In the last few days, I’ve been noticing some new additions to our backyard. Like this guy:


And this one:


And these fellows:


Like, every single time I look outside there’s a mess of motherfucking squirrels nearby. It’s almost a little creepy.


Also, is that a—?


Yes. Yes it is.


I’m not sure if it’s because there’s no dog in the backyard now or if we accidentally bought the No Mess Wild Birdfeed Seeds: Black Tar Heroin Variety, but at least the kids are entertained. Although having your children constantly talk like the dog from Up gets a little old after a while.


“Hey Mom do you SQUIRREL! know where my green army SQUIRREL! guy is because SQUIRREL! I can’t find him.”

I bought a fancy squirrel-proof feeder and I put out a special Sweet Corn Squirrel Log (“The compressed sweet corn log keeps the squirrels busy and away from your bird feeders!”) but they’re still there. Everywhere.

Where did they come from? Why have they suddenly set up camp in our backyard? Who knew ducks could be so LURKY? Where did this particular squirrel get a goddamned Eggo?


No answers. Only questions.

My friends. Thank you for your kind words about Dog. Thank you.

Some of you asked how the boys are doing; they’re completely fine. Dog was a sweet and patient creature but she wasn’t particularly interested in loud rambunctious children (we adopted her after she had been retired from breeding, I always suspected she took one look at Riley when we brought him home as a newborn and thought, lord, not these things again) and they were never particularly emotionally attached to her. I think if she’d been a younger dog the relationship would have been different, you know? As it was, they seem to accept with no great amount of sorrow that she was very old and her life had come to an end.

For me her absence is strangely tangible, an insistent lack of something that keeps catching the corner of my eye. The wood-chip padded area next to the house where she slept during the day, her doghouse (disassembled and packed away yet somehow still there, an invisible outline), the carpet where she would lay at night. The click of her nails on the floor, the awkward scramble of her getting to her feet in the morning. I don’t know how an empty or missing thing can feel so commandingly present. Here I am, not here.

I very much wish I could unsee the minutes that happened after we were ushered into that sad little room at the veterinarian’s office. Everything was done with professionalism and kindness and I do not believe that she suffered. But oh. Oh, my god.

At first it seemed like that’s all I was ever going to be able to think about again when it came to remembering her—the haunting machinations of her death—but that afternoon seems to be fading bit by bit (please, go away) and I am trying to instead conjure up all the happy things we did with her throughout the years.

I have been adamant that I do not under any circumstances want another dog any time soon but … well. The owner who we originally adopted Dog from told us she has another female Lab that she’s hoping to find a good home for. The dog is three years old. JB thinks we should just go to the owner’s house again, just to visit. I think that sounds like an absolutely terrible idea and I refuse to even consider it. For now.

Anyway, I wanted to post a follow up and I mostly just wanted to say thank you, thank you, thank you. For those of you who have ever loved an animal, you know there’s no such thing as “it’s just a pet.”

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