See you at the Rainbow Bridge, Cowie

I wish this was the blog about how spectacular my recent trip to frigid Canada had been but it's not.

This is the blog about my dog, Cowie.
The one who passed away a couple of days ago.
I've often heard of stories about dogs who get depressed when their master had been gone for a long time. In any of the stories I've heard, the dog ultimately lost the will to live.

Yet I've been told that you can talk to your dog and assure them that you will be back. And against all sense of reason, they will understand.

I had the talk with her before I left. If she understood, there was no way for me to know. But I thought it would be enough.

Apparently not.

When I arrived at the house last Monday morning, she was the first thing I wanted to see. I expected her to meet me at the gate, wagging tail and fussing over the luggage I brought with me. Two calls later and she still wasn't there.

Finally, my mom came out and told me she's been weak, frail and not eating for the past few days. She said to go see her and let her know I've come back.
So I did. There she was under my mom's bed, but for the wagging tail, nothing else let me know that she was happy to see me again. She was so thin and fragile but I had to move her to my room.

She was born in that very same room 10 years ago. That's when I found that my dog just decided to give birth in the comfort of my bed. I thought the little disgusting sac was stillborn but she cleared it up and that's when I got a clearer view of her first pup: A precious little white thing with splotches of brown and black that reminded me of a cow. Hence the name.

Ten years later, on the floor of the bed is where she would take her final breath after days of dehydration and malnutrition.

Perhaps she thought it was her fault and that I abandoned her.
I couldn't help thinking the same. Maybe it was my fault. Maybe I abandoned her. Maybe I shouldn't have been gone for so long. After all, two weeks is a long time in a dog's life.

Now she's gone.
The hardest part is going through my old routines and realize she's not there anymore.
Having to wake up on my own every morning because she's not there promptly at 6am poking her nose and her paws in my face, making sure I'm up.
I still set aside leftovers from lunch and dinner only to realize she's not there to lap them up heartily.
I keep expecting she's still there outside the bathroom door waiting for me to finish, but no she's not there.
Just like she's not there when I come home from work. Yet I'm  still careful when I open the door because she might be behind it just waiting to pounce on me and pull me down just so she can lick my face.
She's not there when I open a bag of bread loaf. Wherever she is in the house, whenever I open that bag, I just know she'd come running. I'd tear up the first slice, throw each piece up in the air, and she would always catch them. If I give her an entire slice, she would lie down, piece of bread cupped in both paws, and munch it like a regular person.
What I miss the most is when she just sits down, one paw stretched, waiting for me or anyone to shake her paw. I don't know she picked up that habit but she's the only one of my dogs to have done so.

Her passing marks the end of the dog era in the house. After losing four dogs in two years, I took me a while to muster up the courage to watch "Marley and Me". When I finally did early last, she was there while I cried over that movie. Now she's not here as I cry over this entry.

You stuck with me the longest, and I'm sorry that I wasn't around for the last two weeks of your life. Thank you for everything and goodbye. I love you.