A long delayed eulogy.

8 Aug
Old boy.

Old boy.

This is a post that I had long avoided writing.

Kyo, our family’s black labrador retriever, died on January 23, 2015, from old age. He was ten years old.

The last time that I saw him was September the previous year, when I came home for the weekend to bring my boyfriend home and introduce him to my family. At that time, he was an intern at a journalism college in Manila. It was a very poignant time, one that I didn’t think would happen: my boyfriend meeting my dog. xD

I guess I have always been a dog person. After all, my first memories as a child was a dog named Jeprox. My family had always had at least one dog at any time, and I’ve had many memorable ones and a few favorites. But I guess high up on that favorite list is Kyo.

Kyo was given to us by our cousin at a time when our dogs died one after the other and the only one we had was the forever puppy Garodog. Even Garodog was getting on in age, and was already almost blind with cataracts.

So Kyo came to our lives in 2005, as a puppy almost as big as an adult mutt. We had to take him from Sampaloc, Manila, via public transportation, in a box, without a leash. How my brother and I managed it is a feat in itself. Lol. He peed on the box when we were on the jeep back home, but I guess he was too cute that the driver forgave him for it. (Or it was too dark that he didn’t notice.)

He was a boisterous dog, so playful that he once ran after a bath and accidentally slipped and landed on his tail with a loud, human-like cry. That tail was a little crooked from then on.

What we liked about him most was how smart he was. He knew basic commands, and was a creature of routine. At 2 PM sharp he would be demanding to be fed. He liked baths, and would come over when we say ‘Ligo’. Needless to say, our biggest dog ever was the easiest to coax to a bath. My only regret was that I never took him to the sea, or a river, or a pool. He would have liked that so much.

He was pretty laid-back. He was relaxed around cats, although he did get the rare swipes from Neko, just because she is an evil boss.

A younger Basil who liked Kyo for a bed.

A younger Basil who liked Kyo for a bed.

Kyo and little Basil in happier times.

Kyo and little Basil in happier times.

He liked summer… mostly because of mangoes. He’d wait for it to fall, and then look for a ripe fruit to munch on.

He loved mangoes.

Omnomnom.

When I started working in Indonesia in 2009, the only one I ever really missed was Kyo… because everyone else can text or call or Skype, but with a dog it is about the entire tactile experience. I always asked about him whenever I called home, and even gave him commands to bark while on Skype. He seemed happy to hear my voice. And whenever I went home, seeing him again was the thing I most looked forward to. And every time I had to go away again, him looking at me as I go is something that I try to commit to memory. Then I would wait and anticipate the time that I would be able to see him again.

That was why it was very hard for me to write about it after he died. I remember days in my flat in Jakarta, just lying in bed, crying and wondering how it would be to come home without Kyo around. Just the idea of his absence was unbearable, and I had that feeling until almost half a year after. When I did come home, my grief was muted. But it was just never the same. Waking up, opening the door, seeing the empty bacony, the empty kitchen floor. Just the days passing by with that glaring hole in my existence. Cats all round, but no dog to pat, no dog to sit next to, no dog to wake me up in the mornings with his moist, inquisitive nose. It was the feeling of emptiness and loneliness, I was there but he wasn’t. I missed him so much.

A couple of weeks after going back home, we decided to get another black labrador. I found one on an online selling site, which was really just a last resort because I couldn’t manage to find a breeder nearby. Fortunately, this seller that I found lived in the next town, and so one afternoon in June, we came and picked up Blitzen. I wanted to call her Kyoko, but the she had been so used to the name her former owner gave her. It was a lucky find because she was up to date with her vaccines and vet visits, and the owner took good care of her. She was already six months old when we got her, around the time since Kyo passed. So in a sense, for me, Kyo’s spirit lives on with her.

Little Blitzen and butt.

Little Blitzen and butt.

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2 Responses to “A long delayed eulogy.”

  1. mariawanders August 8, 2015 at 11:06 PM #

    I know how it feels to finally write a tribute to a dog you’ve always considered part of your family. What is it about dogs anyway? They have that capacity to love us human unconditionally. *sigh* now I miss my dog chichi :(

    Thank you for sharing. God bless.

    • chie August 9, 2015 at 7:46 AM #

      Thanks, Maria. :)

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