He was my first love. I can clearly remember when I met him. I was a Sophomore in college coming to visit my sister in Chicago. It was definitely love at first sight. He was full of imperfections, but so perfect in my eyes. He was covered in black poofy fur with one white paw and long scraggly tail. He loved to curl up next to you and beg for tummy rubs. It was incredibly unfair to have to leave him two short days later. When I was with Astor, every other stress in the world dissipated. He made me blissfully happy.
As time passed, I would regularly call my sister to see what he was doing and how he was growing up. I anxiously awaited coming home, barreling through the door welcomed by my bounding, tail-wagging love. Astor always knew I loved him. He would sneak off to my room and cuddle up by my feet at night. He would whine with glee when I came around. When I would have to inevitably leave, he would lay in front of my car hopeful to barricade my exit. Our love was mutual and omnipresent, and our attachment was obvious to anyone.
As most pet owners can attest to, I was good at avoiding Astor’s signs of aging. Blocking out the curvature of his back, the days spent sleeping and more frequent trips to the vet. I chose to believe that he would live forever, until Monday when my mom called me to say that Astor was diagnosed with cancer. My world stopped.
It always kills me when people say – “He’s just a dog!” “You can’t treat him like a human!” Try telling this to anyone that has loved a dog. They know better. Astor is not “just a dog”. He is my first love. He has been my respite on days that I couldn’t smile or get out of bed. He has been unfailingly good to me.
A life without Astor is neither fair nor complete, but a reality that all pet owners have to live with one day. Like most people dealing with loss, I’ve tried to find a reason or rationale. The best I can come up with is that there must be a shortage of Schnoodles in heaven. To know Astor, is to love Astor, so I am confident someone else will be able to claim him again, as their first love.