“You are no longer where you were, but you are everywhere where I am. For me, these words of Victor Hugo about his deceased daughter, reflect exactly how I feel today. In September 2021, my dog Dexter died of bone cancer at the age of 9. Sure, he wasn’t young anymore. But, his cancer was gone within 2.5 months of being discovered. I didn’t feel prepared for this heartbreak. He was discovered by chance after a day spent at the water’s edge. His death was extremely brutal to me. It seemed unreal. How could my dog, who was running, walking every day, living his best life with his family after years in the shelter, be dead? Then, the stupor passed, my world collapsed. Yet this is not my first dog. Was our story so special? Why do I feel like I’ve been surviving for months with a dagger in my heart every time I get up?
Memories of our team of shock
I know some people won’t understand why the death of my dog affects me as if it were the death of my own child. But I don’t care. I never imagined I would feel such an intense and negative emotion at the same time. We are not always in control of our emotions… besides his words are more for me and to help me write down emotions, put words on what destroys me from the inside.
What I would like to tell you
My dog, my friend, I miss you so much.
We have traveled so much together in a short time. 6 years is both short and long.
I forget all the flaws that I loved so much about you and I miss them.
I am constantly replaying the memories. The ones that make you laugh and the ones that make you cry.
I didn’t get rid of the proofs of your existence: your health book, your necklace…
The day of your adoption was really a moment of joy for both of us.
We shared so much. You were my adventure companion
There was nothing more rewarding than having you in my life and accompanying you to your last breath.
Dexter and Arsene
The last day
I remember that day as if I were there. Your illness had made you lose 8 kg to the point where we could feel your spine. Your tumor, which threatened to break your pelvis at any moment, had deformed your body. That morning you didn’t get up. Your body had been limiting you for weeks. But I understood that morning that it was not the same. I felt it in my gut. You were going to leave me. This was followed by calls to the vet to take you to the clinic that evening and see what could be done…again. I didn’t want you to suffer. Therapeutic persecution is not my thing. Yet I would have given anything at that time so that this would not be the last day of your life.
Dexter and his girlfriend Lyca
Have followed the worst hours of our lives. As much for you as for me. You started screaming. Without interruption. With rare exceptions, the moments of silence were more terrifying than your screams. As a family, we rushed you to the vet. We didn’t even wait. The vet picked us up when we arrived. The vet is quietly checking my dog. I can tell by his attitude. He won’t have good news for me. “We can keep him alive a few more days to give you some time”, “but he won’t be him anymore and I don’t guarantee he won’t suffer”, “this is the end”, kind and supportive words followed. The delicacy of the vet was remarkable. I think that masters must be reassured with him in this kind of ordeal. But at that moment, I am just cold, angry, sad in my head. But determined to put you out of your misery. To let you go free to join Bamboo our other dog who died in the first confinement. My two old dogs in the space of a year, it’s too much. Life suddenly seems too painful to bear. I have another dog at home. I think of him Semper. The youngest, he is just 7 months old. He represents all the life that is leaving Dexter. My dog is not breathing. He’s calmed down. I’m not really. But it’s a relief that he’s not suffering anymore.
I thought I would end this heavy writing with something positive. Talk about your adoption. You had 3 years in the shelter in your paws. You arrived at the shelter at less than a year. You will spend 3,5 years in prison, without any release because of the labels that will have been stuck to you at the arrival. Not ok human, not ok dog, not ok cat. Why did they keep you if they had so little hope for you. I have no idea. But, for a year I saw your “For Adoption” profile scrolling on the networks.
Your face and name reminded me of one of my childhood dogs. I struggled to adopt you. I didn’t fit the profile they were looking for you. I had a dog and a cat and I didn’t have a yard at the time. But after weeks of struggling to just do a behavioral test for compatibility, they agreed to try a match with my adopted dog Bamboo Husky. This moment was decisive for both of us. Love at first sight between two souls. My two dogs were accepted in the second. On the way back from the walk and the meeting, fate sent us a stray cat in the paws. He rubbed up against Dexter. This one was very friendly. In the end he was only mildly interested in running cats. I knew you would stay with me. I can’t explain it, but you know sometimes you just sense things accurately. That’s what happened. You became my Dexter, my Doudou, my little dog (40 kg anyway).
Dexter and Bamboo
The word of the end
I don’t know how long it will take me to finish my grief. Everyone goes through it differently. The pain is right there. It’s with me every day, at work, in my interactions with Semper, in life where he is no more. I look forward to the day when this pain becomes a sweet friend full of memories…
Our family in 2019