Saying goodbye

It’s difficult to say goodbye. Especially to my dearest and loyal four-legged friend. Ritchie, my 7-year old Golden Retriever, passed away after an unexpected disease.

It was so fast. We were playing as always just a couple of weeks ago. I went on a trip the last weekend of January and on the Monday afterwards, mom told me that he wasn’t eating, she thought he might be sad because of me being away. After a couple of irregular days, where sometimes he would eat normally and sometimes he would eat later, we took him to the vet. Bad news. Ritchie had cancer. The vet recommended to do further exams to see if it was treatable. It wasn’t.

I decided to spend with him as much time as I could, even if that implied watching him to deteriorate little by little, but it happened really fast. Each day he would play shorter amount of times until he didn’t want to, at all. Each day that passed, every usual activity became difficult for him to do it, even breathing. He became picky on what he would eat until he decided not to do it anymore.

Being at his side, as the disease destroyed him, was as tough as you can imagine but I like to think that him didn’t being alone during this difficult time, made it worthwhile. His expression changed, showing the pain he was into. Each day we spent together he followed me more and more, everywhere, until walking was so difficult for him, that only his head will move to focus on me. Even to his last breath, when passing away, he kept his gaze on me.

Watching him, having that hard time to do basic things like breathe and move was disheartening, and I was having a hard time considering if I should put him down or not. His last day, after I woke up, gave him a hug and went for breakfast thinking that it might be time to call the vet. After that, he was supposed to get pain meds but it was his time. Even in his passing, he took care of me as I didn’t had to take the choice of putting him down. After passing away, his face changed and did not showed pain anymore, he could finally rest.

As a software developer, I chose his name to be in honor someone I deeply admire, Dennis Ritchie. Ritchie allowed me to be his human since ’09, he was there to share many of my best and worst life events, was there to play, to share a walk, to welcome me as I came back home.

He was always there. Ritchie was a kind soul that would stand for me and be there to share everything with me, without asking anything in return. He filled my life, and the life of my loved ones with joy, happiness and love. And for having a friend like him who spent his life by my side, I would always be thankful.

Grieving would take some time, I don’t know yet how long, as I still miss him so much, but eventually I will be in peace with life, and won’t argue for it took him so early. That’s something he would wanted.

I’ve found some comfort on the “Rainbow Bridge” poem, that here I share with you.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

Thanks for your love, for taking care of me, and for the joy you brought to my life. Thank you Ritchie.