This afternoon, I was in the midst of a sunny, warm outing to the Adam’s Morgan Day Festival with a couple of friends, when I got a call from my mom – and immediately knew something was wrong. “Casey’s gone,” she said. My world stopped. Casey, my little tri-colored corgi, “Ceeter Cotter,” as we nicknamed him – was gone.
The world around me kept moving. People were laughing with their friends, admiring art from the vendors, petting their dogs. A violinist was playing next to me. My head was swimming though, as I was looking desperately for the friends I came with, trying to comprehend that my 11-year old “brother” suddenly had to be put to sleep today because he could barely breathe from tumors that had clogged up his lungs.
A couple days ago, he was fine.
I’ve cried a lot today. I cried all the way home in the cab while on the phone with my mom, in denial that Casey boy won’t be there to greet me when I get home at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I cried on the phone to my boyfriend, to my best friend since 7th grade, to a colleague. I cried to myself in bed, clutching my stuffed animal Casey, the one that also doesn’t breathe like the real one no longer does.
And now, because I’m utterly at a loss of what else I should be doing, I’m writing. And crying as I write this. This is my way – I need to get it out of the way, so that I don’t have to pretend I’m happy and perky for a few days. So that whoever reads this just knows, and knows that I’m not going to be myself for a little while, because I just lost a huge part of me.
Anyone that knows me, knows how important my dogs are to me. If you’ve seen the dozen or more pictures pinned to my cube walls, if you’ve heard me talk about “The Boys.” As an only child, they really have been my brothers through their 11 years. After losing my first dog Rocky, when I was 13, we got Harrison, a puppy, and then Casey a year later. They’re brothers.
Casey was always the more rambunctious one, but then again, he could be very mellow. We teased him about being bi-polar. We teased him because he was so small, clearly the runt of the litter. We teased him and called him Scarface because when he was chasing after tennis balls in the house, he would run into walls and doors and tables and keep on going – none of it fazing him. A year ago, he had multiple UTIs, and he bounced back each time. Last Thanksgiving, he had a problem with one of his vertebrae and after getting a steroid shot, was back to normal within hours, wanting to chase down the ball.
He was our Shadow. He used to follow me around the house everywhere I went. Then he followed my Dad everywhere- Dad was his favorite because he got a nice rub from him every night in the chair before bed – creating clumps of hair all over the hardwood floor.
He used to randomly run a lap around the rug, or the living room, and then just plop down on the floor, as if he had gotten whatever bug was out of him and it was no big deal. He would circle us in the laundry room while we prepared his food, and run back to Harrison ten times as if to say, “Why aren’t you coming?? Dinner is here!!”
He used to hate walking on the leash – we think because it made him remember when the breeders tried him out as a show dog – something he wasn’t into. Those old days also were what made him sometimes take huge roundabout turns to return a thrown toy to us – it was like he was doing a lap around the show ring.
We would time how long it took him to rip apart a new toy. It usually wasn’t more than five minutes. We would find stuffing all over the house. That wasn’t as bad as when he ate part of Mom’s leather purse, or Dad’s leather workout belt, or a baggie of protein pills.
He hated feet touching him. He would be curled up on a pillow (he always loved lying curled up on a pillow, so we called him Pillbug) on the couch, and if your legs came close, or dared touch him, he would shoot off the couch like an explosion.
He loved taking naps with us. PST, we call it when we nap with the boys- Puppy Snuggle Time. Casey would always find the crook of your legs to lay behind and rest his chin on your body.
Casey. Boo boo. Ceeter Cotter Casey Cookie. Casey Basey. He’s now gone, so suddenly that I didn’t get to say goodbye. All dogs do go to heaven, as the movie title suggests- and I firmly believe that he is up there now with Rocky, tearing up toys to bits, spreading the fluff all over the floor, chasing tennis balls a million times over, and laying on his back with his legs in the air, content as ever.
Now, instead of asking my parents to give the Boys a hug, or how they are – that won’t work. Harrison is the only one. When I walk into the door in November, I know it will all hit me again, and right now I haven’t even accepted that he is gone. For now though, I know he is happy. He isn’t in pain, and he went knowing we loved him very much.