As the days have continued we have done most of the ‘firsts’ without Zac. The first walk. The first trip into the village. The first drive in the car.
These are some of the hardest things. There are still more to come of course.
I am not sure how I will react to the first thunderstorm. Zac used to bark back at thunder, he wasn’t afraid, he enjoyed it. I didn’t like them but when I was with Zac I wasn’t afraid of anything.
For the first few days I was sure he was going to come back. I kept willing him to walk through the door, but I knew from the behaviour of His Beloved that something really bad had happened because she was so upset. I just didn’t want to accept it.
I could sense that she was shocked at the speed of it all too, so was I. In the morning we woke up, the usual happy family. By that evening we were devastated. How quickly things turn.
The pain was heart-rendering and then I could sense guilt in his Beloved. I heard her talking about what if’s. What if they had tried a different vet? What if they had used a different food? Useless thoughts.
This event has sobered me. The old me would never have given any time to think much at all but now the house is so quiet I have nothing but time for thinking.
I know his Beloved was worried about me after a few days because I wasn’t eating. I didn’t feel hungry. I felt sick all the time.
I still wanted to go out for my walk in the morning but I wouldn’t leave his Beloved’s ankles. I wouldn’t play with the dogs at the park. I felt isolated from them all. I felt so lonely and I didn’t feel safe anymore.
After five days I began to get used to the silence. I became used to that aching hole and the feeling of half of me gone was familiar. I don’t know if that will ever lift. I don’t know if I want it to.
I don’t want to forget Zac and I know his Beloved won’t forget him. It won’t be possible.
I found that I could eat again. It felt strange to stand at my bowl without Zac scoffing from his bowl next to me but I could do it. That gave me confidence.
When we went to the park I recognised some familiar furry faces and went up to meet them. I even had a quick run with one.
His Beloved and I are working through things.
My routine has changed a little but not too much.
I know that things will never be the same. I can never return to the carefree, untroubled Princess that I was, but I am beginning to accept that he has gone and I am beginning to cope. I am less frantic.
His Beloved has talked to me about Zac and she has stopped crying every time she thinks of him. She can laugh at some stories of when he was young and she can look at his photographs. That helps me too.
I still have pangs of guilt when I forget him for a moment and get immersed in a smell or a play.
Last night some dogs came on the television and I ran to the screen barking but there was no Zac to join me and I quickly stopped again, for a moment I had forgotten he wasn’t there to rile up, that made me feel guilty too.
Don’t think that I’m going to talk about Zac all the time. I won’t. It is just still fresh for me and I am still adjusting to being a single dog. It is quite a change.
For instance, I won’t be able to get away with anything any more.
They knew straight away that it was me who had rolled on Ajay’s bed and disarranged the pillows! When Zac was here there was always a certain amount of doubt about which one of us might have done such things, not any more. The buck stops at me!
I have realised that I can no longer push Zac into doing things on my behalf. I have to make it plain what I want.
If I want to come in from outside I have to ask. Before I used to rely on Zac to notice I was at the door and tell his Beloved.
And then there is the food. I always left that department to Zac. He was always more into food than I was. For instance I haven’t bothered with treats so much since he’s been gone, I’m not that interested. It was Zac who used to ‘assume the position’ and sit on his mat for a treat whenever he was brushed, cut or could think of a reason why he should be rewarded!
One thing that concerned his Beloved was the thought that maybe there was a special diet out there which might have helped Zac if she had known about it. So she is changing me over to a raw diet to see if it helps my itchy tummy. This is nothing like as serious as Zac’s allergy problem by the way. She had researched raw before but her old vet didn’t recommend it and sometimes it is hard to know what to do for the best. So instead she gave us special, no grain food made in Australia.
Now however she feels more confident about trying the raw diet and I’m pleased. I like raw and of course now I can’t rely on Zac to tell her so I had to let her know. This I did by not touching any of the old food she put out and only eating the raw. I thought that would be pretty obvious but she didn’t give me any more of the raw roo meat.
So I went to her, sat and looked up at her like Zac used to. It wasn’t a complete success. I didn’t get extra meat but I did feel that she understood. I shall have to wait and see what the next few days bring. There seems to be a lot of waiting and seeing at the moment.
I guess I am having to take on more responsibility for myself. I am having to be more assertive. I think the fun will come back in time but I haven’t felt much like playing yet.
I am not a brave and fearless Tibbie like Zac. I am his Princess, gentle and a little timid. And yes, I like pretty things. I step lightly, I can run, I am agile. Zac was not agile. I don’t mind walking on wet grass and whilst I don’t love baths, I don’t hate them like he did. I quite like to feel clean and tidy.
I didn’t need to think or worry or work things out. He did all the thinking (and more) for us both. He did bring me up though and some of his ways must be in me by nature (he was my blood uncle) and by nurture. Only time will tell how much.
One thing I have always done better than Zac, though he would never admit is, is to sound an alert. If someone comes into the drive I bark. Zac always thought that was rude. He thought everyone was his friend. I don’t. I will bark. His Beloved tells me I am good for doing that.
I have had to re-think what I will call his Beloved. Beloved was Zac’s name. He adored her and she him. She loves me too but we have a different relationship.
So I have been thinking of an appropriate title for her which is mine, all mine. Anyone have any ideas?
Love Zena, the unhappy Princess