WHAT THE HELL

Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

This boy’s life …

Our dear old friend is leaving us this afternoon. After almost fourteen years of family fun.

Actually Hitch has been quite the handful, and we like to say that we were probably the only folks around at the time willing to invest in him. He was a rescue dog from Oklahoma, where they haven’t heard of no-kill shelters, and the rescue we got him from had brought him all the way to California to save his skin. But he was emotionally frail, even damaged. Afraid of literally everything. He’d been adopted and returned at least twice. It took him an agonizing six months to warm up to me, though he took to my wife, Sue, right away. She’s always been our Hitch whisperer.

Eventually trust was forged, and Sue, Hitch, and I became an inseparable trio. We went everywhere together, on hikes, on road trips (because he couldn’t be kenneled), on routine errands. We both worked at home too, so he was hardly ever without our company, and vice versa.

I’m feeling a lot of melancholy today, even though I know that, at the age of 15-and-a-half, he’s in the outer reaches of dog life. He’s tired. Can hardly walk. Eats like White Fang but can’t squat very well to do his business. His eyes tell us he’s ready to move on.

We’re having a vet come to the house, and she was kind enough to provide a sedative for him so he won’t be aware of what’s happening. He should be sound asleep by the time she arrives, which is good because Sue and I would hate to see him in a state of fear at the end.

The strangest thing of all is that a little creature like this can be such an enormous figure in your life. He can dominate your world for years, and then, one day, he’s simply gone. He leaves a giant hole behind.

And, we realize, gone too are the years of our lives that we spent with him. Add up your last couple of dogs and a huge slice of your time on earth is covered. Kind of terrifying.

It all goes very fast, ultimately. And that’s a big part of the melancholy.

At least dogs go to a very nice farm in the country when they leave. That’s a pleasant thought.

14 comments on “This boy’s life …

  1. Marie A Bailey
    January 18, 2021

    I’m so glad Greg and I had a chance to meet Hitch, even though he didn’t seem to care for our company 😉 You wonder what could cause an animal to be so fearful, and then you realize you don’t really want to know. The important thing is you became a threesome, Hitch enjoying on-demand attention and unconditional love for 14 years. Sending you and Sue lots of love.

    • Kevin Brennan
      January 18, 2021

      He’s that way with every visitor, so I hope you guys didn’t take it personally! The perfect dog for an introvert writer. 😉

      Thanks for your kind thoughts. It’s a day we definitely haven’t been looking forward to.

      Like I said, “Tomorrow comes soon enough.”

      • Marie A Bailey
        January 18, 2021

        We didn’t take it personally. We figured he had sized us up as cat people so why bother be friendly 😉

  2. pinklightsabre
    January 18, 2021

    Ugh, I’m sorry for your melancholy Kevin. You’re right too, not just the hole it leaves from that amazing creature but the time in your lives it also represents. Hear that. So long Hitch.

    • Kevin Brennan
      January 18, 2021

      Thank you, Bill. It’s been a pleasure bein’ Hitch’s daddy.

  3. Berthold Gambrel
    January 18, 2021

    My condolences. It sounds like you gave him a great life.

    • Kevin Brennan
      January 18, 2021

      Thanks, Berthold. It might be the other way around tho … 😉

  4. Audrey Driscoll
    January 18, 2021

    Sad news, Kevin. I’ve been there a few times over the years with cats.

  5. Ilona Elliott
    January 19, 2021

    Ooof, Kevin. That is heart wrenching and all so true. So glad he got to have a life with you and your wife that included all the love and companionship you gave him. I also think of our dogs lives as markers of the passing phases of our own. Saying goodbye to all of that is so hard. I sympathize.
    RIP Hitch.

    • Kevin Brennan
      January 19, 2021

      Thank you, Ilona. He’s gonna be in our brains forever …

  6. TamrahJo
    January 24, 2021

    My condolences on your loss – it DOES hurt and was so happy to read that all worked out for Hitch to walk his final path, here, at home. That said, a vet, and then an animal shelter manager, and then the animal control officer where I worked, all, over the years, told me, “It’s easier to train an aggressive dog to calm down, than it is to take a scared, damaged dog and give them a home where they feel safe. You always take the scared/scarred ones – often, the ones no one else wants’ – Whether they were being nice to me or it’s statistically true, I was reminded of that when I read your post – – and at some point in your grieving process, hope you remember MORE all the wonderful home years you provided instead of the gaping hole moment of loss — for me? Takes time to get to the point of remembering all the good times – I spend my first journey into grief thinking about all the ways I could have done better/failed – – 😀 Hugs and <3s to your household

    • Kevin Brennan
      January 24, 2021

      Thanks, TJ. I know what you mean about the way we could have done better, but the overwhelming pot of memories will be great. As we always said about him, Dude, we saved your life!

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This entry was posted on January 18, 2021 by in Et alia and tagged , , , , .
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