Tierce: Why are you crying?
Me: Kona is dead.
Me: She was an American Eskimo. You never met her.
Tierce: Was she important or something?
Me: She knew Shassi. She played with Shassi, many, many moons ago.
Tierce: Impossible. Shassi never played with anyone.
Me: She did once. Kona used to chase her and pull her tail.
Me: True story.
Tierce: I can’t really picture Shassi playing with anyone, unless it was with their severed limb. She threatened to bite my nose off once, you know.
Me: You probably deserved it.
Tierce: You always loved her best.
Me: At least you know I’m not lying to you when I say ‘Yes’.
Tierce: Shassi… playing…
Me: It was a long time ago. Before you were born. Before your dam and sire were born. And now she’s dead.
Tierce: Is that why you’re crying? The death thing?
Me: Yeah, kinda.
Tierce: But why? They’re not here. Why think about them?
Me: The fact that Kona’s not here anymore is sort of the reason why I’m sad.
Tierce: But look, there’s a toy. See? I haf a ‘oy. In my mouf.
Me: That’s nice, but it doesn’t stop me from feeling sad.
Tierce: But maybe she’ll come back.
Me: No, Tierce, no, she won’t come back.
Tierce: It happens all the time. Someone leaves and POOF, they suddenly come back. Like you.
Me: I go to work, Tierce, for about eight-nine hours at a time, but I regularly come back. It’s really not the same.
Tierce: But I never know if you or anyone is coming back. So you could be gone forever and then still come back.
Me: No, it doesn’t work that way. We’ve had this conversation before.
Tierce: I’ve forgotten.
Me: It’s not something you need to remember. Don’t worry about it.
Tierce: Sometimes it’s easier to be a dog, isn’t it?
Me: Yeah. Sometimes, it is. But if we all thought like dogs, we would forget those who mean the most to us. And we couldn’t tell other people how much they meant or do things with our lives to remember them.
Tierce: I thought that some dogs grieve for their people or other dogs they were close to.
Me: They say that and there’s evidence that it is true.
Tierce: It must feel like there’s an empty place that can’t be filled by other people or other dogs.
Me: Yes, that’s how it feels for a lot of people and, I suppose, dogs.
Tierce: I’m glad I don’t have anyone like that in my life. Imagine how sad it would be to lose someone you truly care about.
Me: Uh, I’m happy for you. Really.
Tierce: What happens when you have a space in your life you can’t fill?
Me: You live around it until eventually it becomes part of you, part of your life.
Tierce: Then you replace it with another dog?
Me: It is said that there can be no replacements, only successors. No dog can replace another. They can succeed them, but each dog is different and therefore special.
Tierce: So is that how humans do it? Go out and get another dog?
Me: Some do, some don’t.
Tierce: I like to think that I’ve ruined you for all other dogs.
Me: For rude, opinionated dogs, maybe.
Tierce: Would you miss me if I died?
Tierce: But not enough to give me that pizza you’re eating right now.
Tierce: I don’t understand.
Me: And that’s probably for the best.
RIP Kona. I’m glad I knew you.
Thank you Julie for writing this and beautifully explaining to Tierce. There will always be an empty place in my heart, but I look forward to a time when the almost two decades of happy memories overpower the grief and sadness. Xo
“Me” is a very clever person to be able to get inside a dog’s head like that. At first I thought Tierce was an autistic child. Interesting….
That was beautiful, thank you. Brought tears to my eyes, reminding me of another dog. It’s tough to lose a friend. Hugs.