I'm trying to think of the last time I was completely without a pet in my home. I may have been in my twenties...my early twenties. I have had many pets, and have felt the pain of their passing, but this time feels different because in the past, there was always a pet waiting for me at home.
This time there is no muzzle for me to caress, no ears to rub away the grief.
The Lady Spazzleton, our rescued golden retriever was old, so old that I feared every morning she would not rise from her bed. Duffy, our corgi was middle-aged and I expected he would live for at least another four or five years.
Nothing of course happened the way I thought it would. Duffy had a degenerative disease. Lady Spazz had a cancerous growth. Lady died at home on her own terms. I had Duffy put down when I saw the resolute sadness in his eyes.
And now there is silence in my house, a silence that has stolen my purpose.
When I get up in the morning, I don't open the door to let dogs out. I don't fix doggy breakfasts and add Duffy's medicine and set the timer. I don't put the bowls in different rooms and close the door and wait for them both to finish. I don't coax them into the yard with cookies to keep them from arguing about each other's food and who got more.
When I'm out of the house, I don't worry about getting home to let them out. I don't worry about being gone too long and having them miss me.
In the evening, I don't have to feed them again, or coax them into the yard, or leave the bedroom door open so they can sleep beside my bed.
Now that I don't have to do all these things, what do I do? I brush my teeth and fix my hair and meditate and plan and feel adrift.
Once the holidays have ended and I quite feel the newness of 2022, I shall fill the house with fur again--perhaps a cat and a dog. But at the moment, I wonder how I shall live in such a life without pets.