Until we meet again...my furry best friends
Anyone who knows me, knows I love my dogs. Honestly, the word obsessed is a better adjective, but saying love makes me sound more normal. Moose and Moo Moo were the only “baggage” that my now husband brought to the table 11 years ago when we started dating.
When he told me he had dogs, I assumed they would be a larger breed. I was very surprised when he showed me a photo of two tiny Chihuahuas. Full disclosure, it took a little bit of time for me to warm up because the closest I ever got to having a pet when I was little was a Pillow Pet. Ask anyone who had one, it’s not quite the same experience. Once I got to know them, I was hooked and I suddenly found myself having conversations with my husband about who would get which dog if we ever split. What can I say, I’m a planner!
Moose and Moo were there to celebrate all the big moments in our lives. When we bought a home, they were there to pee on the carpets. If it wasn’t for them destroying it, my husband would have never put in the gorgeous flooring that took him forever to do. When we got married and had a little backyard celebration, they were running around outside barking at everyone. When we had a baby, they were there my whole pregnancy keeping me company, and after she arrived they became her little guard dogs.
They provided comfort during the hard times. When I had two surgeries that absolutely sucked the life out of me, they kept me company. In 2020, when most of the world lost their minds, they made sure I kept mine. In 2021, when we sold our home and headed to Florida, they made our new unfamiliar house feel familiar.
Nine months ago, the day we always feared happened, and we had to say goodbye to Moose. He was just two months shy of his 17th birthday and even though we thought he was passing away for five years, (there were too many scares to count) it still felt sudden. He was the absolute light of my life. I realize I have children and probably shouldn’t be saying that, but as George Washington said, “I can not tell a lie.” When he passed, I felt like I was living outside of my body. It took months for me to start feeling normal again. I kept looking for him and I swear I would smell him out of nowhere. I thought I was going crazy. The only thing that truly helped me was knowing that the amount of pain I was in directly correlated to how much I loved him. I keep telling myself that this pain is a gift, because it’s proof of how much he truly meant to me.
After Moose passed, Moo Moo was never the same. She was with him for all 15 of her years on this earth and suddenly her best friend in the entire world was gone. She looked how I felt and seeing that made it all so much worse. As much as I wasn’t ready for a new dog I convinced my husband, in hopes that it would repair her heart a little. It took a while and we finally rescued a little bean we named Pepper. She is a Catahoula Leopard Dog (I had no idea that breed even existed) and Blue Heeler mix. She was tossed away, literally in a dumpster, with five of her siblings. Once we saw her little oddly shaped face, we fell in love with her. Unfortunately, the same could not be said about Moo.
They definitely had their sweet moments together, but I could see it wasn’t the same for her. She was on a rapid decline and nothing was helping her. Just seven short months after Moose passed, Moo Moo followed. Losing her felt like losing him all over again. These two dogs that had been with us for so much, were gone, and we are now left with the painful task of having to remember them longer than we got to spend time with them.
It’s only been a few weeks since we said goodbye to Moo and it’s still really raw. There are times I wake up in the middle of the night and feel around for her in the bed. She loved to snuggle and was always close by. Once I remember that she is no longer here, it hits all over again like a sickening wave of sadness right in my gut.
If you’re reading this, you are probably asking yourself why I would ever want to get another dog knowing how hard it is to say goodbye. The truth is, I’m a dog lover. I will want a dog with me for the rest of my life and can’t imagine not having one. I realize that along the way I will have to face these incredibly sad moments, but I know the love I get to experience while they are here makes it all worth it. I prefer the company of dogs and not people and I don’t foresee that changing. I take that back, I know it won’t change.
I’m so thankful for all the sweet moments I got to spend with two of the best friends I’ll ever have. Moose and Moo left paw prints on the earth for just a short time but on our hearts forever.
Kasi DeStefano was a longtime resident of Hammonton. She now resides in Florida with her husband, two girls and dog, Pepper. She can be reached at email@example.com.