The unconditional love a pet bestows upon its owner is a magnificent and fascinating thing. Turkish was a perfect example of that.
On a given day, I had human accomplishments and setbacks, sure. Some were big and some were small, and not a single one of them mattered to him. All that mattered was that I came home at the end of each day to meet my belly rub and treat quota with my Boss Dog.
I brought Turkish home in late October of 2009. He was just five weeks old and weighed about as much as a can of soda. He was a tiny, chubby, rolly, snaggle-toothed black pug mixed with who knows what.
He slept a ton those first couple of weeks we were together, but that soon gave way to weeks, months, and years of high energy levels for what felt like 20 hours of each day.
He could leap to almost face-level with me, and would go barreling through my parents backyard to chase the cars on the road behind their house each time we went for a visit. When I put up the Christmas tree or a new piece of wall art he would circle this foreign object (uninvited, as far as he was concerned) for hours; sniff, bark, sniff, bark.
When he wasn’t bouncing off of the walls, he was by my side at every waking moment. This closeness continued into his adult life. We traded wrestling in the yard for snuggle sessions on the couch.
During the cold weather we’d burrow under blankets on the couch. In spring and summer, we’d sit on the patio sharing chunks of watermelon and basking in the sunlight.
As the years went by he plumped up, which slowed him down a little, but never affected his general healthiness. He just had more to love, was all.
He was very responsive to me; always eager to please. But he also had moments of stubbornness and defiance. His way of telling me no was a shake of his head and a grunt.
It didn’t matter what we were or weren’t up to, he was content for us to just be. I was too.
When he passed, it was sudden and completely unexpected. The center of my entire universe, gone in an instant. I felt everything and nothing all at once. I was filled with heartbreak and emptiness.
I’m still not used to his absence.
Gone are the evenings where I come home after a hard day to a wagging tail and stinky-breath kisses.
After work, as I walk up my sidewalk, my heart sometimes flutters a bit in anticipation of opening my door and being tackled by him.
When I drop a bite of food on the floor, my instinct is still to call to my little mop to come eat up my mess.
At the end of the evening I still have the urge to call him to bed.
Instead of resting by my side, he now rests here.
I had him cremated and returned to me in a biodegradable box that contains perennial wildflower seeds. I just wanted something to remember him by that was full of life.
A wise man once told me “You will say goodbye to him over and over. When you see a picture of him, or remember something he used to do. You will say goodbye to little pieces of him throughout your life, and each time it will be difficult. Because he was your whole life.”. I think about that phrase every single day.
Thanks for the memories, Turk. Best five and a half years of my whole life.