Watching my father’s dog grieve is one of the most difficult parts of my own grief. This may seem like a ridiculous statement but I know why my father isn’t here, but his dog is lost and confused.
Archie is now 13 – it has been a lifetime since my dad brought him home as a puppy when I was in 8th grade – a present for me after my first dog passed away. But Archie quickly became my dad’s shadow instead of my own. We called him the son my father never had. My dad took him to work, the lake, on errands – everywhere. The back seat of dad’s truck was covered in Archie’s always-shedding corgi fur.
At night, Archie was a permanent fixture by my dad’s chair and slept in my parent’s room – a luxury the other dogs didn’t get.
Archie’s face is grey from old age. We didn’t think he would last long without my dad. Instead, he still searches for my dad and sits by his chair five months later – this being more heartbreaking given the chair is now gone and so he just sits in the spot where he used to.
I try to spend time with Archie and give him attention – he is lost and melancholy. I want to bring him home with me but I think taking him away from his only home would add more stress. And so I go by my mom’s house to give him treats every day instead.
What hurts the most is thinking about this from Archie’s perspective – wondering where my dad is and why he left him – still searching for him. When my dad was sick, he wanted to be sure Archie got enough attention. I hope I’m doing enough.
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