Rascal died on Monday evening. He hasn't featured very much in this blog since he got upstaged by kids nine and a half years ago, but that doesn't mean he wasn't a huge part of our lives up until yesterday morning. It was really hard to say goodbye to him, and the pain keeps coming in waves. When we have someplace to go and he's not there to hear my instruction to "be good and guard the house"—something I've said at least a couple times a day, every day, for the last 12 years. When we come back and I have to catch myself before saying "where's our dog?". When I cut the crusts off of Lijah's toast and have to just put them in the compost. When I walk down the steps to the yard and see his grave.
We were lucky enough to be able to let him die at home—after a terrible experience six years ago he hasn't really done vet offices, and the last thing we wanted to do was make him spend his last moments in such a stressful environment. And we buried him in our yard right by the steps, under the rhododendron bush where he spent so many summer afternoons. The boys lit candles and Harvey offered memorials he'd written on wood.
It's strange losing him. He wasn't such an active participant in our life over the last year, especially since his first stroke—or whatever it was—affected his hips and really limited his mobility. But we counted on him to always be there, and he was: attentive and loving, or at least putting up with us asking him to move from his comfy spot on the couch. And I discover I thought about him a lot. Today I was vacuuming and thought to check where he was so I wouldn't disturb him. Then I almost cried. Our family did fun things today, and argued, and worked; we mourned all day Tuesday, from the moment it was clear that he wouldn't recover, but now life has returned pretty much to normal. Except slightly emptier. He was the best dog.
We miss you Rascal.