Lots of times when the kids and I leave the house to go somewhere I am struck by how much our life has changed. It used to be, when we left, Luke was in charge of "doing trucks". This meant that he needed to put the two ride-on trucks that the kids have, on the couch so that Carlie (our greant dane) would not lay on the couch while we were gone.
Carlie was such a great dog. I remember the day I saw and fell in love with a great dane on a walk with my friend Lisa. I knew instantly when I saw that huge lanky lovable animal, that was the dog for me. After Joe and I moved into our house, he secretly researched breeders and found some puppies that would be available around Christmas time. One day I met him at work in Portsmouth and we were supposed to go do some errands together. We left in his truck and he said he had to drop off a package somewhere. FOUR HOURS LATER we were in Connecticut at a breeder's house and I was picking out my new puppy. We visited her 3 times before we could even take her home. We would drive to Connecticut and see the dog and then go to Foxwoods and spend the night. It was so much fun.
As with many young married dog-owners, Carlie was our baby before we had babies. Back in those days, Carlie was allowed anywhere she wanted to go...couch, bed, anywhere. For the first few years that we had her she was definitely my dog. She followed me around, she slept with me until Joe came to bed and she would not get up in the morning until I got up. Most people do not remember those years with me and Carlie. When I had kids, she slipped down the totem-pole so to speak. My focus was on the kids all the time. Joe picked up the slack with her, and became "his dog". She followed him around, she was there to greet him every night when he came home, tail wagging.
Even still, during all those years when she would be considered to the outside eye as "Joe's dog", I would pat her and look her in the eye and I would secretly say to her, "You're my dog Carlie, you and I know the truth".
We had to put Carlie down on June 16 and it was one of the most awful experiences that Joe and I ever had together. We both were in tears in the waiting room....while it was happening....afterwards. We were both absolute wrecks. We sat the kids down after it was done and I explained to them that Carlie had died. We were going to plant a tree for her in our yard.
Joe struggled the first few times that he came through the door from work and there was no Carlie. I would meet him at the door, have the kids be outside, etc just to change it up so that Carlie not being there would not be so apparent for him.
After a couple of weeks we received Carlie's ashes in a wooden box. Joe put the box on my armoire in our bedroom and I never even touched the box until after Joe's accident.
5 weeks and 4 days after Carlie died, Joe was gone too. Carlie is buried with Joe. It is unbelievable.
Lots of times when the kids and I leave our house I have to stop myself from my habit of saying "Luke, did you do trucks?" as I said so many times before. When I am at home at night sometimes I hear a noise and at first I think it's Carlie and I have to remind myself that she's not here.
Sometimes in a weak moment, when I feel desperately hopeless in all that has changed, I think in my head.... "I don't even have my dog".