Last night I said goodbye to my friend of nearly 14 years, a few days shy of his 14th birthday. A friend that has been consistently by my side longer than anyone else. I was his entire world. It was a common conversation of “where’s Rudy?” “Oh, with mommy.” He was always by my side like my shadow. Rudy was the complete definition of loyalty.
I stroked his hair and talked him through the end moments. We said goodbye as the sun dipped behind the horizon and stroked his hair as the fireflies flickered through the yard. He never wandered far from me during his life, and he’d search for me if I was gone. So him going to the other side in my arms fit, I suppose. It was heartbreaking, those final moments. Yet there was something peaceful within it too.
Grief will comes in waves – it always does. It’ll sneak into the moment moments I expect him to be there like he always has been. I’ll naturally glance over while I’m in garden to see if he’s laying on a cool patch of earth waiting for me to finish. I’ll look next to the rocking chair while rocking my babes, expecting him to be curled up next to the chair.
It’ll be the next road trip where I’ll expect him to pop up on the console to be the Co-captain of the trip. It’ll be the next walk where I go to grab both leashes and expect the kids to argue over who gets to walk him. I’ll thinking to call for him on our next hike or camping trip because so many times he would bound off looking for the chipmunks and squirrels. Or look for him at my feet as the campfire glows.
It’s safe to say I learned a lot from Rudy. I learned an immeasurable love because he loved me with all of his being. I was his favorite thing in the whole world. He taught me that adventures are always fun when you’re with your people. Rudy taught me that even though you might look or feel small, you’re never too small to put up a big fight.
There will never be another dog like you, Rudy. Thanks for loving me so well. What I wouldn’t give for a few more good years with you.