A few short days ago on June 13th, I lost my best friend unexpectedly. 

Wilko wasn’t a human, but my 13-year-old mini dachshund, who, up until the night of June 11th, had been bright-eyed and full of life and energy. He grew lethargic and ill and was vomiting. A visit to his vet on June 12th resulted in his receiving subcutaneous fluids, anti-vomiting medication, and a bland diet. 

By the next morning, Wilko wasn’t eating or drinking and was very weak. My roommate took him to the local animal hospital where things grew worse and they tried to conduct an ultrasound, but in preparation, lost his tiny heartbeat. 

I was at work when this occurred and the vet performed CPR to try to save Wilko until I could get there. Despite sporadic, faint heartbeats, he was unresponsive and couldn’t be saved. I learned that Wilko had an undetected mass on his liver. His vet believes the mass caused a rupture somewhere internally, which led to massive bleeding and his eventual death. Issues or symptoms had never presented themselves at any point prior to this, and I had no way of knowing. There was also a very small likelihood that it could’ve been stopped, had I known about it. 

The worst part of this for me is that I couldn’t be there for Wilko. I went to work instead of staying home with him and he ended up dying alone because of that. Because of me. That’s the one thing I never wanted to happen. I never wanted him to have to die alone. I didn’t get to say goodbye to him, either. Not while he was still alive and could know I was there. I had to whisper it to his cold, lifeless body as I sat there next to him and apologized for not being there when he needed me the most. 

I haven’t eaten much and sleeping has felt next to impossible because Wilko isn’t there. He isn’t curled up under the blankets next to me. He doesn’t poke me in the face with his nose when it’s time to wake in the morning. I still expect to see him coming running out of my bedroom or have him dive into my lap while I’m sitting on the couch. There are no more puppy snores while he naps on the floor and no more yipping as he dreams. There are no more alarming barks followed by fuzzy butt wiggles when I walk in the door after work. 

None of these things happen anymore. None of them will again. Not with Wilko. Loss is never easy. I know that. But this one? This one makes my heart hurt so much and I’m not sure how to even begin to move forward. I just wish I could wake up and have it be a bad dream.