His name is Mutley, not was but is, because although he is not with us anymore, he is and always will be remembered.
We think of him all the time. When we see or visit a place we know he would love (any kind of body of water or open space), my husband or I would look at the other and say “Oh Mutt would’ve loved this!”. Every now and then we would look at our daughter and say “He would’ve adored her”. You see, our Mutley died when I was a few months pregnant with T. They never got to meet each other. But she knows of him, we talk about him a lot to her and there are also photos of him around our house.
It’s one of those things that happened so fast. We were visiting a friend in Bristol whom Mutley also loved. We shared our friends with Mutley, he was friends too, with all our friends and would even go on vacation without us, with one of them. Anyway, on that particular visit, I noticed that he was limping. When we came home, we called up the vet and scheduled an appointment. I think that was a Monday, on that first day he warned us already It could be bone cancer and told us what our options were. I remember thinking – This is happening too fast. He’s talking too fast. I wanted him to stop, to shut up and just stop talking. But he kept going on and on and mentioned the words put him to sleep, or cut off his leg .
On our way home, I kept saying It’s not cancer, he’ll be okay. My husband said if it is the C word, then he will have to be put to sleep. We argued. I was furious with him for deciding too quickly. I needed time to think. But what choice did we have? The vet said that cutting off his leg won’t even guarantee that it would save his life. The Mutt with one leg? He’ll hate that! And then there was also his age, he was around 11, not a young dog anymore. The drive home was one of the longest drives in my life and a huge lump accumulated in my throat that made it very hard for me to breathe and swallow. It stayed there for months.
On the Wednesday, he was gone. That fast. It was indeed bone cancer and he was put to sleep that very same day we found out. I wasn’t with him. It was only my husband and he had to drive back to work after that. He said it was one of the hardest things he’s ever done. He didn’t want Mutley to know what was happening and tried to be nonchalant, as if it was just any ordinary day and he was just dropping him off for now. Mutley went inside the vet’s office with his tail wagging. And that was that, he never came back home to us. We never saw him again.
As I type this, I feel the tears coming back. Oh Mutters, I miss you. You never got to meet T. She would’ve loved you and you would’ve adored her.
Life was quieter when it was just me and the Mutt. My husband then was teaching in a college that was about an hour’s drive away from us. So it was just me and him most of the time. Instead of walking to the playground like I do now, I used to take Mutley for walks in the headland. We live in doggie heaven – vast open-space and rolling hills, complete with rabbits to chase. But he sucked at chasing them. My husband and I used to laugh and say that Mutley must be the biggest joke in Bunny Land, how the rabbits must have a laugh about how he would try to chase them, but they always got away. I must admit though, I hated walking him in the cold. I feel guilty about it now, how I used to stomp grumpily out of bed, to walk him in the cold. I’d stomp away fuming silently, my wellies landing heavily on the ground, because I’d rather be in bed than out in the cold, and he’d be trailing back behind me, looking guilty and even apologetic as if to say I’m really sorry about this … He was that kind of dog you see, sensitive. He knew when you were cross with him, or if you’re in a happy and loving mood. I used to watch episodes of Grey’s Anatomy one after another, and I’d sit there sniffling away and as soon as he’d hear me sniffle, his ears would go up and would quickly go to me as if to say Are you alright? Why are you crying? And he wouldn’t go away until I assured him that I’m fine and I’m just being my usual soppy self crying over the latest woe of Meredith Grey. And every time he’d see my husband and I hugging, he’d bounce around looking really happy and wanting to be included in the hug. So we would always make a point to bend down and hug him too. That’s what Mutley was like. For the longest time, I would say Oh Mutters to that forever empty space in our living room where he liked to curl up and lie.
And now we are thinking of getting another dog, but it doesn’t mean that he will be replaced. That other dog, will be an additional to our little family, just like Mutley is and always will be a part of our family. It took awhile for us to even want to have another dog, but we know that the time has finally come. I think he would like that, yes, I definitely think he would.
I’ve linked this post up with Podcast’s What’s the Story