Rambo. I chose his name for the alliteration it held to my older fur baby, Roxy. In comparison to his fearless namesake, Rambo was tiny, a pretty mixed breed puppy who’d instantly stolen our hearts.
Roxy took to Rambo with no qualms and soon they became best friends. But Roxy was the dominant dog and because she was my baby, became jealous when I spoilt Rambo. But Rambo was my daughter’s dog, and the children lavished him in love.
Our family was complete. The years sailed by as they do when you’re happy. Roxy grew old and Rambo was now fully grown, a medium-sized treasure. When Roxy passed on 18 months ago, it was Rambo who was with her when it happened. Roxy’s death was a huge loss for our family. We’d had her for 12 years and although we knew she was ill before her passing, nothing prepares you for the loss.
Rambo helped us to get over Roxy. All the love we felt for Roxy was transferred to him. In turn, he became protective of us. We were his pack, loyal and utterly devoted to us. Every pet is different. Rambo was always the watch dog, hearing things before we could, knowing our routine, patiently waiting our return each day. Our house was his sanctuary, he knew every nook and cranny. He was happiest when we were together, in his house as I like to say.
Life returned to normal. Although I missed Roxy dearly, Rambo filled the missing moments, creating new memories with our family. One Sunday evening in August, Rambo had an epileptic seizure. We were in shock, not knowing how to help him, having to wait it out until he came around. He’d lost his sight for a brief period, was disorientated, but quickly recovered. When we consulted the Vet about it she said it may or may not happen again. She said to monitor him and see how it goes.
Rambo seemed fine thereafter. We monitored him daily and took special care of him. Last Tuesday when I got home from work he greeted me at the garage in his usual rambunctious manner and followed me into the house. Out of nowhere, a seizure began in my room. Strangely I was calm, remembering the Vet advising me to record the length of the seizure on my phone to send to her. I did so, but to me, it felt like forever. Rambo was convulsing, frothing at the mouth, losing his faculties. I tried calling out his name but he wasn’t hearing me. When he eventually looked at me I could tell he’d lost his sight. He listened to our voices instead. Rambo had several seizures, one after the other, with only a 30 minute recovery period between each. It was traumatic to witness. I have never felt more helpless in my life watching my beautiful boy suffer.
Our family had to make the hardest decision ever… to put our baby down. There was no way he’d return to his once boisterous self, the damage was too severe. In the morning the Vet came to prepare us for this. We said our goodbyes. Rambo our pretty boy was laid to rest.
When one gets a dog you know it’s a life-long commitment. Your house becomes a home. The first thing you see when you awake is an adorable dog greeting you as if he’d never seen you before. They’re never sad. They never hold grudges even if you scold them. They check on you constantly, they follow you incessantly, they sleep beside you, they love you unconditionally. You never think that one day they’ll leave you and your house will never be the same again. Rambo has left a void so vast, nothing and no one can replace him.
Losing two fur babies in less than 2 years has taken a toll on our family. The loss is profound. Even if one chooses to end suffering, it doesn’t ease one’s grief. And grief is something that can’t be masked, it has to be felt in all its rawness.
Our family soldiers on, one day at a time. Without Rambo, without Roxy. They’re ingrained in our home, in our memories and always in our hearts. At the rainbow bridge, we shall meet again, my beautiful babies. Mommy loves you forever.