Ode. To The Late Mr. Klonks (Klondike).


Dear Mr. Klonks,

2004 – 2013
The real letter I wrote you, I penned on Dec. 26. That’s when it hit me that you were going to pass much sooner than later; when it hit me that you might feel guilt, fear, or, somehow a sense of shame over this passing, and that, absolutely, I feel both pain and fear. I don’t think I’ll put the contents of that letter into this post, but I will capture one part of it. Because that part helped me to better understand all of these scary & complex emotions that we endure both as animals and as humans.
Toward the end of that letter, I reached a sort of realization.

Over the Holiday Break, I felt crushed by the weight of having to leave you so that I could go back to my apartment. This theme not singular to your illness, but instead a guilt I’ve always felt. In August of 2004, when you became apart of our home, I was still in college. Every 4 months, or so, I came home & then left. This leaving-home-guilt particularly boiled over when I moved out permanently in June 2011. At that point, I’d lived with (and slept in the same bed as) you for about 3 years, so when I moved all of my things, it felt infinitely more finite than a semester or 2 away at school. For at least 1 solid month after the move, whenever I ventured home (which was frequent), you obligingly shunned me. As a doggy’s love goes.

I think the scariest thing is the perception of not being able to communicate. That our human words such as, Don’t be scared or, It’s okay or, We love you so much, cannot possibly be understood by you, a dog. It is scary! Especially when we lay our dear animals to rest. I think we, as humans, wonder: How does our doggy know that we’re doing what’s best for him, & that he will be safe & happy? Allow me to defer to 2 experts. Garth Stein and Cesar Milan. Stein, author of the heart-rending The Art of Racing in the Rain, writes his main character & narrator, a dog named Enzo, to readily & clearly understand human words. Stein, such a knowledgeable author himself, artfully creates a reliable narrator, despite that he is a dog. Absolutely, I believe in Stein’s proposal. Dogs can understand our words. If that doesn’t convince you, perhaps the teachings of our favorite The Dog Whisperer, will. Milan would probably tell us that even if dogs cannot understand words, they do sentiments. Most of the time, they understand our own feelings better than we. So, Mr. Klonks, I know that you understand me when I speak to you.

My concern is–not so much that you fear death, Mr. Klonks–but rather, that you feel like you’ve failed us. Being so loyal, as doggies (& particularly you) are, what if you feel like you’ve failed us, your family, because you are now called to leave? Sure, sure, you understand what we say & how we feel when we reassure you otherwise. But what about your own sentiments & how you feel? Today, as I look into your eyes, it’s like you’re pleading to apologize. I’m sorry I have to leave you! I don’t want to! I want to be here to protect & guide & love & shnuggle you! And then, when tears drop from my cheeks, you grunt. As if to say, No! please do not cry for me! I guess the best I can do is have Faith: while you might be scared & confused yourself, Mr. Klonks, ultimately, you understand that you can still protect, guide, love, & shnuggle. Always.

The realization I reached on December 26, 2012, St. Stephen’s Day (whereas today, the day I write this, is The Epiphany), has to do with going home. I hate whenever I had to leave my home with you & go back to my apartment without you. As noted previously, regardless of if or when you were sick, I disliked it. I felt guilt. I cried. And it’s all because the thought of you, Mr. Klonks, not understanding that I’d be returning, breaks my heart. Oh, it gets me going. Especially over the holiday break. Even though I had Stein & Milan to appeal to, it just wasn’t enough. Here I was, staying at home for 10 days–the longest I’d done since moving out 1.5 years prior–convinced that you could die any one of them, and then leaving you. I felt inconsolable.
So I cried. And I journaled.
What I realized is that you, Mr. Klonks, wouldn’t want me to be sad or feel guilt about going back to my own home. You’d want me to have Faith enough to know that you get it. Sure, you might act a little funny because, after all, dogs must express their emotions, too. But ultimately, you’d want me to have Faith in you. I then realized that this is exactly what I want. As your day nears, Mr. Klonks, I want you to know that I’m not angry or upset. I wish you no guilt. Only comfort. I have to return to my apartment. You must return to your house. It’s a simple as that. It is the way of life.
Thing is, I have always believed in & will continue to believe that you, Mr. Klonks, will return to me. Just as Mr. Wilson (the original pitt-bull with whom I grew up!) did through you. I know that you will. You are my soulmate. And Garth Stein would support me 10,000%. I surmise that Cesar Milan might, as well.
Last Pic Taken,
New Years’ Day.
1st Pic Taken
when found out Klonks was sick.
He is so sweet.
Christmas Present!
Hangin’ w Klonks & The Ronks.
Ringing in The New Year.
Until then, the best release we can do, is to celebrate & to cry. Why not?

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