It’s been about a month since we lost Boomer. I’m not over it, of course, but I’m doing better. Processing the grief, so I figured I’d write a little ode to Boomer.

You might remember last year that Boomer was at the emergency vet quite a bit. That was all related to his chronic hepatitis. It’s not out of the blue that he got sick again, but it felt sudden. We thought we’d have more time.

One day, a couple days before Boomer got really sick again, he and Dan walked past me and I was slammed with overwhelming sorrow that we were going to lose him soon. I tried to push the thoughts out of my mind, felt guilty for worrying and imagining things. But I knew. I told my mom I thought we’d be making the decision to put him down in “days.”

I don’t know what I was picking up on, but that doesn’t really matter. On April 3, after days of constant vomiting, he climbed up into bed and snuggled with me. On April 4, the vet called with the results of an abdominal ultrasound. He had no good liver tissue left, his kidneys and lymph nodes were huge. He was bleeding internally.

The stress of his last couple of days with us was intense. And the anxiety has wiped me out. I had my own doctor’s appointment yesterday. I’m trying to cope through meditation and rest, but my muscles are choking me out and making me feel weak and dizzy. I figure if I’m too weak to sign my name on a check, trying to make a Zentangle video will only leave me frustrated and more depressed. So I’m trying to be kind with myself.

When we bought the house in Urbana in 2015, we visited the humane society before closing on the mortgage. I knew I couldn’t take anyone home that day, but I was so excited to be a dog’s human again after a couple years of apartment life.

Boomer (the dog previously known as Zeus) was in a kennel staring at Dan and I. He was quiet and attentive, and I read his “chart.”

“It says he knows some basic commands.”

“Sit,” I whispered.

While dozens of other dogs barked loudly, Boomer stayed silent and planted his butt on the ground.

“Shit,” I said to Dan, “I don’t have any treats for him.” His ears went on high alert, and that was that. A humane society volunteer with a bag full of treats on her hip tossed one Boomer’s way.

“Look,” I told Boomer while we were outside playing in the shelter’s designated play area, “We can’t get you for three more days, and they won’t hold you for us. If someone else tries to take you home, I’m going to need you to act like a jerk. OK?”

Because Boomer was a very excitable boy, we had to pay for obedience classes up front and show a receipt to adopt him. At the first class a young couple approached us with a bulldog we’d seen at the shelter a couple of cages down from Boomer.

”Zeus!” she exclaimed, giving him scritches. “We almost adopted him,” she turned to Dan and me. “I’m not sure why we didn’t.”

I know why. Because Boomer was meant to be ours.

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