Five years ago, our lives were changed forever. This day snatched away a very precious part of our family. We lost Rocky, our beloved Labrador Retriever to a prolonged illness. Our family lost a beloved son. I lost my constant partner in crime, my huggable moron, the only soul who could melt my heart with one look of his. Though there were days when he would refuse to hand over the ball to me after playing fetch, days when he would vent his anger on my shoes or my favourite flower pot, he more than made up for those lapses with his loving nature and unshakable loyalty.
Back when we were still reeling from his loss, the phrase “just a dog” used to make me see red. It still does. Though it might be hard for some people to understand (especially for ones who have never had a pet), losing a pet can have much more of an impact than losing a relative. Yes, go ahead and google it, if you don’t believe me. You will be surprised at what turns up.
He wasn’t just a dog, he was our baby, our little brother, our own special furball of joy. Void in my heart that can never be filled. For years, I couldn’t bring myself to think about him, about our loss without breaking down. I didn’t even attend a recruitment drive in my college that was held a few days after his funeral because I didn’t trust myself to not break-down in the middle of the interview. My heart ached and I was so mad, angry, sad and lost. Even now, thinking about the days following his passing makes my eyes tear up a little bit.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years without him. About five years ago, I was agonizing over the fact that I would forget his scent, the feeling of his soft fur under my hands, the immense happiness that would flood my body whenever I spent time with him. I hated that now there would be no wagging tail to beat against my leg as he positioned himself near me. I would miss him drooling while I carried his food over to him. So many little things that I had taken for granted at the time. And yet, in a flash, he was gone and along with him, the many memories that time and death had cheated us out of.
A part of me died along with him. The Rocky-sized hole in my heart will never be filled. Just like Peggy before him, Rocky too has left an indelible mark. But my love for dogs has only grown. Though it’s been five years, we never got another pet. It takes a while to recover from a loss like that. And with me staying in rented apartments, I doubt if I will be able to adopt one soon. But after so many years, I am able to think about him without the grief clouding over my memories. I can finally talk about him without breaking down in the middle of a conversation. But every time I see a dog, I’ll always think of how he was the best. I remember how his entire face would light up the moment he saw me. There’s still a painful tug in my heart whenever I see a golden Labrador that looks just like him.
I spent the entire day putting odd writing this post because this still wasn’t easy. But time has taught me that he will always continue to live in the hearts and memories of his loved ones. I know that he wouldn’t want me to stay unhappy for long. He was too gentle and kind a soul, and he would want his loved ones to be happy.
Rest in peace, my sweet baby. You will always be remembered. The footprints that you left in our hearts are strong enough to stand the test of time.
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