One More Sylvia Post…

I buried my best friend today.

Horrible.  It’s trite to say how short a time we have with pets.  How much they grow into our lives, our hearts.  And then suddenly, they’re gone.  It’s trite, but there it is anyway.

No one should have to wrap a limp little body in a pillow case.  No one should have to place that body inside a cardboard box. No one should have to dig a hole and then bury that box, cover it with dirt.

But I did all that for my Sylvia because I love her.  I loved her many quirks and eccentricities.  How she sat on the couch and stared at me for hours while I wrote.  Or stared outside the window and growled nonstop at the stuff floating down the river.  I love how she went bat-shit insane whenever “outside” was mentioned.  I love (and oh god, I will miss) her having to sit on my left leg when we rode in the car.  How she looked out the window and felt the air and smiled her little doggy smile. She loved car rides.

I shouldn’t have to miss any of that.  But I do.  I already do.

I have two other pugs that I love dearly–Sadie and Tovah.  But the house is quiet and lonely today. I can’t look over and see Syl on the couch.  I can’t hold her, squirming, and give her kisses, smell her ridiculously bad breath, rub her tummy.  I won’t be able to torture her with pug maintenance–teeth brushing, ear cleaning, fold cleaning (her absolute least favorite) and nail trimming.  I won’t be able to sneak her secret treats, because she was the oldest and my special, special baby.

I won’t be able to snuggle up to her on cold nights.  To have her lick my head when she feels the need to clean me.  I won’t be cleaning up the enormous amounts of shed fur anymore. Deb won’t have her special pug to settle into the chair with and watch TV.  I won’t be able to watch her as she watches TV, growling at other animals, especially horses.

She has moved on, moved on from me as life does, as all life does.  And while that’s the way of things, it doesn’t mean that I have to like it…right now anyway.  I don’t know what you believe about life and death, and I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything.  But I do believe that death is a movement, a next chapter if you will.  That whatever animates us–all of us, dogs included–whether that’s a soul or a life force or cosmic energy or whatever, it carries us through this transition that we see as death.  I believe that there is something after death.  What?  I dunno. But I do believe that I will see Sylvia again someday.  I believe that I will hear her happy little squeals, that she will dance in circles at the sight of me, that she will lick my head and smile her snaggle-toothed smile.

And as I said in a story about another lost dog of mine, we will both be here.  Right here.

Until then,  I will miss her profoundly.

Lord, I will miss her.


About John F.D. Taff

John F.D. Taff is a writer, published author, raconteur and wrangler of angry stoats. He has more than 80 short stories and 7 novels published. He lives in the great, unspoiled vastness of the Midwest. He has a tremendous wife named Debbie, three pugs, Sadie, Tovah and Muriel, and three great kids--Harry, Sam and Molly. View all posts by John F.D. Taff

11 responses to “One More Sylvia Post…

  • Nina D'Arcangela

    Each pain is unique end belongs to the bearer, but I know where you are right now, and I’m so very sorry to learn of it. Much peace for your troubled heart, John.

  • John F.D. Taff

    Thanks, Nina. I need a little of that peace today.

  • Mark Matthews

    As i said, the loss of a pet hits a spot that doesn’t get messed with any other time in our life. I wept over my last deceased pet swearing I’d never love again.

  • latash72

    HI John,
    I understand your pain. I too am an animal (especially dogs) lover. I am very sorry for your loss, dear friend.

  • Erik Johnson

    John I saw these emails yesterday and wasn’t prepared to write back. It’s so awful for you, I am sorry. It hurts really bad with pets, I know. We are going to get a puppy soon and my wife was just saying how, it will die in about 15 years, and that she used to think that was a long time, but now that we are older it seems like nothing, it’ll be here next week.

    I immediately thought your story Here.


    • John F.D. Taff

      Thanks, Erik. It was a hard, hard day yesterday and the house is so quiet and lonely without her. I miss her so incredibly, but am happy for the time I had with her. She really was a special soul.

  • kimperial1492

    It won’t be easy for a bit, I’m so sorry. I had a cat, who was a supreme mouser, and one day, he didn’t return from his hunt. He was young, and healthy, and I lived in the mountains, where there were quite a lot of predators. Julian wore a bell, and I swore, for weeks, that I kept hearing that bell. I even made up a story for myself instead of thinking of the truth. I am glad that you have 2 other critters, it always helps take the sting away, even if just a bit, to hug another that you love. Make sure to give them a bit more, they will feel the loss too. I hugged and kissed all my critters for you yesterday.

    • John F.D. Taff

      I understand. I see her out of the corner of my eye, sitting on the couch, looking out the window. Sadie and Tovah are getting extra love, that’s for sure, and I appreciate you bestowing that on your animals in Sylvia’s honor. Thanks so much.

  • Rayne Millaray

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss, John. I can’t even imagine losing one of my fur babies. Take care.

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