quiet. evie comes and checks in frequently, but charlie always, always has his eye on me and, you had better believe when food comes out, he is right there, big eyes, holding his breath, bottom teeth showing… intensely watching and hoping (rightly so) that something will fall to the floor. i felt lonely without him right there.
it was odd to see evie night-night sunning in the front yard without charlie bear beside her and odd to see her behavior(s) change. she didn’t bark at passers-by, didn’t growl for diesel engines… she was very quiet and serious but very alert and watching me pretty intently. (all of a sudden, i’m reminded of the snl skit “that dog is looking at me funny”.) she did, however, dig an extra deep hole and nibble on the leaves of an azalea bush, so i wasn’t too worried about her.
i think what hit me the hardest was when i turned and saw that the water bowl was full. my heart sank… these days, it is always either empty or near-empty and not for lack of filling it. the main thing that drove me to take charlie in for a checkup a couple months back was his excessive water drinking. he’s always taken in a good bit but all of a sudden, he was drinking bowls and bowls full and, of course, needing more and more potty breaks. he got a little better but then last week, there was a day he didn’t follow me around the house, didn’t want to go outside, and didn’t even pick up the dustpan when i put it on the floor (that’s his favorite “toy” to sneak away with). so, in for more tests we went. charlie is ill, there is no doubt about it but i think—i hope—charlie is the dog who will live on for years, giving me a good scare every two weeks. today gave me a glimpse of how sad i am that he is growing older and becoming weaker. he has been with us a little over two years now but it really does feel like he’s been ours forever. he has changed our day-to-day in big ways and ten hours without him in our home made me realize just how many.
he and evie are snoring away as i type and watch “best in show”. a good end to a tough day.