For a lot of people who drink, I would venture to say MOST people who drink, do so to relieve stress. Unwind. Calm Down. Chill Out. Whatever. I know I did. Actually I drank no matter the occasion, but that’s not the point.
The point is on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. the UPS man came to the house. He was bringing Breyer horses for my daughter, who turned 12 last month. If our summer had gone to plan, we would have been in Kentucky on her birthday at the 70th annual Breyer Fest. I had saved for our trip for months. But COVID 19 came and shut down the world. Our trip was canceled and the horses we would have bought there, were shipped instead. I had even ordered an extra one she had wanted as a surprise. She opened the box, squealing with delight, as I took a rare video of her excitement.
There is a bang on the door. I figured he forgot a box, I’ve been ordering a lot more on-line lately. I tell Addie to answer it.
“I ran over your dog.”
I heard this like I was in a dream. For a second, I dismissed it, thinking I surely had misheard. Then the shrieking started.
Poor Nosey, our little mutt who had been a steady part of the family since 2009, lay in the driveway, dying. Addie wouldn’t stop screaming and the UPS man wouldn’t stop apologizing and all I could do was shoo them off and try to comfort her in her last few moments. I don’t think she suffered. She never moved and her eyes and whole face were immobile. Her heart lasted, but not long. I don’t know if she could hear me. But I stroked her face and spoke to her until I knew for certain she was gone.
It’s a hard thing, losing a pet. Especially in an unexpected and somewhat brutal fashion. But you know what? I was sober. If this had happened last year, at 3:30 in the afternoon on my day off I would have been well into a bottle of something hard or at least a 6 pack. I would have been sloppy and slurry and part of the problem. I couldn’t have handled it.
Instead, I comforted my daughter who was crying. I comforted the UPS man, who was also crying. I dug a grave and buried my friend. I gathered rocks to make sure nothing could disturb her up and held a funeral. I took a shower and cried big tears. I went outside to sit on the picnic table and called my husband who was out of town and give him the news. I sobbed into the phone.
How come everything happens when husbands are out of town?
It struck me a little funny, how overcome and upset I was. This was the dog who dug up every flower bed. And under the porches. And around the A/C. And the entire back of the new house. Who rarely, if ever, would come if you called. She normally went the other direction. The dog who would disappear for days after fireworks or anything else scary. Who lost every single collar I bought her within hours. Even the pretty, fancy one with a name plate. We always blamed it on her being a little burrito, the same size from her neck to her tail. She showed up as a wee, little puppy. Huddled next to a tractor tire and growling, my husband thought a baby wild hog had wandered into the yard. She quickly got into all kinds of things, thus the name, Nosey.
This was a big day for me in sobriety. It was the first really emotional event I have dealt with sober. And it was surprisingly easy not to drink. Sure, the pain was hard. The emotions were raw. And I really wanted to not be experiencing the situation. But I am so glad I was present, and by being present, could honor my sweet pup.
Love ya’ Nosey. You were a great dog.