Was I dreaming? I don’t think so.
Last night I am pretty sure I felt Charlie’s back against my back. I felt the warmth of him right up beside me.
Now that might not sound like a big deal. But it is.
It is another remarkable change for my Charlie boy.
“Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.”– Orhan Pamuk
Every day he seems more willing to come closer to me. All those years I guess he feared Abi. She was so jealous of anyone being near me. She was my chief defender.
And I thought it was just Charlie’s way to be a bit removed. That it was his personality.
I could pick him up and place him next to me and he would thrash about like I was hurting him.
Maybe he was simply afraid.
I remember a few months ago, I was thinking about Abi and Charlie’s advancing age. Thinking down the line a ways. And I wondered which of them would go first.
Though it felt like an aberration, I recall thinking: Abi has been the alpha dog all these years. Seems like in fairness, though nothing about death is fair, Charlie should have his turn.
I recall feeling instant guilt for even thinking about such a thing. No one wants to think about their pet dying. But it is inevitable, and so I guess it’s natural to think about it from time to time. And to dread it.
Charlie is thriving. His personality has opened up. He seems freer.
He no longer stands by to let Abi eat first, as he’s done for years now when I fed them. (I would pick her up to allow him to eat, but he still seemed shy about eating. He would eat a bit and then stand aside).
Of course if he was really hungry, he would be more bold and eat with her. But if she got aggressive, he would walk away. I would chastise Abi for being mean, but that behavior never changed in all these years.
Now he indulges himself and eats like a little pig. The other day he ate so much he threw up five times. And the food is hardly even chewed due to his lack of teeth!
Charlie is evolving every day. He is more playful. He is transforming from a caterpillar into a butterfly.
Nothing could ever make up for losing my sweet Abi.
But I sure am beginning to enjoy watching my Charlie boy change and grow closer to me.
“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”– Josh Billings
I’m glad I didn’t give in to the temptation I had a few weeks ago of adopting a cat. Charlie needs time first for his confidence to grow and expand. And I will gladly give him that.
You know they say don’t make any really important decisions when you’re in the early stages of grief. Now I see why. Your judgment is clouded by sorrow.
Maybe some of these things I’m writing seem simplistic, too ordinary to even write or to convey to others. It’s not like I’m showing a DIY project or giving a tutorial for a craft or teaching you something.
I hope these posts about what’s happening after Abi died aren’t growing tiresome.
Every new thing that happens with Charlie, I think almost immediately: Oh, I can’t wait to tell them!
Of course them is all of you. You have become family to me.
I want you to know that I so enjoy reading your comments and emails. Where you share your own pets (and their photos) and your own losses and your own forms of grief. You have no idea how much it helps me.
Charlie (my little transforming butterfly) and I thank you.
“Every dog must have his day.” – Jonathan Swift (author, Gulliver’s Travels)