He was sick all night Sunday, throwing up in the backyard. I checked his vomit; nothing unusual. Just food in different states of digestion. But I was worried. I kept him close, with plenty of ice cubes to keep him from getting dehydrated. He was still lethargic on Monday and a bit on Tuesday but seemed better and up to the usual walkies on Wednesday. Nothing else unusual; poop, appetite.
Friday we got up like any other day. The morning round-the-block and the afternoon walk to his favorite park. I left him on Friday evening, my birthday, to go to dinner and a movie with a girlfriend. I turned the TV on for him and put my pillows in a pile hoping that he would refrain from arranging them into his favorite burrow.
I got home on Friday night and found him sleeping in the burrow of pillows; his head angled strangely under one of the shelves that serve as a headboard behind the bed. I didn't want to startle him cuz he'd've gotten a right good smack in the face if he woke with a start. I put my hand under his jaw and said a gentle "Hey", and tried to move his head. Then I noticed his tongue was hanging out and he was not breathing. I went into the main house and called for my housemates. The other particulars are not necessary.
My best friend. My true love. He died peacefully, of old age.
Today I took his body to his vet, who offers a cremation/keep the ashes service. After the tech and I had gotten the body from the trunk and into the storage area the guy looked at his chart... "Cowboy....I remember him. He was a character. I am so sorry." He might've been lying but he said the right thing at the right time. I drove a block and stopped the car to cry in front of the hostess bar.
I keep running face first into our habits. I pace around the house tracing our regular paths. I cry when I get ice from the freezer. I cannot eat. I look down the hallway and he is not there in his favorite dark and cool spot. He is not on the porch, or under the ginger. The poodle walks by and there is no barking.
I got a digital camera for my birthday and now there is no one to take pictures of. Oh my god I miss him.