One year ago today, my sweet little Casey had to be put down because lung cancer had suddenly filled his chest, robbing him of breath and comfort. One year ago (and it was on a Sunday), I was milling around the arts booths at Adam’s Morgan Day with some friends, enjoying the weather, the sights, the sounds, the happiness — when life changed, and instead of being happy, I was devastated.
Yesterday was Adam’s Morgan Day. Every mention of the festival, every time I hear the words, I cringe inside. I think of that moment, that exact moment my mom’s voice on the other end of the line told me Casey was gone. Every time I hang out in Adam’s Morgan, which is not that often given I live and work near it, I get a funny feeling. I immediately remember that day, I remember the pain ripping through me, the world spinning away, numbly being put into a cab and sent home alone, to cradle my stuffed corgi instead of the real one who was like a brother.
Two months after Casey died, I came into the house back in Ohio for Thanksgiving and only Harrison was there to greet me. It was like a shock to my system, and I held Harrison with everything I had, sobbing into his hair right there on the laundry room floor, where once Casey would have been jumping up and down, begging for attention.
Three months later, when I came home again, for Christmas, my parents and I were headed for an afternoon at a friend’s farm – which turned out to be the home of our breeders, Cheryl and Ed, who had first given us the wonderful gifts of Harrison and Casey. And then we found McGee. McGee is the best possible combination of Harrison and Casey — sweet and loveable but rowdy and a little pest all at once. An adorable pest to be sure. He rips apart his toys and contently chews on them for hours as Casey did. Every day, there are so many little things he does that make us think of Casey. McGee is a new (if not annoying) little brother to Harrison, and certainly for me. He is comfort and silliness and laughter when we needed it. Casey is carried on through McGee, yet he is his own little doggie personality, too.
Some people may not understand how a dog can bring so much to someone’s life, even a year later. You don’t know until you have it. Casey was as much a part of our lives as any human – even more so in some ways. And he still lives, just in our hearts now.