I have to write this or else I’ll be sneaking in paragraphs about Mr. Swirly for the next six weeks. Or longer.
First of all, I never really meant to adopt him. He was supposed to stay for a week as a foster, but I decided to keep him when I pulled out of the parking lot of the vet clinic where I picked him up.
Second, the last two or three years of my life have been Mr. Swirly-centric. In addition to the “normal” stressors any adult has, I worried constantly about him. Was he happy? What did Mr. Swirly need? How could I make his life easier and better? The dogs who required little or no daily maintenance (i.e., no daily med disposition) got stuck with the leftover love and attention I had to give. “God sends me the sick ones,” I’d tell people. Well, he also sent me two healthy ones and one who was faring well after we got her meds adjusted. All four were spoiled beyond belief (they have their own fucking BEDROOM, people – it’s almost as though I run a dog hotel here!) – but I worried so much about Mr. Swirly.
After a year of him being on twice daily insulin injections, losing his sight and slowly losing his mind, on June 11th of this year, I had Mr. Swirly put down (after many arguments I held with no one but the voice inside my head and my heart). I so detest the word “euthanasia” because it is so clinical. For that matter, I hate the phrase “put down.” I was there for Mr. Swirly when he passed from this world in a dignified, peaceful way. I’m happy that the last thing he would remember was his momma holding him, telling him she loved him (and that he was her favorite – shhhh! don’t tell the other dogs, please!). It would have gotten ugly had I let it go on longer, what with the way his body was failing. Never once was he in pain, and I think the timing was right. It was just late enough and early enough to be humane and to allow him enough time with his siblings.
In the old non-girlfriend, I often wrote about Trouble. He was one of the catalysts for that blog (well, him and the non-bf). Both of them pushed the envelope time and time again, emotionally. It will be nine years now since my beloved Trouble died. A LOT has happened in those nine years…
I grew up
I stopped thinking of myself first and foremost
I got a couple new dogs
I truly, really, honestly learned about unconditional love
Patience, understanding and acceptance were words I came to know the meaning of firsthand
Did I mention that I grew up?
My house is so much quieter now. I never realized the “noise” Mr. Swirly brought into my life. It was messy, scary, nerve-wracking and absolutely lovely. It was GOOD noise. It was the sound of love, the echoes of saving someone in need while at the same time, saving myself. I miss the noise of Mr. Swirly. My head and heart will be forever empty of that, and forever full, since I have my memories of him. And while I am glad he is without pain and confusion now, I miss the swirling that little dog did. He was strange, and oh so special. Not at all easy to forget. I never will forget you, Mr. Swirly!
In my life, all of the “bad” things became “good” once I embraced them and allowed myself to learn from them. From Trouble, I learned unconditional love. From Mr. Swirly, I learned patience. From this recent heartbreak, I learned that I will survive. There are three other dogs depending upon that.