Letter to my best friend

 

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Gizmo

You were named after a Gremlin because my da said you looked like one. A fitting name; you multiplied like crazy inside my heart. I wonder how many times I actually used it; I called you Giz, Gizzy, Magoo, buddy, pal, Gizmo dog, Mister Gizmo dog, Mister Giz, Mister Magoo – I probably called you Gizmo the least. You were white and pure and truly too good for this world. You lit up every room you walked into, put a smile on my face every time I saw you.

I remember the day I got you – you probably don’t. You were in a little pen with your brothers and sisters. There was one bold one who kept barking and running. The others were all vying for attention. But I fell in love with the one who reminded me of myself; the only one sitting quietly, looking shy. That was one of the best decisions I ever made.

You were always my best friend, for 12 long years. But no time would ever have been long enough with you. You gave me such joy. Throughout everything, you were always there. You helped me so much through my depression, and I honestly don’t think I would still be here today if I hadn’t had you.

You were fat, and grumpy, and funny. To this day, you are still the only dog I have ever met who actually groaned and moaned constantly – which the vet told us was something harmless to do with your breathing. You fucking weird animal.

Then, two years ago, we found out you were diabetic. And we were told you may go blind. And you did go blind, about a week later. After many stressful failed attempts, we found a way to give you your insulin. We also had to put you on a strict diet, which King Gizmo did not take very well at all. For so long you would not stop scratching your food bowl. Eventually though, you got used to it, and so did we; you would even look forward to your injections because you knew that meant a treat afterwards. You were such a good boy.

Now that you’re gone, it’s hard to get used to. I keep catching myself checking the clock to see if it’s time for your food. There’s no one I need to help get up and down off the couch and beds. I don’t have to give out to my family for leaving stuff where you might bump into or trip over it. And I never realised just how much noise you made, constantly walking around the house. It’s much quieter now. I don’t like it.

I had a dream about you last night. It was just you in the kitchen, smiling and wagging your tail. It really sucks that I’ll never get to see that smile again, but I’m thankful I got to see it so often when you were here.

I’m sorry you had to spend your last night here getting sick, shaking, terrified and confused. On the way to the vet I felt sick. You were on my lap, and it felt like the night I brought you home; sitting in the back of my uncle’s car, you covered in fleas. You even got sick in his car. This time though you just lay there.

Then the vet said it might have just been the heat and that she would do some bloods and let us know around 5pm. We were only home five minutes when the vet told us it wasn’t good news. Your liver was shutting down, and your kidneys were on the way. So we had to go back. When we were leaving for the vet I grabbed my wallet, prepared to spend every cent I had to keep you around. But I knew I was just kidding myself.

In the vet’s you were on a metal table. We pet you and told you how good you were but you didn’t really respond. I wonder if you even heard us. The vet said you got excited when she put my jumper in the cage with you when we were gone. I think she may have lied but I hope it gave you some comfort.

I stayed in the room with you when it happened even though it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done because you would have stayed with me. When she was injecting you with the fluid you pulled away and now I can’t escape the thought that your last thought was that we killed you; that you were scared and didn’t want to go. I know it was the right thing to do – the vet said it was lucky that your liver went first, that your kidneys failing would have been tremendously painful.

It was surreal afterwards. Your head went all limp. I kissed you on your snout and put my fingers to your nose and no familiar warm breath came. I put my hand on your tummy, that was always perfect for rubbing, and no rise and fall.

We took you home and showed Ruby and Sam. They were excited that you were home but quickly realised something was wrong. But I think they knew you were dying beforehand. They were depressed the next few days. I think they still are a bit now. They don’t even respond to “Where’s Gizmo?” anymore.

I pet you for a while and hugged you and cried and cried – the last time you’d ever be there to soak up my tears. We brought you out to my da’s house, to Ballycoolan – your favourite place in the world, and buried you under the big birch tree. We put a needle and a vial of insulin in with you, along with your favourite treat, which you hadn’t had in two years – a tin of Cesar dog food. I bought a tin for Ruby and Sam to eat, in memory of you.

It was only after the hole was filled with dirt that I realised I will never see you, ever again. And that hurts. We had been in to the vet’s and back twice and had buried you and been home before 11.30am. That was a very long day. It still doesn’t feel real. I’ll hear Sam or Ruby walking in another room and think it’s you, or think I see you in the corner of my eye.

I hope you knew how much I loved you. I hope I showed it enough. You definitely did for me. It’s scary, not having my best buddy there to lean on, but I think I’ll be ok. I’ve come a long way, and it’s due in no small part to you. 12 years is a long time, but not long enough.

Thank you for being my dog, and thank you for being my best friend. Rest easy now Mister Gizmo Dog.

I’m gonna miss you. 

 

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