The grieving kicks in when I received an SMS message from the veterinarian who looked after Yukio at the hospital. The prior diagnosis was dire and it was, according to her, a parvo virus. I buoyed my hopes on his recovery when he still recognizes me when he was already in the dextrose drips. As was our habit together, I see him in the morning at the clinic and then in the late afternoon before I head home. I already felt the emptiness in the house the day he was in the hospital and in drips. I kept a silent prayer and chanced on each day light to allow me to see him progress more into full recovery.
I dreaded the word parvo in dogs and I had my first taste of it when it hit my Yukio. Never had I known that the neighbour’s dog has parvo two weeks prior to Yukio’s and I suspect, he got it from there. Neighbours still, we kept tabs on our dogs and unfortunately, not on this dreaded disease. It came as a surprise.
Yukio is a Japanese name for a son which literally means “the son who gets everything”, which fortunately, when he was still alive; he gets everything and gets away with anything, whether good or bad. I spoiled him like a son.
Today, I grieve for the passing on of my beloved Yukio, and sorely misses the moments he wakes me up, tail-wagging and usually, the kind who loves to be cuddled and he rests his head on my shoulders. He is one who keeps tab on me in the house and does not want me to pounced on my computer when I get home, as if saying, its “my-time” moments with dada now. So, since he came into my life, I stopped writing in the house, in fact, he altered my lifestyle, to say the best. He taught me to be home early, enjoy the simplicity of being with him, just him. While in bed, in our sleep, he has the ability to snug fit into my arms and rest peacefully. He loves to be hugged and in our bed-time moments while sleeping, never did Yukio pissed on the bed, pooed on the mattress or the comforter, he knows where to and that is the lawn.
My training of Yukio is fairly simple. He has been housebroken since he arrived, though placed in his enclosure, the practice and he knew that by heart: when I am at home, he is on the house, not on the enclosure and without a leash. I never even leashed him, not even once. He followed me everytime, I felt safe and comfortable with that. He doesn’t bother me with so much but always manages to wiggle his tail and jumps at me whenever we play tug-o-war with his toy or play catch with his toy too. I pampered him like a son, a brother and a bestfriend. I had a full-life, he too. We are inseparable and he always had his way of punishing me too, for being away too long.
I had a first taste of his disciplining me which I was caught by surprise when upon arriving from Hong Kong, he usually jumped at me and we hugged. I carried him throughout the 30 minutes I arrived home and he just comfortably rests his head on my shoulders. Never attempted to go down but just enjoying my time with him after a long trip. He has his mind set on my poor Havaianas. By bed time, I was woken up when he just bitten my slipper and stopped, went back to sleep and waited for me to know the following day.
He has a peculiar attitude so to speak, as a dog. Yukio is one who enjoys being carried around, not being pulled around. He also insists on guarding me when I take the shower and waited for me getting dressed. He is one who also wants to see me often than other people, very Yukio to jump when he heard my voice even when I am outside the house. He has his attitude, yes, but I relish it, I cherished it, I valued it. That made him stand-out as part of my life.
Of late, Yukio has preferred to eat on my palms than on his food dish. I love it when Yukio eat from my palm and like a son who plays around, kept running around the kitchen table, then come back to eat more. I patiently waited for us to be done with dinner then it’s time for another play-time before we both hit the sack.
Yukio’s life is a protected one. I don’t allow him to walk on muddy roads, I carried him and he liked it. He liked the feel of getting to see the world from my vantage sight than his rather lower sight. He loved to be carried on my shoulders on motorcycle as we bought BBQs and he just climb on my chest whenever he fears the air on his furred face every time we ride the tricycle. We love to be on each other’s arms; sort of reassuring ourselves we have each other’s life to rely on.
One time, while reading in bed and Yukio was beside me fighting off sleepiness, he just casually nibbled on the edge of my book and take it off my grip and then jumped on my chest, kissed me then slept. It is his way of reminding me it is now time to rest. If he felt something not cool, he stood at my chest and as if protecting me, barked and barked.
In one of his early socializing experience, we went malling and without a leash, he just followed me around. He gamely plays with people but kept an eye on me and whenever I went off, he hurriedly followed, tail-wagging again. He adores many people of his friendliness but does not want to lose sight of me, I love that. Quite a traveller too, the first time Yukio arrived from Iligan City, we went on to take a dip at Isla Puting Balas with my fellow travel bloggers and I love that.
One dinner time, while dining for a pork liempo with my elder brother in a restaurant, Yukio needs to drink water. Since he was accustomed drinking water on his silver-tin dish and when I gave him water in a blue ice-cream plastic container, he simply will not drink, no, never. He ended up having to wait until we get home, me getting cold water from the fridge and on to his dish, he drinks.
My Yukio is an artist assistant too. When I went back painting, he accompanied me even in the wee hours trying to paint and sometimes, I splatter paints on his white fur, he doesn’t mind. Tomorrow, as if to him, we will both go to the shower. Our habit is to get to the shower together, and get out but as usual, he has the longest grooming. I had to blow-dry his coat, combed it and just make him looked clean and fresh. It was Yukio who made me go up to the mall and bought a hair-dryer. I am perfectly fine with that, I did it for him.
When the day came in that he was sick, he just slept on our bed and I covered him in our comforter while I prepare some of my stuffs. He just stares at me. I went to the second floor of the house to get something, he joined me and just stood by me and then came back again to the room. He slept under the comforters, I was packing.
The only thing about I and my Yukio is our ability to talk to each other. I talked to him every time I go to the office and promises to be back early. He understands me when I talked to him, not words but sentences, though he prefers English than the vernacular. But every time I came home, his trait is to make me carry him thrice before he wants to explore the lawn to pee and poo. That was our practice since and until his last breath.
An adoring dog, Yukio just simply inspires me to live my life even if it is unstable. He taught me life’s lessons of happiness, joy, peace and simplicity. He taught me courage, determination and guidance. He taught me substance and grace. He taught me humility and dependency, he taught me well. He taught me bearings even if my world seemed unpredictable. Yukio was with me when I received my annulment notice from the wife. He was with me when I said it was only the two of us from that time on. Bearably, he made life easy and with direction.
Though I may grieved, I welcome his passing on and as I so wanted, he rested in peace inside our lawn, near our bed room to keep me near him at night and day. On this day that he died, in the morning I woke up, I heard a single bark, very distinctly Yukio and said to myself, I may be hallucinating and dismiss it. Little did I knew that it will be his last bark, his last hurrah, his farewell and last good bye. He was at the clinic, I was at the house.
When I have chosen where he will finally rest, inside our lawn, near our room, I welcome Yukio inside his home and noticed that his eyes were open. I wrapped his favourite blanket around his tiny body and touch his forehead and eyes to close, yes, he closed it as if saying, “dada, I am home”. I swirl my finger on his ears, it is still soft and I can just trying to hold on to my happy memories when my Yukio is with me. Said to my heart, “yes Yukio, you are now finally home, rest well”.
Yes, I cried and for someone so closed to a dog, they understand how I felt and I am grateful of the people who shared in my loss. I consider Yukio not a dog to be treated like a dog, but treated him like a son, a friend, a brother and a family. I loss a part of mine which I know will take time to heal and only time will ever heal the gaping hole left by his passing on.
To my beloved Yukio, rest in peace my son. Enjoy the blissful sunshine at the rainbow bridge and until the time we shall see each other again, I know it will and I know you will.