For Cosmo

Dear Cosmo,

Tonight I lit a candle for you, for the third time.  This time, at the DoveLewis Pet Remembrance Ceremony.  The prior two were at Kylemore Abbey and Westminster Abbey, when we were abroad and praying you'd remain healthy until we got home.

I always said that I couldn't imagine a world without you in it, and now I've lived it for five weeks.  It still doesn't seem right and so I just try not to think about it.  When I do think about it, I remember your last day,  you wagging your tail when we went to Mom's to pick you up for your last drive.  You didn't get up, or even bark... but you thwopped your monster furball tail against the bed when you saw me.   That was a true gift, and something I will remember forever.

I remembered your last go in the grass.  I was the first one to ever introduce you to grass, and what a sight that was.  You jumped straight up in the air like a little pocket kangaroo/pygmy ewok. 

I remembered how, on our way to DoveLewis, you stayed bundled up in the blanket and then sat on the backseat like a good boy, and how they took you away from us for far longer than I had ever planned to be apart from you in your final hours.  They put you in oxygen and gave you some sedatives to insert the catheter, and although I know that it was for your benefit - to make you feel better - I still regret deeply that I wasn't there for every second of those last moments.

I remembered curling up with you in the DoveLewis comfort room, and telling you about the land you were going to visit, where there was no coughing and gasping, and no handfuls of medication, where you could have all the treats you wanted... where Grandmom and Dad would take care of you.  I remembered you curled up on Mom's chest and quietly went to sleep while we gave you head rubs and told you how much we love you.  We all held on to you for as long as we could.

And when we returned on Wednesday to witness your placement, I did it because I owed it to you - to see you off on your final journey and to make sure that donkey was there with you.  It was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but I looking back, I'd do it again in a second.

And now, I try desperately to hold on tightly to all of you - every single memory that I'm afraid will get lost with time.  Your lifelong devotion to donkey, how you would squeak your toys like it was your job... just *squeak squeak squeak squeak* for what seemed like hours on end.... or how you would gnaw little holes in your toys and completely disembowel them of any stuffing.  That frustrated Mom, but I know that it was just your inner hunter breaking free of your tiny little bug body.

There was Jasmine, aka Jazzy Jazz... your first (and only?) girlfriend, and the low-flying bird shooting out of dark corner our garage.  We will laugh until the end of time at the memory of your face as you hauled ass out of the garage, as if yelling "EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF". you loved peeing on ice, skating around like Brian Boitano and spinning while you did your business... and how you would eat the snow as you bounced through it.

I remember how you were once so indignant about being taken for a walk that you pulled out of your collar and ran all the way home.  Yet up until your final month or two, anytime we took you outside, you'd run ahead, always in front, always leading, always prancing like your life was the best thing EVER. 

... how you'd bark bark bark bark bark until we finally couldn't take it anymore, and we'd cave and give you a treat.  Sometimes you'd pull the fake-out and pretend like you had to use the bathroom just so that you could come in and get a treat.  There was that giant hunk of steak you yanked off my plate once, and when I gave you the puppy heimlich because you were choking, it went down instead of out.  Well, it went out eventually, but we all suffered for that little process.

You had a more refined taste in food than I did - scallops and radishes and all sorts of strange things.  Sometimes you even tried to eat my face - my lip, my neck, my fingers.  And I'm not talking about the words best, but most stinky and slimy kisses... no, I'm talking about the bites.  We recognized as you got older that you were less tolerant, and I could never ever be mad at you for biting me. 

I remember your last kiss as we said good night, the night before you left us.  You weren't giving kisses out too freely anymore - barely at all, in fact - and going in for one was always a gamble.  But you gave me one little tiny kiss right before you growled, and I knew that was all I'd get.  You used to just bound over any obstacle to give kisses galore, and when that stopped, we knew it was getting close.  For the record, I would not give up a single kiss, ever... 

There was your "urf" and your love for belly rubs, and your disgusting puppy erections from the viagra and from donkey.  You always seemed proud of those - or at least, unaffected - which told me that deep down, and despite the froofy fur and the girlie tail, you were all man. You ate your feet like a champ and we only really ever got to touch them once you passed.  They were so soft from 13 years of chewing.  

You were generally fearless, with an indomintable spirit, a hilarious bit of sass and more full of love and forgiveness than anyone I've known.  You were my best friend, my little bug, and my puppy soul mate.

I miss you as much now as I did five weeks ago.  I love you, little buddy.