Ten days ago, I took our 14-year-old German Shorthair Pointer to the vet for his final visit. He was the kindest, silliest, most loving dog I’ve ever known. He was also my unwitting accomplice on countless drinking occasions. What better sidekick for an alcoholic who loves to isolate?
Rumination: you know you’re in trouble when you feel like you’re not good enough for your dog.
Ace was cool and fast. The little dogs didn’t yap near his heels at the dog park, and the big ones never tried to hump him. He stood apart from the pack, as if deep in thought, even though we both knew that was never the case. His only thought was of right now; and was always ready to back me up at a moment’s notice. More often than I’d care to count, he was the only living thing on this planet that was in my corner, and I was super-thankful for his limited understanding of human beings and their interactions with others.
Now that he’s gone, I realize I owe him an amends.
Not for horrible treatment; we gave that dog a wonderful life and loved him dearly. That’s not in question. What this is about is using my pet as a beard for my alcoholism. So many wonderful daily reasons to go out! To get away! Ace became a built-in, high-energy, slobbering excuse to run and hide and drink. Of course, once on my own, my motivation pulled a one-eighty. We’ll get to that walk when I’m good and ready. And I think we all know what that meant. Hours would pass and I’d arrive home and watch him sprint to the back door to be let out into the yard, where he’d stand and piss forever. Dogs, I’d say, shrugging my shoulders.
We spent a ton of time together, up to and including my Step One admission. He was a warm friend I could turn to whenever I felt I deserved one. I was glad I was able to be there for him in his final years with my head clear and with a heart that’s undergoing constant renovations. Turns out there’s always extra room. Ace helped teach me that.
I’m grateful for Ace, my dog.