How do you say goodbye to your best friend?? The little furry baby that has been part of your life, and a great deal of your heart for over 11 years?
My darling Hendrix, ran away over the long weekend. Thankfully, he was picked up by a vet, the end result was a conversation I had been planning to schedule with a vet in the next few months, but it was thrust upon me before I was ready. And she told me what I didn't want to hear. What I knew i would hear, but didn't want to.
Hendrix is 14. He has all kinds of old dog problems. He has a heart murmur, dodgy lumps, losing weight, bad teeth... And he has been getting steadily worse. We needed a professional opinion about what was best for him. And today, I got it.
I remember the day we found him wandering about our front yard in Warrnambool. It was December 13th, 1998. Josh's birthday and I was having an afternoon nanna nap. I had wanted a dog for some time, but was still umming and ahhing over committing to it. Hendrix decided for me. I woke up to J coming into the room, carrying this sweet, white, fluffball. I thought I was dreaming! I was so excited! He was so lovely. We kept him that weekend, he had a tag so on Monday morning, i called the council to find his owner. "A dalmation is it?" she asked. "er, no!" I replied looking at the little white ball of fluff at my feet. "Are you sure?!" She asked me. "Quite!" I answered, laughing, and described him. She called me back later, the owner had found him, and was looking for a home for him. She had put one of her dogs old tags on him in the meantime. I hung up and looked at Josh. "I WANT HIM!!!" I said, bursting into tears. We called her back and explained we were going away for Christmas, but could she PLEASE hold onto him for us until we returned from interstate. She agreed. Yay! She had found him roaming the countryside near Mortlake, matted fur, injured, hungry. A vet had fixed him up and groomed him, and he was about 3 years old, they guessed, though his teeth were fairly poor condition and at first made them think he was even older.
And he has been with me ever since. For everything. He was my baby before I had babies. Slept on my bed at night, took him for beach walks and to my parents farm visiting. When J and I separated the first time, and I was alone, and pregnant, and terrified - he was there every night, all night, to comfort me. He would nuzzle in when I cried, guard me, in a sense. He was there and graciously accepted the demotion when Finn was born, and again with RJ, never acting hurt or resentful. Gentle with the babies, loyal to the end.
He's been there for 5 house moves, he has escaped at least half a dozen times, but his tag always bought him home (except this last time). He has been, without a doubt, my best mate for a long time. I can't imagine how much I will miss hearing the click clack of his nails on the floor. Or feeling his warmth leaning against my legs for a cuddle. Even hearing that incessant yap yap yapping that drives me nuts! :)
I am glad that at least we can have a chance to say goodbye. To spend the next 4 days feeding him gourmet meat and scratching him behind the ears like he loves, for hours at a time. At 1130am on Saturday, I will be with him, at the vets. I will be there holding him, stroking him, and making sure that the last thing he hears, will be me saying "thank you" and "I love you."
So heartbroken. I love you HennyPen. Twosance. Nuisance. You-ey. Louise. Louie. Unnawee. Pendrix. Henry. Hendrix. Thank you for all the joy you bought to our family. You will be in my heart, always, mate.