I've been putting my head in the sand about writing this post.
As the name of my blog suggests, Howard is such a huge part of our lives. He was the dog that couldn't just be next to you, but had to be on you, even when it was obvious that he wasn't comfortable. He was Oli's best friend and the proud protector of Hugo. He was daft……I mean REALLY daft. A lot of the time he was my only company.
He was who I hugged when I felt down. Who's fur I cried into. He's who I greeted when I came in the door.
He was Howard.
…and how much we love him makes it all the harder that we had to say goodbye.
Howard was ill in November. He went off his food and then started being sick. After a couple of weeks of tests (many, many tests) which ended up with them opening him up as they'd run out of options, they found that he had very advanced intestinal cancer and had no choice but to put him to sleep. He was only three years old.
...I say it was hard to say goodbye but in all honesty I hadn't actually said it. I took him in for extra fluids and for a scan, told him that I loved him and to be good, and then that was it. I left. They called after his scan asking to open him up. Twenty minutes later I got a call. As soon as I answered I knew that it had to be terrible news. You can't do an operation in 20 minutes, let alone close him back up and bring him around. All through him being ill, when I asked for the best case senario and the worst case senario, I was told "but it won't be cancer. He's far too young for cancer." I felt like a complete hypochondriac, as if I was infuriating these vets by daring to think that it could be the worst. That by me brining him back, time and time again I was telling them that they were wrong.
But they hadn't had the year that I had.
Part of me knew that yet another shitty thing was happening.
Part of me knew I was going to lose my best friend.
…and that's a terrible thought. The number of times I'd be sitting there with him, his head in my lap, and I'd hate myself for thinking that he might not make it. As if it was me thinking that, that made him get worse. Almost like I was killing him through the dread…
…and I know it wasn't me. Of course I do. But that knowledge doesn't help…
He's still gone.
A few months have passed and every time I sat here, at my computer to write it down I've had a complete block. I couldn't work my fingers. I wondered if I should just skip past this post, as it's so incredibly hard to write, but that would be an injustice to Howard.
Now I've bitten the bullet and written down all this word vomit I feel better. I know I'm not the most fluent writer (hell, I'm not even a writer). I write as I speak, and I'm probably rather boring but Howard got me into this blog, and I love writing it, even if I am just talking to myself. I could bury my head in the sand and run away, the grief is still so strong, but instead I'm going to click "publish" on this post and tomorrow will write another. Not everyone will remember Howard, but this little piece of cyber space is going to keep his memory alive.
Not everyone understood Howard, but that didn't matter because I understood him (then again I'm not sure everyone understands me so perhaps we made a good pair). Whether he was in his battlements (behind Tom's legs on the sofa) or barking through the window at next doors' cat…he was my Pickle. He was a happy, loving dog…and we miss him.