This morning I slept later than usual...I reset my alarm three times and finally just turned it off. Eventually, I remembered all of the things I needed to do before work and rolled out of bed, just as the sun was coming up.
I stepped through my morning routine, piddling with little tasks. I knew eventually I would have to step outside the door to take Max for our walk...I would have to face Charly's absence...and so I kept putting it off until I had to go - I was running out of time, but I owed it to Max.
So I did it - I stepped out on the porch and said "Let's go for a walk!" Max rose from his bed and came to me, whimpering. I scratched his head and said, "I know."
And then we walked. Frankie started off with us, but then went back to the house, like he did yesterday. But Max and I walked to the curve and back.
He was confused that we walked so fast. He disappeared into the woods and when he came back out, I was ahead of him.
It was different, this walk. I've spent so many years walking with Charly...even this morning, I felt he was there beside me. But even with Max beside me on the return trip, I felt a sense of loneliness. I think Max felt it, too.
On the return trip, I looped around to where we buried him, to check on his spot. I wanted to make sure nothing had disturbed it. I spent a few minutes there, thinking about those first walks with him, when we first got to really know each other after his fight with Chewy...when I had to walk him on the leash after his surgery. We'd follow this loop down to the pond, up the driveway and down the road a bit, going slow because of his injury. The fight had been a tragedy, no doubt about that. But out of it came this friendship that I will always treasure.
Today was easier than I expected it to be. I guess it's because I know we made the right decision - I wish we hadn't had to make it, but it was forced upon us. I loved him too much to watch him go down any further.
We've had many sweet messages from friends and they all truly help - even though we've been through this before, for some reason it helps to hear from others who have lost pets and know exactly what we are going through.
I'm trying hard to repress certain thoughts...like the fact that Max is already six years old, and a big dog...a very big dog...so we probably have, perhaps, four more years with him, if we're lucky. Four years will fly by.
And Frankie...how old is he? How long do guineas live?
No, I won't think about these things, except to remember to treat every day with them like it might be my last. I'll give Frankie his seed and talk to him because he's a chatterbox and so sociable...and I'll try to remember to brush Max every day, because he likes it, and to let him snuggle on me and give me "sweet kisses" even though they pinch and hurt like hell sometimes, because he's such an affectionate dog...and as much as I'd love to, I won't have him forever. Except in my heart, of course, with Charly.