You looked deep into my eyes
and I knew it was love at first sight.
We didn’t need words
but used them for special occasions.
You protected me when I didn’t know I needed it,
yet in the end, I wasn’t there for you.
When I came back, you looked deep into my eyes
and I could see the love was still the same.
After Zerk died, I was ruined. My parents and grandmother knew there was no consoling me, yet somehow it happened.
I don’t know where they got him, but I named him Prince. He erased the pain I felt from losing my wonderful baby-friend. One of the greatest things was he would sit on my foot; he started it when he was the size shown in the photo above and kept it up when he was fully-grown. It was something he didn’t do to anyone else and I loved it.
Prince was a protector. No one came in the house or on the property without us having to put him up somewhere. It was extremely useful when I had to deal with annoying school mates. Prince kept them in check.
However, I had to leave him when I went away to university. I didn’t realize what the ravages of time can do and as I think back, wonder how much of his physical deterioration was due to heartbreak as well. I know I was heartbroken at leaving him behind (there was no way I could have him in a dormitory and would not have been able to afford to feed him if I could), so perhaps he was also heartbroken at my leaving. I came home that first year to the loss of my Nana (she’d had a stroke a few years earlier and died just before finals — my parents didn’t want to tell me because they knew I would have left immediately to be there, even though there was nothing I could do for her); she was the first person I asked about on the drive home and they told me she was gone.
I walked into the house, looking for Prince. My dad warned me that he wasn’t doing well and I steeled myself for the unknown. I heard a strange noise and he came around the corner, dragging his back end. ‘His hips are gone,’ Dad said. Prince was part German Shepherd, a breed known to have hip problems.
‘What do we do?’ I asked, frantically.
My dad looked away as Prince dragged himself to me. He couldn’t wag his tail but the glow in his eyes … the love I felt as I knelt down to hold him and feel his breath …
‘There’s nothing we can do.’
I looked up at my dad. ‘Is he suffering?’
‘He never complains.’
Over that Christmas break, my dad and I took Prince to the vet. I was in the room as he crossed the Rainbow Bridge. My tears mingled with the earth as I dug his grave way in the back of what had been my Nana’s garden. I did it alone, the last hour I would ever spend with him.