When I started writing this, you’d been gone for less than three hours and already I didn’t know what to do without you.
When I found you at the pet store, you weren’t what I expected. Your scrunched up face was flat against the glass while you napped. The shop was clean and well kept and you all looked happy- you didn’t even complain when a schnauzer swatted you across the face. You were small and wrinkly with a dip stick tail and you looked so happy to have someone to play with- I wondered how many people had played with you. You jumped in my back and sniffed my hair. The owner said she called you Pumpkin sometimes because your face was wrinkly like the ridges of a pumpkin.
A few days later I brought my mom to see you. I was worried you wouldn’t be there anymore but you remembered me. She was skeptical but we had lunch and then came back for you. You were on clearance and I’m not sure why. We mentioned a radio ad and you were an extra $100 off. Such a bargain. The woman at the shop asked what I was going to name you and I told her your name was Roger.
We brought you home the next day where you met Melissa and Dustin. You played so hard that you passed out on the futon by the time it got dark. You were so different from Angel but you were always the sweetest boy.
We didn’t bond right away- I was still going to UNLV and working full time and you wanted lots of attention. You had so much energy and you always looked happy. We kept you in the kitchen and guarded your movements because Angel was territorial and blind and we were always worried he might snap at you. He never did.
Driving out to Florida was stressful with you and Angel in the backseat the whole way there. You proved how quiet and cooperative you could be and never made a mess in the house or caused any trouble. It was your first time sleeping on the bed and I remember in the hotel on the way there, you curled up against my stomach and quietly growled at everyone who walked by the door.
When the vet said you might never walk again, you proved them wrong in weeks. Leaving you at the hospital was so hard and even Angel missed you and laid by your kennel at night. Taking you home after your surgery was so sad- you wanted to walk and move so badly but you couldn’t. It was heartbreaking to see you cry whenever you realized you couldn’t walk. I think that’s why you started walking again so quickly- you didn’t like not being able to do whatever you wanted.
Your first battle with cancer didn’t even seem to phase you and you were so nice to not get mad at me for laughing at you in your cone. You kept doing you and for four years, it stayed away and you kept smiling.
When we knew the cancer was back, we knew we couldn’t save you again. You were too old to put under for surgery. Making you comfortable and happy and keeping you pain-free for as long as possible was our priority. We knew we would lose you but wanted to make sure you were as happy as possible before it happened.
I missed traveling when lockdown happened but it was a blessing- I got to spend almost nine months with you uninterrupted. Months and months of snuggles and nap time. Lots and lots of treats. All the kisses I could give you.
I love you so much and I always will. I will miss you checking on me when I’m in any other room of the house, I will miss how you would lie on your dog bed in my room and sing when I’m taking bubble baths. I will miss watching you run around in your Chewbacca costume and how carefully you would eat treats from my hand. I will miss you sitting on my face when you think I’ve slept too late or herding me out of a room when you wanted me to come hang out.
I’m so grateful I got to spend the past eight and a half months with you, uninterrupted. That time was precious. All the naps. All the snacks. Lockdown was never wasted because I got to spend it with you. RIP Roger. I’ll see you again. I promise.