I feel kind of like a wrung out dish rag. I've been doing a rather excessive amount of crying this weekend.
Our dog, friend and family member, Bosco, passed away yesterday morning.
I was bracing myself for it... I have been for years. We knew he had a heart murmur and over the last two weeks, he's been fading fast. Sadly, it doesn't really hit you until it happens. I had a sliver of hope that he could hold on for... well, ever.
It was one of my biggest fears that he would lose his dignity in a long, agonizing death.
I was worried fluid would collect in his heart and lungs and he would suffocate.
I was worried I would lose the Bosco I knew and loved, before his death.
But none of that happened. He died just as I wanted him to. Fairly young, with most of his mobility and still Bosco in my memory. I never wanted to see my beautiful dog lose what I loved him for. And he didn't. He was Bosco, my sweet, perfect Bosco for every moment of his life.
Bosco was a Border Collie/Great Pyrenees mix. He was beautiful. Picture a gigantic Border Collie with a wider face and a lot more hair and you have Bosco in all his glory. He was protective, uncannily human, playful, loving and gentle. He adored children. He made friends with anyone brave enough to come closer to the big barking collie.
We've had him since he was just a little pup. I grew up with him. The past nine and a half years are all stamped with his memory. I remember when he was young and crazy... and the way he drove us all crazy with his incessant barking at birds and bunnies. How the local vets loved him and remembered his name (he was a bit of a ladies man). How beautiful he was when he'd take a nap and sprawl out, mooning the world trying to warm his tummy in the sun. How he hated having his feet touched. The afternoon I spent looking into his serious eyes and explaining to him why he should join the army (true story. I was young and crazy too.) How he would only obey me if he thought my request was "reasonable". The day we gave him his full name (Bosco John Ernie Ignatius) How picky he was about everything from beds to bones. How perfectly dignified and majestic he was. How he used his paws like hands. How he seemed to be able to judge character.
As the years passed, it seemed as though he outgrew me. He got older and wiser and I got bigger and stupid in all new ways. He seemed to treat me with the sweet indulgence and tired tolerance you would have with a small child. Sometimes he would like at me like "Really? You ridiculous human. When will you learn?"
He watched over all of us. That's what we all were to him- his job, his responsibility. You could see it in his eyes. The way he alerted us to the presence of anyone outside of the family on the property. When he patrolled the yard with a seriousness that was almost comical. He was the sheep dog and we were the sheep. And if any little lambs forgot... well, he would set you straight pretty fast. Mess with his flock, and prepare yourself for the consequences.
He's leaving me with a big old hole in my heart, but I am so grateful to him... for all the joy he gave me. For all the times he let me cry into his fluffy mane. For his protection. For his undying loyalty. For his love.
I called him my "Furry Angel" (among other things) and I know he still is. After all, everyone knows all dogs go to heaven.
Good bye, Bosco. Thank you so much for everything. I loved you, I love you and I always will. You're in my heart just as you were and just as you are. Bosco, my sweet, perfect Bosco.