Shay died.

I got a text a few hours ago from my Dad saying that she was vomiting blood last night, so they took her to the vets this morning. While she was there her kidneys and liver failed. They ended up putting her down.

When I got the text I quietly put my phone back on my desk, and crawled back into bed.

I grabbed my laptop and mindlessly trawled the internet for 15 of the worlds coolest landscapes, and the top 100 coolest pictures of lions.

Half an hour later Dad called, probably wondering why I hadn’t responded to the news that my childhood pet had to be put down.

I made the appropriate ‘oh gosh that sucks’ noises, feeling like a fraud. I wasn’t upset… I wasn’t even all that sad. Just mildly sorry – in the same way you are when you hear a friend’s great aunt has died.

I mentioned looking for a new flatmate, and running into someone who knows my brother, trying to make my Dad laugh.

He sounded upset though.

I hate hearing my Dad upset. His voice gets all gravelly, and he breathes differently. It’s the worst sound in the world. He only sounds that way when something really serious happens.

When I hung up the phone I went back to blindly clicking and staring at the internet. Only, by mistake I clicked on one of those obnoxious ‘look how cute my family pet is’ websites. The ones with the badly spelled captions.

The first photo was a picture of a dog with a kid hugging it so hard it’s eyes nearly bugged out of it’s head.

Then I put my laptop away and cried.

I’m an animal person. Animals are easy. They love you unconditionally, right from the first moment you scratch the happy spot on their bellies, or sneak them broccoli under the table.

And Shay? She’s been my dog ever since I was 14. Every time I’ve been home over the last five years the first thing I do – after hugging my Dad – is head out to the back yard to see my dogs.

And every time she remembers me. Even though I’ve been living elsewhere since I was 18.

And if she remembers me, then probably she remembers when I’m not there too.

And if she remembers when I’m not there, did she know that I wasn’t there last night when she was throwing up, and in pain?

Did she know that I didn’t sit in the car with her on the way to the vets?

Did she remember that I didn’t scratch her chest, or tug the soft points on her ears before the Vet carried her up on to the table?

Did she realise that I wasn’t there when other people were stroking her head and saying goodbye?

Because I do. And it makes me feel really fucking bad.

(Image: By ToniVC)


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