I've lost two friends recently. They belonged to friends of mine, and I mean that in a clan sort of way. They were two greyhounds - Raven and Tex. My friends have a pattern of adopting greyhounds from the track, and letting them live their final years with happy, unconcerned romping and napping and all the things that we want for dogs. Raven and Tex were two of those dogs.
I met Tex first. He was a handsome fellow, strong, white with brown. He came into our world with a cocky assuredness - not in a malicious way, but as though he didn't realize there was any other way to be. My friends had Royal then - toothless at the time, near the end of her life - and Tex ran her over, not knowing her when Royal was the only name she could have been called, and just thinking she was some old lady instead. It was frustrating for my friends. But I said he meant well - and he really did! - and that he had a heart of gold, and that he could learn, and I said something else too, that I don't remember now. I became known as his Bethvocate from that point on. What a nice dog he turned out to be.
And then they got Raven, after Royal died. She was a tiny thing, but held magic in her ways. She was as dark as you would think she was, with a name like Raven. She nearly didn't make it right when they first got her, as she had valley fever, and my friends had to work hard to ensure her health. They started making special meals, and they fed her special pills. They showed her that they loved her, and wanted her to stay around. And Raven loved them back, loved this kind world she'd found herself in, and so she worked to get better, to let all their work be for something. And she made it - she did! - And then there were two.
Over the years, Tex got older, and his hind legs gave out a lot. He just couldn't go on the longer walks anymore. Raven seemed disappointed - full of life, now, she was - but it was the way of their world.
Then, last year, Tex just couldn't stay around any longer. One thing led to another, and it was time to put him to sleep. I asked if my friends would mind if I came over to say goodbye. It is such a nice memory now, to have been there then. He perked up a little, even, as we sat with him and said goodbye before the vet arrived. Raven seemed to understand, seemed grateful that he wouldn't be in pain anymore.
You know, even when they know that it's their time, our pets stay around for us. They know we love them, and that we don't quite understand the way the world works - ashes to ashes, and all of that - and so they hang on longer than they should sometimes, I think, just because they can't bear the thought of breaking our hearts when they leave...
After Tex's passing, Raven seemed energized. She was an only dog in the household now, and she seemed to like that. She got spoiled rotten too! And went on longer walks. It all seemed good.
And then, just like that, she started failing too. It wasn't the path of Old Man Tex, where one thing slowly led to another. No, with Raven it was almost overnight. One day she was jumping up, ready for her walk, and the next she could hardly move. I saw her this past Sunday. She was glad to see me, and let me pet her, but she was ready to go. My friend called her "little girl" several times, in a worried voice - something she does when she worries about Raven - and Raven accepted the name. Maybe she even remembered what happened with Tex - maybe she thought well, Beth is here, and is petting me while I lay quiet. Later, there will be peace.
That night, she got even worse, and my friends had no choice - no time - they had to put her down. Say goodbye. Tell her they loved her. Tell her thanks.
Both Tex and Raven are gone now, but who they were - the essence of their good selves - will live on. They have made their marks. I will miss them both. Rest in peace.