It’s been two weeks since we lost Elvis. We’ve brought in a new foster dog, and she has helped heal some of the pain. But the hole is still there.
I asked Randall this morning how such a small dog could leave such a huge, gaping hole. Something so large I don’t remember the last time I had to navigate one this size. He couldn’t answer; only agree.
In the morning, the routine we had for breakfast is helped because our new foster dog has to have two meals a day right now. Penny’s need has helped paper over the time slot where I sat with Elvis on my lap while Randall handed him his four “oats” before his breakfast.
At lunch, Penny helps. That is when I eat. I’ve found it hard to want to eat lunch at the same time. In the same place. Having the same foods. There’s a knot in my stomach that food has a hard time going around.
Afternoons are better. There weren’t that as many interactions between Elvis and me. Randall said he tries hard not to look under his desk much…it was Elvis’ spot for two years. He had a towel there, and when he wasn’t hanging out here in the bedroom with me, chances were he could be found snoozing under Randall’s desk. It’s funny how that place draws my eye.
It’s really in the late afternoon that the hole is really gaping.
Elvis watched his Foodlady very closely from 4:30 on. Every half hour or so was marked by some Elvis Event, and he knew them all and timed them. He knew at 5:00 that the cats went up. And if I lingered to long behind closed doors with them, he got anxious. Too long, and the wheezing and coughing would become alarming.
At 5:30 he got fed. The beginning of “his day” so to speak. Between the time he finished and the time Randall and I sat down for our meal at 6:30, there was constant watching and activity. Trips outside, goodies handed out, more trips outside. Setting the table. Putting the finishing touches on the foods. Maybe a bowl to clean up. Plating the dinner. Sitting down and the humans got their portion and then he got his. SO important. His little pieces of tortilla, topped off by his SPECIAL PIECE of something that only he got at the end of the meal.
I don’t want to look on the side of the table he stayed on. Our other dogs got their treats on the left side. Elvis got his on the right. It’s impossible not to look down, but I try hard not to. I know he won’t be there, and he should be. I expect to see him there. But he’s not.
And so the evening marches on. And every 30 minutes or so he and I had something we did together. Until 8:30 when he got a dab of milk from me, and he could lay down and relax next to Haley on her blanket. It wouldn’t be for over an hour until he’d have to watch Randall and get his handout from him. It’s amazing, really, that for all his extras, he stayed a trim 8 1/2 pounds, but he did.
And the last, and really hardest time of the day is when everyone goes out for their last potty break before bed. Every night for two years, there was a Stumpy Snack handed out…the soft treats I took time to fix for him so he wouldn’t be left out when everyone got a bribe to go into their crates for the night. It’s funny, I still have to make them for Penny…she has no teeth (like Elvis didn’t). And I tried the first couple of nights to call them Penny Pieces. It just fell flat. So Stumpy Snacks they have been and Stumpy Snacks they’ll remain. Somewhat fitting that the treat that really belonged to Elvis bears his name.
And when everyone is up for the night, it’s so hard not to tell him goodnight. To remember that a couple of weeks ago, we wished him his final good night.
And every morning, when I get out of bed I wonder how long it will be that every where I look, I see Elvis.