It's been very strange adapting to life without Benn. No waggy tail when we walk in the door. No automatic mop when we drop food on the floor. No super-soft fur pressed up against me when waiting for the kids to get out of school. No tripping over water bowls.
No jingle of tags. No sorting out pills. No letting him out last thing at night before we go to bed. No cuddles at the top of the stairs. No dog breath or kid giggles when he does something crazy. No bouncing nutcase at breakfast (after nearly 4000 days you'd think the enthusiasm would diminish, but it never did).
I cried when I was vacuuming--great big dust-devil fur balls of black hair. Because once it is gone, he's gone forever.
We have to throw table scraps in the bin! Unheard of.
But my daughter made me see something more clearly. She was crying 'Why now?'
And I was thinking that if he had to go soon, and I could see his tumor growing and feel the lesions beneath his fur getting more and more angry, now was about as perfect a day as he could choose. It was sunny with just a touch of frost. We'd had a lovely walk to school and back, a couple of miles, all told. He'd had lots of love and lots of treats. If I'd known that Monday was the day, I'd have lit the fire and spent the day sitting with him. I'd have given him the big chew bone I'd bought him for Christmas. But that's all I'd have changed. The idea of leaving him behind with our friends when we went away was eating at me. The thought of them having to make that final decision at a vets was excruciating. The worry Benn might be in pain and we didn't know it...
Benn would have had a great time at our friends. They combine love and food in the best possible way (especially if you're four-legged with fur :) and were, if possible, more eager to look after him after we found out he was ill. It would have been great, but I'm thankful we were here with Benn at the end. It was fitting. It felt right. There were no regrets other than he didn't live for another 5 years, cancer-free.