Fate had not been sufficiently cruel to me in calling an end to the longest relationship of my life (only three months and a few days but still a long-term relationship by my standards). Fate decided to call it quits on another significant relationship in my life and in the lives of three others when its fickle fingers claimed the life of my dog yesterday. The loss of the boyfriend is nothing in comparison to the loss of my dog.
Pope John Paul III, less formally known as "The Pope" and "Pope," passed away yesterday during what appeared to be a massive heart attack. His suffering was very brief according to my brother, who witnessed the episode. He groaned and fell to his side, then lost consciousness, which he never regained. He seemed to stop breathing shortly after keeling over.
Pope John Paul III first joined our family not long after my brother and I turned ten. We never knew his exact age because he came from the SPCA; their veterinarian estimated his age at approximately six months, which would have him roughly eleven-and-one-half years at the time of his death yesterday. That's almost par for the course as golden retrievers go these days. It's too short a lifespan for a dog in my opinion, although I would have chosen to have The Pope for the amount of time we had him versus any other dog (except for our first dog, Our Lady of Fatima, who had equal status to The Pope) for one hundred human years.
The Pope initially slept in a spot roughly equidistant between Matthew and me. From the time I suffered the assault in my final year of high school until the present, however, he slept next to my bed whenever both the dog and I were in the same house at night. If I worked through the night on school assignments, he rested on the floor next to me wherever I happened to be working. How did he know that I needed him to sleep next to me? I didn't tell him.
I was in Merced (a few hundred miles north of here) when The Pope died. I have mixed feeling about not having been here. There was obviously not much I could have done either to ease The Pope's suffering or to provide any care that would have increased his chances of survival. Seeing him go through the fatal cardiac event would have been traumatic. Still, I would have chosen to be here had the choice been mine to make.
The family waited until I returned home today to bury him. No one told me about his death until I got here because my mom thought that crying all the way home might have impaired my vision and my driving ability. My brother had already dug the grave. All that was left was for us to say a few prayers and words of farewell and to sing "Amazing Grace."
Will Rogers once said, "If dogs don't go to heaven, when I die, I want to go where they went." He expressed my sentiments perfectly.
Thanks, Judge Alex.