Nothing can prepare you for losing a pet. Even if you think you’re ready, you’re probably not.

Over the last few years, I’ve been preparing to lose my dog Winstan. If you’ve ever met me, you know that I have an ancient, blind, three-legged, bulletproof pug at home. Winstan is very old for a dog of his breed, let alone for a dog that has underwent the amount of physical trauma that he has. With his aging, I have been trying to mentally prepare myself for the day I wake up and I find him in his bed, cold and breathless. It’s morbid, but every day I wake up and I check to see if he’s still breathing. Throughout the day I will pause as I walk by and hold my breath until I see the rise and fall of his body.

I was not prepared for Vespa to be the first one to go. I was not prepared to be the one to find her dead on the side of the road, a mere hundred yards from my house. I was not prepared for my son to ask me where his dog is. I was not prepared to deal with a panicked Winstan, frantically searching the house for his best friend. I was not prepared to lose one of the few beings that has been there for my day to day for so long.

I’ve lost family members. I’ve lost a best friend. I’ve lost other important people in my life. But nothing compares to losing this dog. She was so sweet and loving to my whole family. She was Winstan’s guardian and companion. She had been my guardian and had come to rescue me countless times. I don’t feel safe without her here.

I don’t know how I’m going to cope with this. I feel so helpless and powerless.

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