Many moons ago when I was struggling to fall pregnant, someone told me of a couple they knew who was in the same predicament. They told me that they bought a dog and shortly after, fell pregnant. I had always wanted a puppy, so my husband and I thought we would give it a go. We found a gorgeous rescue puppy. He was a bitser, about a year old, his head was too big for his body and he had these mad whiskers that made him look like a Chinese sensei.
Flash was the name given to him and the first time we took him to the dog park, I knew how he got his name. That dog was like lightning. We got Flash in June, I fell pregnant in August. I remember coming home from the hospital and introducing him to Elena. About two years later, I introduced him to Charlie. In a very short amount of time, our family had grown from my beloved and I to a family of five.
Flashmo, as I endearingly called him, was such a great natured dog. Shittest guard dog, all he wanted was a cuddle and to be loved. We gave him so much love. Charlie tried to ride him like a horse and thought his tail was a bit of rope to pull on. Despite the innocent aggression from my young kids, Flash was always gentle and loved them both very much.
A couple of weeks ago, Flash seemed super slow and distant. I joked that he was a bit stoned. The next day when he still didn’t come good, we booked him in to see the vet. They didn’t have appointments that day so booked him for the following day. That morning I went downstairs to give him a cuddle and check on him. I had both kids with me. I wasn’t at all prepared for what I had seen. As all animals do, Flash knew that his time had come, and he went deep behind the trees to his final resting place.
I was a wreck. Ugly crying and sobs of hysteria. It was my two-year-old that cuddled me and my four-year-old standing by my side with her little hand rubbing my back. The pain no longer completely consumes my every thought, but it’s definitely still there.
I know loads of people that have lost pets. Not going to lie, never understood why they were so upset by it. It’s not a human after all. Now I know, pets are part of the family. Flash certainly was. Our family went from five to four. That’s tough.
It changed my mindset about a lot of things. About grief, love, loss but more so, time. This idea of a finite existence. I found it so boring and irritating when parents would say, “they grow so fast” or “where did my baby go?” It seemed such a cliché and a wank thing to say.
But I kind of got it after Flash left. In a naïve kind of way, I remove myself from any idea that things will change. I live for the moment and enjoy the here and now. I don’t think that’s a bad way to be, but I feel that I might be taking things for granted.
Flashmo’s departure has given me a newfound appreciation for every moment. Charlie is a complete asshole and a petulant two-year-old. But he thinks I am the centre of his universe. When he gets home from day-care, he is genuinely so happy to see me. He loves a cuddle, he thinks the smallest of things are hilarious, and now I know, that won’t last forever.
Elena is only four and has epic tantrums to put the moodiest of teenagers to shame. But she has the most incredible imagination that’s not in anyway hindered by self-consciousness. She expresses herself in the most creative of ways and is consumed by the childlike wonder that only exists at her age. Again, that won’t last forever.
So many times I have wished away these years for want of more sleep, more independence, nights out with my husband. Now I know, this is temporary. For all the shit that comes with these ages, there is so much amazing magic and wonder that I don’t want to miss out on.
Tear shit up in doggy heaven Flashmo. Thanks for the amazing life lesson buddy.