Olive. Little O. Osie Posie. Tender Muffin. Little Girl. Muffinella. Chicken Tender. Nugget. Ozie-O. Yesterday, my little 14-almost-15 year old pug left this earthly plane.
I have a little experience with the Loss of a Pug. Last December, I lost my other pug, Porkchop. To say it was devastating would be an understatement. I basically hid from the world for a month, smoked pot all day, and did yoga at home. Leaving the house was hard.
The loss of Olive was different, in a variety of ways.
For one, I knew it was coming. I recognized her decline in health, as I had seen it in Porkchop. The loss of sensation in her legs. Not being able to stand up. Not being able to pee or poop without help. The heavy breathing.
Knowing it was coming didn’t make it easier. At some moments I was willfully ignorant. Pretending it wasn’t happening. Fooling even myself for a few minutes here and there.
But I think the biggest thing is that when Olive died, I felt profoundly alone.
When Porkchop died, I came home and Olive was still there. In the near-year since Porkchop passed, Olive and I formed an extremely close bond. It was just us girls. We would get stoned and watch romcoms on Fridays. We had dinner together. I took her for walks in her sling. It was me and Olive, against the world.
When I came home after having Olive put to sleep, the house was just empty.
I had Olive for nearly 11 years. There was a three year gap in the middle, after I got divorced and my ex kept her and I kept Porkchop. After several years, we agreed it would be best if she came back to live with me.
I always worried that she would be angry at me for leaving her for three years. But if anything, she taught me a lesson about forgiveness. She was not once passive aggressive or distrustful. When I got her back, she continued loving me completely and fully and never stopped. She pretty much never left my side. She was my little miracle baby, returned to me.
Her health wasn’t good when she came back to me. She was overweight and overall just not well. But I nursed her back to health. She lasted nearly 4 more years.
With Olive’s death, I am mourning so much more than just her physical presence.
I am mourning the death of my marriage. I was divorced years ago, but I got Olive with my ex. It felt like a punch in the gut all over again: I’m really divorced. If I’d stayed married, I would probably have two kids by now.
Yes, I know I’ve gone on to lead a wonderful life that never would have happened without the divorce, but still, there’s that part of me. That what if part.
I am mourning the death of the relationship I had after my marriage ended. Where we went on vacations and took Olive and Porkchop, always. How we walked them around Asheville in a stroller.
I’m mourning all of the things and people and places that have come and gone in my life since Olive came into it. In those years, with Olive, I’ve lived in Seattle, Santa Fe, Asheville, Philadelphia. Olive has been to the majority of the lower 48 with me.
Olive was part of me, and with her death, it feels like part of me has died too.
I know I gave her a good life. The best life. And that she gave me so much joy, with her janky walk. With her assertive, feminine bark, indignant when I had the audacity to go upstairs and take a bath and leave her all alone downstairs.
Olive loved Channing Tatum. She liked Romcoms and she liked figure skater costumes. She hated being dressed up as a unicorn but she did it sometimes, for me. She melted the hearts of the kids on my block. She could be a little brat, but she was my brat.
Olive accepted me completely as who I am. When I gained weight, when I lost weight, when I was crying, when I was happy. She loved me unconditionally. I was never not good enough in her eyes.
I loved her with my heart. Who am I without her?
On a day like today, following the death of a beloved pet, it’s tempting to think that the world is just dirt. You know, that women never really faint and that villains always blink their eyes, that children are the only ones who blush and that life is just to die.
But at the same time, I know that is not what Olive would have felt. She would have opened her big googly eyes and been just as excited today as she was yesterday and the day before to be alive. Another day, another breakfast.
Yesterday, before I took her to the vet for The Big Sleep, I treated my little girl. I made her a hamburger with peanut butter and an egg on top, and I let her eat it off of a real plate. I sat on the floor and ate dinner with her.
We talked about boys. We talked about life. I told her how I was talking to someone I am dating now and how I asked him if he thought life was inherently beautiful or terrible, and how he said something that struck me as incredibly profound: “Life lurches”. I confessed: life felt like it was lurching, today, Olive.
Then, I drove her over to Olive Street. Whenever I’ve driven by this street I’ve though I wanted to get a photo of Olive by it. I finally did it yesterday. See?
I hope that when it’s my time, someone gives me a loving sendoff like that.
Goodbye, sweet Olive. Thank you for opening my heart a million times over during the all too brief time I got to spend with you.