Dear Carter – An Ode to My Best Friend
The hardest part of losing my dog Carter has been dealing with guilt. Guilt for all the things we should have done, and guilt for all the things we should not have done.
An Ode To Carter – My Best Friend for 13 Years
Dear Carter –
I’m sorry that when you were around I didn’t have a digital camera; most of the photos I have of you are when you were gray, old & chubby. You were lean once, agile even. You could run laps around the yard and no one would ever come close to catching up. I’ve never seen a dog turn so quickly.
I’m sorry about that one time you jumped from the picnic table and I wasn’t paying attention. I think you wanted me to catch you, instead you just bounced off of me onto the concrete. I’m sorry, I had no idea you were going to do that.
I’m sorry for shaving you. You had such nice Aussie hair when you were young. Then I decided you looked too hot; you were always looking for shade and panting. I thought I’d help cool you off by shaving that very soft fur of yours. After the shave you weren’t shiny anymore, you were a dull gray color; to be honest you resembled a pudgy deer.
I shouldn’t have shaved you. It never grew back shiny afterwards. You felt wooly after that shave, I made you forever wooly and I’m sorry. If I knew then what I know now about dog fur I wouldn’t have done that.
I’m sorry that you were probably a puppy mill dog, it might explain all the fatty tumors & cataracts you had by the time you were 4. It might not explain it, I don’t know. You ate the same food as the other dog, why didn’t he get fatty tumors?
The vets always asked what you were eating. It was decent food, not table scraps or the cheapest thing I could find. I’m sorry that you had to go through all those surgeries to remove all those fatty tumors. Drainage tubes & cones of shame are fun for no one.
I’m sorry about that time we were in the backyard and a transformer blew up. I didn’t see it coming; you took off for a week when that happened. I ran after you but you wouldn’t stop. I should have had you on a leash, but in all honesty weren’t most of our great times had off leash?
I couldn’t find you anywhere. I ran around calling your name; to cover more miles I upgraded to my bike, I was young and didn’t have a license yet. I couldn’t find you, if I had half the nose you had I might have been able to track you.
After a week someone finally saw you; terrified, muddy & hungry. He said it took hours to get you to come up to him, even with burgers. I’m sorry that you were so scared and that you never quite seemed the same after that week.
I’m sorry for the time I had dad watch you, I’m sure you remember that night. He let you out at 8pm for your nightly tinkle & poop, but he left you there. He forgot he was watching you. He left you there tied up all night long.
You were so polite you didn’t say a word. You sat there all night long in a big yard wondering if anyone was coming to get you, I’m sorry. I should have had the neighbor watch you, I know that now.
I’m sorry about when we moved into the new house. You were scared of the floor. I didn’t want you to be scared, tile floors were a whole new experience for you; I understand that now. I could have put carpet down in the kitchen beforehand if I had known.
I’m sorry about the neighbors dogs. You were trying to protect me when they came charging you did just that, you protected me from those 2 dogs. I’m sorry that it resulted in another drainage tube and another cone of shame.
I’m sorry that when you turned 13 you went through so much suffering. I kept going to the vet to try something else but it wasn’t working. You didn’t complain, you certainly didn’t appear happy on that exam table but you dealt with it.
You were probably wondering why we were going for a ride so often during those days. I thought the right pill or surgery could fix you up again. I wanted you to be healthy again. But you were 13; you weren’t going to get healthy again.
I’m sorry about our last day together. I don’t think Chicken Soup for The Dog Lover’s Soul is your favorite food, I was just giving you what the vet recommended. You probably would have enjoyed fast food a lot more than kibble, I don’t know what I was thinking.
I’m sorry that we didn’t get to go on a long walk that day, you seemed so tired. I wanted you to smell the grass and roll in some dead animal one last time. Instead I was leading you around the yard, stopping every 2 minutes so you could catch your breath.
I’m sorry if it wasn’t a pleasant walk for you, we probably should have just cuddled on the couch one last time.
Amazing poem, best to have some tissues nearby.
It’s wonderful to know we’re not alone in our grief, and many of us have struggled with loss. Today is the First Annual Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day, and I’m grateful to have found such a great community for support.