a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Clearing Away

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Clearing Away

SUMMARY: It's not that I don't want to remember Tika--I do--but I don't want things ambushing me everywhere I turn.

After she was gone, I started right away in clearing away everything that I knew would sucker-punch me in the gut if I were to see them.

In the first few days, I:

  • Picked up, washed, rolled up, and put out in the garage all the extra carpets that I'd purchased and gradually spread more around the house to help her get to her feet or stay on her feet. Most she hardly ever had a chance to use. I hadn't realized how quickly she was declining that last week when I bought several of them.  
  • Oh, and peeled off all the sticky reusable carpet holders, washed them in warm soapy water, and put them back into their storage box after they dried.
  • Emptied her weekly pill minder and hid that away. 
  • Offered all her meds to my agility club (most, no takers), so bundled them up--along with all the specialty foods and samples and baby food (lots of jars) that I had bought for her and dropped them off at the shelter.
  • Removed the carpet stair treads that she never used. (Took me four times longer to remove than to install--that was most excellent double-stick tape.)
  • Took her leashes out of the car and the front hall closet and put them into the garage for storage.
  • Likewise her food dish.
  • Washed the harness that a friend loaned us over 2 years ago for temporary use.  Not sure when I'll be seeing the friend again, so it still hangs in the laundry room, where it, yeah, sucker punches me every time I see it. I suppose I should package it up and mail it.
  • Cleaned out the special quilt and harness and water dish for her sleeping area in the car.
  • Took her ramp out of the car.
  • Gave the other 2 dogs what was left of the baby food and snacks that she didn't finish the last couple of days and tossed the rest.
  • Have been working at emptying (by feeding to Boost and Chip for meals) all the fractional bags of kibble that had accrued because she has been picky about kibble for so long now--a year? more?--and I'd rotate through a variety over a week or so. So far I've emptied 12 bags of various sizes, have almost emptied another. Have 5 additional open bags and one unopened one that I bought that last week because it was a new one to try.

I can't put away or dispose of all the places and times and actions that hit me suddenly when I encounter them.  I open the garage door after coming home, and there are only 2 dogs, and I wonder where-- oh.  After 2 years and 4 months of dispensing pills and treats every morning and every evening, no breaks ever, suddenly that ritual is gone and I feel an emptiness about that time every day, or when I think, Wait, did I give her her med.... oh.

When there's no dog lying on the back porch in the cool evening air.

When I think that I should go check on her to make sure she's OK.

When I pull out the bully sticks and give out only two.

When I can take Boost and Chip for a walk and don't have to make time to take her for her own, slow, walk. Wish I did have to make time for it.

When I pull out the treats and she's not instantly there, obsessing about how to get me to give her some.  The other dogs are not nearly that involved with their treats.

Noticing the ribbons and championship poles and plaques on the walls and remembering that they're almost all hers. And we'll never ever do agility together again, or anything.

So many things.  Crap, I didn't think that this would all make me cry, but of course it does.

I have been looking at photos of her, evening after evening after evening.  I think that maybe I'll pull out a big selection of them and make a slideshow. And then I think that I couldn't stand to do so.  But I can look at photos. As long as I remember to remember how much fun we were having and to not remember that she...


Chip is lying here with his head against my arm. Warm.   Boost is dozing on the floor near my place on the couch. They're good dogs.


Oh, Teek.


  1. More: While looking for varieties of healthy things to tempt her, I read that putting cottage cheese in the freezer and pouring off the resulting liquid removes most of the lactose, so I bought a container and put it in the freezer that last week. So, took that out and put in the fridge. Haven't tried opening it.

    Now, when I open the freezer, I just see the package of ground beef and the packages of chicken that I bought that last week to cook for her.

    And opening the fridge, there's the dozen eggs that I also bought to cook for her.

    She did seem to race down the last hill so quickly.

  2. Oh Ellen....I guess there's no way around this part of it. Nothing I can say will make it better. But I wish I could somehow. You loved her so much. You still do. So the grief is strong. But she's worth it.

    1. Thanks again, Dawn. You're right about all of that. But having people care is in fact helpful.