Little Ricky: May 31, 1999 – July 19, 2013

I found out my dog died.

I don’t know what it is about me and dogs dying, but it gets me every time.

This time in particular, I think, because I wasn’t there. I feel like I’ll be going back, but I’ll never be able to return to that again. He won’t be around. Something about that, perhaps symbolically more than anything, hit me pretty hard last night.

My brother told me over Facebook.

I was fine – I mean not really, but I was keeping it together okay – until one of the last lines. My brother was like, “I think we’re going to bury him by the honeysuckles.”

I don’t know what it was about that line, but yeah, I kind of lost it.

So it goes.

Lucy, the dog who died a few days after 9/11, was his mom. She got out one day and met this fellow named Sam down street. Shortly after that, she had five little puppies on Labor Day. We gave away four of them, but we got to keep one: Little Ricky, the chubby one of the litter, the only one with wavy hair on his back.

When I left for Saudi, I paid attention to all my goodbyes. I wanted to remember how I said farewell to everyone, especially the people I thought I might have less chance to see again. But I forgot to remember saying bye to Ricky. That I don’t remember.

That makes me sad.

On one of the days leading up to leaving, though, I did get out there and take a photo with him. As usual, he wouldn’t hold still with me long enough to look into the camera, but I still got a photo with him, the last one I ever got with him.

That, at least, makes me happy.

And maybe that’s why it’s harder to hear he died. In my head, I kept repeating the same lament: “My dog, my dog… no, no, no… now I can never go back to the way it was… my dog, my dog…”