Tuesday

This morning I gave Bebe our doodle dog the last bath I’ll ever give him. Of everything I’m losing as a result of my wife’s decision to end our marriage, Bebe is the most precious. He is sweetness incarnate. I’ve known many dogs in my life, of many breeds, both my own and others, and never have I known a dog as sweet and loving as Bebe.

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We adopted Bebe when he was seven years old, from Peace of Mind Rescue in Pacific Grove. From the moment he entered the house he was at home. Today he’s nine and a half. He’s a funny little dog, much preferring to stay inside—on the softest surface he can find—than playing outside. He basically will not play with other dogs. Larger dogs frighten him. Inside, he takes every opportunity to curl up on a pile of pillows or burrow under the bed covers. When my friends visited from Melbourne earlier this year—before the declaration—they nicknamed him the Pillow Dog. And that’s just what he is.

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I had asked my wife not to be home with Bebe when I leave the house forever on Sunday. No emotional farewells on the doorstep. I did not want to have Bebe watch me leave, never to return. I did not want to have to see his little face through the glass door, watching with such anticipation, as he always does.

She chose not to make this possible and instead Bebe will be with me on my last night in the house, and I will have to depart with Bebe at the door. There will be a tearful farewell after all. This isn’t what I wanted to happen. Once again, my wife has put satisfying her own needs and schedule ahead of my desires—even at this emotional time.

I think back to several months ago when I said how much I regretted losing Bebe, my wife’s response was one doesn’t “own” another sentient creature, that our dog wasn’t a possession that one loses.

As though that was supposed to make me feel better. I know it wasn’t however; it was a specific withholding of empathy. She said she knew that’s what I wanted and therefore she refused to give it to me. (This is neither a paraphrase nor out of context.)

Notwithstanding the final exit, spending my last night here with Bebe will be a joy—bittersweet but sweet nonetheless. He will nestle with me on the bed as he always does, close up by my shoulder when I’m alone.

He’s sleeping on my feet right now as I write this.

I’m going to miss him terribly.

A marriage cannot be sustained around a dog, but damn her anyway.

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