Joey





We said goodbye to Joey on Saturday, March 12th. He was at home, in our arms, with my forehead pressed up against his, kissing his nose and his ear, telling him how much I loved him and how important he was in my life. It was incredibly beautiful and peaceful.

I am devastated.

It was time. I've known it for awhile, and I knew it in an immediate sense a little over 2 weeks ago. I've been crying for weeks. Months, actually. I feel total despair.

We spent his last week showering him with affection, attention, and love. We home-cooked all his favorite foods. I sat with him for hours every day, just sitting. I never really left his side. I didn't leave the house for almost two weeks. We even camped downstairs and slept with him, where he was most comfortable. He took naps next to all my paintings. I talked to him endlessly about what I was feeling. I told him how fully, how deeply I adored him.  I kissed him a million times.


He was very, very sleepy.

The silence is the worst part. I'd give anything to hear him softly snoring in the background. I feel sick every time I pass by an area he should be in. We haven't yet picked up his floor mats and bowls. I've been carrying his bed around the house with me. It doesn't replace him for the hugs I crave, or the feeling of my face buried in the soft fur of his neck.

Absolutely everything reminds me of him. I'm 31 now. I brought him home as a puppy when I was 16. It's been a very long time we've spent together. It feels like he has always been with me.

Joey turned 15 on January 3rd of this year. He had a long, happy life. I named him Joey because he reminded me of a baby kangaroo as a puppy. He liked to jump around. He was the most awesome dog I could ever have wanted. He learned every trick I could think of to teach him. He knew how to bring me the TV remote. He was first in his Agility class. He was an athlete. He loved playing ball. I didn't teach him to play fetch, he just knew. I also didn't have to housetrain him. Somehow, even at 8 weeks old, he just knew what to do. He never barked, unless we told him to. When we asked him if he "needed to go out," he answered with a soft bark or a sneeze-like horse neigh. If he didn't have to go out, he was silent. It was amazing. It made you forget you were dealing with a dog.

He was perfect.

I spent my childhood praying for him, wishing for him, dreaming him up, and the last 15 years enjoying him more than I ever thought possible.


To know me at all is to know how much I loved Joey. He saved me. He was my guardian angel.

We were inseparable. I don't feel ready to go on without him. I know he was waiting for me to grant permission. It was the right thing to do, and I couldn't have asked for a better situation, or a more perfect ending to Joey's life.

Ours was truly a love story. 

My heart is broken.

11 comments:

Baby Broas said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes and so many heartbreaking memories of losing my 16 year old baby Chelsi, 2 years ago. I'm so very sorry for your loss. Take the time you need to grieve. Praying for you.

Gyspy Artist said...

I'm glad I clicked on the link to read this post in its entirety. Your words and these photos honor him in the most beautiful way... I cried reading this. Not for his loss, but for all of the love and joy he brought to your life... My condolences.

Syene said...

The privilege to share our life with a kindred spirit is so rare and so beautiful. When they leave the hole is impossibly large. Move with and through the pain and into a brighter day (when it is time). The connection that you share/d with your beloved friend will become a fountain of joy. Though I am certain it already is.

It is so evident in these photos how much LOVE Joey brought to your life and you to his. My heart aches for you.

Karen said...

My heart is breaking for you...
So sorry for your loss...

Tamara said...

Oh, I am crying for you. What a beautiful friendship you and Joey had. You were so lucky to have found each other. I am very, very sorry for your loss. But glad of your amazing relationship.

Karen Whitworth said...

So sorry Shayla. :( What a handsome and loving memory you have of Joey to carry with you. A true treasure! Sending hugs and prayers. Again, so sorry. :(

Jessica Doyle said...

Ahhh Shayla my warmest most heartfelt condolences to you. It's so hard losing a family member… may your life be filled with the fondest of memories.

I lost my kitty cat of 16 years two years ago.

Thinking of you…
love,
Jessica

Emily said...

Shayla, I'm so sorry you're going through this. Losing my beloved companion Roo was the hardest thing I've ever experienced. The sorrow is indescribable.

One day, when you recall all you did for Joey in his last weeks to help him feel comfortable, and safe, and most of all loved, you’ll be really proud of how you’ve handled things. You found the strength to do the right thing for Joey at every step, no matter how hard, no matter how painful it was for you to let him go. That says so much about how much you truly love him, and about what a truly good and caring person you are.

Joe said...

As a breed of shepherd, Joey would often gently nudge me from one end of the apartment we shared to another, in accordance with whatever byzantine organization known only to him. Most pet owners tend to project a personality on their pets, but Joey projected his demeanor on you. I was fortunate enough to know Joey, and I cannot stress enough how much of an effect he had on everyone who knew him, even curmudgeonly "non-pet" people. His was as noble a soul as I have come across.

Praneeth Subasekara said...

I can't imagine what you must be going through, but I too have a dog and it would be devastating to see her go. Memories are there to cherish as long as you live. My condolences. Just hope Joey made a everlasting impact to your life.

Crystal said...

Bless your heart, I'm not sure that many people understand just how much our animals become a huge part of our family. Your story is so familiar and i feel I must give you a bit of wisdom, Babygirl it will get easier Joey will always have a special place in your heart and honestly that's the way it should be. My condolences to you and may your pain be eased.