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Ode to Yoshi…

You can’t be gone.

You were just here five minutes ago, huffing and puffing at five o clock on the dot so I’d feed you.

How can you be gone?

These tissues I’m filling with snot as I sob for you, I realize they are safe on the ground now because you aren’t here to chew them, and it makes me cry even more.

How can you be gone?

I wasn’t ready.

Not now.

Please don’t go now.

We had more things to do.

I wanted you to grow old and grey with me.

Today I vacuumed for a house inspection and all I can think about is your precious hairs, and how there are no more of them to come.

You ate the wrong thing my love.

Food was always your weakness, it used to freak me out how you would inhale anything that crossed your path. You ate entire wheels of artisan cheese, you ate lady snacks which was embarrassing and hilarious, you ate party foods of guacamole & chips secretly & chops off our dinner plates so fast we weren’t sure if we had eaten them ourselves. You stole lunches from the bags of zombies onsite at events, you ate special 40th bacon that you somehow got from a zipped up bag inside a teepee. You had sneaky tricks going with most of the guys we lived with, stealing burgers from under drunk sleeping heads, and pizzas from next to tired workers. You would remember the old chicken carcass in an alley for blocks ahead before I could and be neck deep in it by the time I got there.

You ate human poo to our disgust, and caught popcorn like a pro to our delight. Stu taught you to beg & that became your cuteness overload trademark.

Food was your greatest obsession.

You ate strawberries & loved mandarins & knew the sounds of cheese being cut from the other end of the house. Even when I got you a slow eat bowl you still gobbled it like you hadn’t eaten in a week.

I could never stop you, it was always too late. And it’s too late now.

Why is guilt a pet owners lingering feeling?

Is it because they can’t talk to us?

It is because we make most choices for them?

I didn’t make all his choices.

Yoshi had friends at BBQs who I had never met, in all scenes, friends all over the city, because we went everywhere together.

He didn’t use a leash, we are both too independent.

He waited at street corners to the delight of grandmas. He raided nonnas’ compost in their front yards for bones on the regular.

He came to nightclubs, and he was a great baby sitter, he modeled for me without complaining & our holiday cards have been on fridges & in the hands of loved ones for years. He was at heavy innit in the park with a sign around his neck warning others of his alcoholism for spilled beers.

He was a quiet partner to friends going through divorces, illness & he always just knew when you just needed him there.

He was part of our community, in love with the children, gentle & friendly with every animal he ever lived with, from neurotic dogs to cats with psychosis to kittens found at festivals to rats to human party animals all over the country.

It’s six am and the birds are calling.

Who will walk me now?

Who will make sure I do 10,000 steps and don’t just drink coffee in front of the computer for 10 hours straight?

Who will sniff loudly & indignantly at parties when it’s time to go home?

Who will cuddle me to sleep & match my breathing with theirs so my mind can quiet?

Who will draw me back from tropical destinations with love, when I could leave everything else behind?

Who will demand routine, this house with a backyard, this suburban life in Australia?

Who will save me again if I make the wrong choice with my heart?

Who will unconditionally love me, just because I am me.

You were the rock that moored me, our walks bookends on each day that I took for granted, I see now.

The house is still. Tonka sleeps on a corner near me but doesn’t know he’ll never see his brother again.

No more bunny chasing at dusk with both of us screaming for you guys to come back. Not ever again.

You weren’t “just a dog” to me, not ever.

You were my life partner in the true meaning of the word, the being who stuck around for all the hairy bits, unwavering.

You thought you were human & I encouraged you, collecting bandanas from all over the world & sitting on benches next to me because you wanted to, at bars you got away with eating snacks from the table because you were so cute.

Aging gracefully, you didn’t have much energy for puppies, would rather scout the perimeter, nose to the ground.

That nose was your blessing & your curse.

My favorite model, I think I have about 50,000 photos of you, but now there’s not anymore, and there’s still not enough.

Not enough of us together, every day, walking side by side with me on my phone and your nose in a garbage bin.

Crossing the road with an “ok” we traversed the whole country, where you encountered cane toads & curlews & snakes & lizards.

You flew in a plane because I followed my heart & naturally you took it in your stride & sniffed the tropical wind & smiled. You discovered your primal self in the jungles up there & became a tougher, wiser, more a streetwise man than the sheltered puppy you were before. It was after this that you began barking, definitely. Protectively.

And then this was your face when we were separated and then reunited, and I swore I’d never leave you again.

We drove back across the country together being chased by storms, and you were the only reason I kept going, the only reason I didn’t drive off a bridge. We went camping, we went swimming, we chased bunnies down the whole coast & I pulled leeches from between your toes & out of your butthole because that’s what you do when you look after each other.

We made it home & camped out, and sorted life & moved & each potential housemate you would lean on and stare at me if you didn’t like them.

Each new date you would assess & deem either worthy or not by his energy & my bed would cover him in hair as if a reminder of who was boss.

We swam in reservoirs in summer, we walked the icy moors in the middle of winter.

I covered you in a million kisses & you knew the words “I love you” as part of your 100 word repertoire.

You were the zen master, unruffleable, waiting quietly till you could steal all the food & still be ready for dinner. You won everyone over, you filled me with love in a way I’d never felt before.

We did have the best life ever, I know because I was constantly striving to have adventures & be in nature & you encouraged me to do both those things.

I’m happy for you, but sad for me.

I’m not ready to be alone.

I want you with me.

Is that where grief comes from?

Just selfish need?

All I know is you were, and always will be, my own true love. You are my main man, and I’m not sure if anyone will ever come close.

Yoshi, zoozy, bubbaloo, my puppaloo, who I told you all along “you’re for cuddles”…

Thankyou for all you gave me. Thankyou for choosing me & melting my heart that first day we met.

It’s eight am and half of Melbourne is mourning you. I called your dad Stu & we cried down the phone together in the night, the love you shared was different to ours & so special. Thankyou Stu, for being the best surrogate dad for the last nine years to our regal beagle, the best thing I ever bought 😉

And this is just death. We all face it.

We all lose people & dogs & things that make out heart hurt physically like mine has all morning.

When you don’t have much family, your pets become your family.

But I’ll walk myself for a while, in memory of you.

And I probably won’t vacuum for ages.

This is an ode to Yoshi dog, you helped make me, to learn not take myself so seriously, to love myself at all costs & to smell the flowers at ALL times, even and especially when they are rotten.

Good bye precious soul in beaglier form, may you fly and be free of that pain.

I’ll never forget you.

Anyhow I have your paw print inked on my arm in case dementia sets in.

Forever and ever till eternity my brumby bunny hunter stuffed animal panda booga-loo.

Love your mama kitty xxx