I haven't had a blog post in over 2 weeks. I have had a really hard time with this one. I wanted it to be perfect, but we live in an imperfect world - something I recently became acutely aware of. I almost deleted the whole thing and threw in the towel, but in the end, I knew this post deserved better.
As you read through this post, I only have one rule.... you absolutely, without a doubt must be a lover of animals, and a dog lover in particular.
I lost my best friend. At first, I couldn't eat, sleep, let alone sit at my computer. Then, I made the mistake of turning on my monitor and there before me gleamed all the photos I had taken just a few days prior my his death. My sweet, beautiful dog, Trautman.
Just over 8 years ago, we brought our first baby home. My husband and I were newly weds and although my husband was reluctant, he gave into my persistent plea for a dog. I always had a dog growing up, but he never did. I anticipated his love for a dog would blossom. What I didn't anticipate was how deep my love for this dog would grow. I had dogs all my life, but never one of my very own.
As the years passed John and I expanded our family by the addition of our two tiny humans - first Sam, then Max. And, of course, the boys fell in love with Trautman, too.
Trautman was always so great with the kids. He let them climb all over him or lean on him while they watched TV and then eventually get up and relocate when he had enough. He loved licking their dirty/sweaty feet as they sat and played, while they screamed with delight from the tickling that ensured. Many mornings, I would call Trautman into Sam's room to wake him up by licking his face. Sam always covered his smiling face and when Trautman stopped, he would immediately call him back over for more licks. The kids loved him like kids love their dog - well.
All through the years Trautman was always at my side. I was his person. He was my shadow, my protector. When Sam was born, I worried that Trautman would be jealous of the sudden lack of attention that dogs often experience when a new baby arrives. So I got in the habit of calling him to me wherever I was in the house with Sam and Max and petting him every time I walked by - just so he knew he was still a part of this family. When I went running, Trautman was there, running along beside me and often sniffing every single spot along the way. I often workout in my garage before work and he would sit in the back of the car, just watching and waiting.
If you followed the rules about reading this post, then you know that dogs can be a best friend, a shoulder to cry on, a confidant or just someone to cuddle up to on a cold winter night. They are truly members of the family - they are just the silent party.
I knew that losing Trautman would be hard, but every time the thought of losing him crossed my mind, I would dismiss it. After all, he was healthy and athletic. We thought we had at least 3-4 good years left with him. Then it happened. It happened so quickly. He got got sick. I had to make the hardest decision of my life, up until this point. I had to make the decision to do what was best for him, not me. I am so thankful for my father-in-law for coming to get the kids and my mother-in-law and sister for coming to be with me. I don't know if I could have done it without them.
I was crushed. Seriously crushed! How could he be gone? Why am I so sad? Why can't I eat? Why can't I sleep? After all, he was only a dog, not a person.... Why do I still hear him slip and slide of the hardwood floor when someone knocks at the door? Why isn't he at the door to greet me? Why are John's slippers unmoved (Trautman was notorious for steeling slippers and prancing around with them in his mouth, but never actually chewed them)? I gave up trying to understand it all. I loved him. He was my dog. I was his person. He loved me. He trusted me. He was a member of this family and now he is gone and he has left a gaping hole.
I miss his companionship and I know that nothing can ever replace the love for my first dog.
So, lets all raise a chicken breast (he was a poultry man) high in the air and remember Trautman and all the beautiful canine companions that have gone before him. Without you, we would not be who we are today.