Alice died in March. I haven’t really been able to talk or write about it until now. Just last fall, she had a full check up and was fine. Then, end of January, she suddenly became very ill. The vet said she had liver cancer but she contracted a virus before that.
She was the best thing that ever happened to me. She was my home and I was hers. Wherever we were, we were home if we were together. She was the love of my life.
In some ways, she was a delightfully normal doggy dog. But she was also a super smart street dog. She was quirky and moody, could be wildly independent or deeply needy and everything in between. She could leave me, to walk with friends or family, or escape through one of her houdiniesque schemes to go visit friends around town, which often led to her running into traffic with half the village on a merry chase to catch her. But I could not leave her, not alone, not with anyone, without her howling endlessly in such heart searing pain that she brought two different dogsitters to hysterical tears when I had to go somewhere without her for even ten minutes. If I tied her up outside and went into a shop even briefly, she would watch the door intently, whining and concerned until I came out. It wasn’t just wailing; she destroyed things and sometimes hurt herself.
A friend described her reaction upon my return from an attempt at dinner out, as, “You came back from the dead!”
I wish she would.
I used to tell her, “Alice, you don’t have to worry, I will always come back to you. You are the love of my life.” Then I’d paraphrase a Gord Downie line, from a poem about a man addressing his child, “Don’t cry. If you cry, I’ll cry, and my crying will make your crying look like laughing.”
Her separation anxiety is over. Mine will never end.
We all live in a world of grief now, and bad times are much worse for the weakest and most vulnerable. There are a number of organizations in Kathmandu that work to alleviate the stray and abused animal problems, and these two do incredible work. If you want to honor dogs, you can donate to Street Dog Care or KAT Centre.
You can read more about Alice here: Dharma Pup