Every once in a while, the Love Monster resurfaces and I have to bat her down.
She reared her needy head yesterday during a visit to the Pretoria Animal Hospital.
It was a difficult visit for Scott and me. The last time we were there, we had to wave goodbye to our lovely Hannah who was riddled with cancer. We thought she had a bad tooth; instead Dr. Morgan told us she was dying and we had to let her go.
It was one of the most difficult days of my life. Sweet Hannah, what would be do without her?
As with all deaths in the family, time does heal but we're still taking it hard. Every time we pass a golden, wagging a feathery tail and shaking its leash, the heart stops.
She's gone; we have accepted that. But it still hurts like hell.
Yesterday, we took our elder pug, Ming, in for her yearly check-up. As we sat in the examination room, our eyes focused on the brand new digital picture frame which held photographs of all Pretoria's favorite clients. And there she was, our little, wonderful Hannah only four weeks old laying on the old green couch, fast asleep. It was hard to fight back the tears.
That's when it always happens, right?
Like my old friend Steve once said after my mother died, just when you think you're over a death, a memory comes back to bite you in the ass.
So there it was.
We were grateful when the vet finally came in and checked Ming out. Got her on some antibiotics for an infection in her wrinkles, gave her a new prescription for her allergies, expressed her anals and gave her a manicure.
Ming is pretty healthy for a twelve-year-old. She has bad teeth, is all. Maybe we should consider a visit to the Alta Vista Animal Hospital to have the teeth taken out, the vet suggested.
If we win the lottery.
Unfortunately, we can't even afford to fix our own teeth so Ming will just have to put up with some bad choppers.
Until she doesn't.
That's just the way it is with pets.
They come in and steal your heart and then they go.
When we got home, I headed straight for the computer and started looking for a new dog, a new big dog. The Love Monster was in full flight.
I found a puppy. I could have gotten her today.
It took all my strength to pass on the offer.
You can't replace a good dog, and you shouldn't.
Hannah was irreplaceable. Ming will be too. As will be Gordie.
One day, there will be two more holes in my heart.
I pray it doesn't happen anytime soon.
And there's nothing the Love Monster can do about it.