Our huskie dog Zeus left us about a month ago, on March 16, 2017.
It was cold and snowy on the day he died; we had one of those late winter snows which gifted us with several inches of heavy wet snow. Zeus was a husky, and I was glad that he got to walk in that last snow.
Now spring has sprung. We've had at least one day when the thermometer hit 80 dgrees here in Chi-town, several 70 degree days, and several strong April rains (more than showers) that are bringing May showers.
Life is different without Zeus. Though we have a fenced-in yard, I walked Zeus every night, and, often every afternoon, including the day before he left us. He walked more and more slowly, particularly over the past year, but our walks were still the highlight of his day-- and of my day.
So at 1:30 in the morning I walked out into the cold of the night to look at the sky. I stood outside and thought about the many walks that Zeus and I took late, sometimes as late as 1 in the morning, particularly if I was working and came home late. Zeus would be waiting for that walk, even if it was after midnight.
I stood quietly; there was not a car driving down our block nor could I hear a car down Foster Avenue, a somewhat busy street at the far end of the block. But I could hear cars and El trains near Chicago's Kennedy Expressway. We don't live that close to the Kennedy as it runs about 2 miles south of us, but when it is very quiet outside, we can clearly hear cars zooming down the Kennedy. The Blue Line El train to O'Hare Airport runs down the center of the Kennedy, and on quiet nights, like last night, I can hear the El trains heading to and coming from O'Hare.
Then there are the raccoons. For years our dogs kept the raccoons away from the old partially hollow tree in the corner of our yard. The dogs did have a few altercations with the raccoons over the years, and the dogs won! I got into the habit of making sure there were no raccoons in the tree before I'd let the dogs out. Now, of course, the tree .. and our yard.. is being reclaimed by raccoons.
I have a habit of throwing smelly bags of garbage out the side door to get them out of the house. For the 12 years we have lived in this house, that wasn't a problem. When I'd take the dogs (then just The Dog after Daisy left us) out later in the evening, I'd just pick up the smelly garbage bag by the side of the house and throw it in the city garbage cans in the alley.
Well, I tossed a smelly garbage bag out the side door a few days ago. Yep, you know where this is going. With no dog to walk, no dog to let in and out, with Easter busy-ness, I completely forgot about that bag of garbage. I went out there today and it was clear that the raccoons had discovered the smelly garbage and had a field day; they'd ripped that garbage bag open and there was ripe garbage all over the yard. And tonight, as I stood in front of the house musing about Zeus and the sounds of quiet, I saw a big fat raccoon happily crossing the street from our neighbor's yard to the park and the river across the street.
I'm sure that our yard now has a big fat X on it in the eyes of the neighborhood raccoons.
So life goes on. We still tear up from time to time as we are reminded about something about the two dogs that lived with us for 18 years and left us, the last one just a month ago. I loved having two happy, active dogs to take care of, and I loved having one very old dog who needed help in so many ways in those last years as well.
The yard, the alley, the walk by the river, are all different without our dogs, particularly without Zeus who left us a month ago.
But life goes on. Time to pick up the garbage in the yard.. .and to remember that there are no longer any dog walks to remind me to take that garbage out to the alley.
Goodnight, Zeus, wherever you are. We miss you and we always will.