Maggie and I met on our respective morning walks. She with her pint sized French bulldog Frank and I with Sage in tow, my giant drooling golden. The dogs inched forward, Frankie was about 1/5 of sage in size, I asked if he was friendly and she said yes, so we met mid way on the street.
The dogs sniffed each other in every orifice, Frank promptly got onto Sage's back and tried to dry hump him, Sage just sat there with a bewildered expression on his face.
Maggie was in India because her husband came here with a job, she taught yoga and is Polish. We both had our lives wound around our dogs, compared notes on how people thought we were crazy middle aged, childless women humanizing our dogs (which we were in a way), walk routes, vets, silly dog habits and everything else similar to what bus stop moms would talk about.
Our routines changed, we saw less of each other, or more of each other on facebook. She swung by the studio a couple of times, with home brewed limoncello her dad made in Poland and we did shots, I was in the middle of a large baking order and was positively pissed drunk by the time I did the final coating! We had lunch together once when my mom came to stay. We always made plans to meet other than on our walks but most of the times it never worked out.
We once rescued a dog hit by a car on the street and rushed it to hospital. We had different names for the same dogs we met on our walks. Some days we would stand chatting for an hour while Sage pulled at me to go back home for his feed and Frank would be restless to go home too.
Today Frank died. He had a sudden bout of sickness three days ago, it was diagnosed as a possible severe ear infection or a stroke. He was given some medication and saline but was sent home. M was just getting home after a month of teaching yoga in Goa and came home to this. Yesterday he had partial paralysis and by this morning he was gone.
The whole of last night, I was restless. I was in touch the minute I came to know he was unwell and M said they were doing all they could. I asked if I could be of help but didn't want to hover. Yesterday when she told me he had a stroke, my heart sank. I clutched Sage close and asked him to send positive vibes to his friend Frankie. Several times last evening I kept telling K that I was worried for Frank. This morning the minute my phone rang, my heart pounded. I knew it was over.
M asked if Frankie could be buried in our farm and I said yes ofcourse. I got his grave dug in a corner of the plot between two trees. We made the long and sad journey to lay him to rest.
When M and R took out his blanket to wrap him in it, Sage pounced on it and wouldnt let go, growling at all of us who were trying to retrieve it. We had to show him Frankie for him to let go of the blanket.
We put Frankie to rest with his favourite toys and stick and blanket and bed. Kissed by him mum and dad and surrounded by a few of the people he loved. I cannot even begin to imagine what M and R are going through.
The loss of a pet is devastating, especially when it is humanized into a child of sorts. All your parenting emotions are channeled into the pet. They become human, they talk to you, they understand you (or atleast that is what we imagine) and a world with just the two of you is built. But to have no way to process your grief via a funeral is particularly difficult. We buried all our dogs in our old house and I couldn't think of not having a resting place for them. my heart stop sometimes, when I think of a similar journey I will have to make one day.
M said he would love it there, it is quiet and peaceful with lots of birds and trees and flowers. She said she was very grateful for what we had done by allowing her to bury Frank, but that is the least I could do.
If I was in a situation like hers, I know I would have a friend who would do the same for me. I hope he rests in peace.