On Monday September 18th, my world came crashing down.
Meeko was sixteen years and four months to the day. His once tri-colored face had faded out over his older years to nearly all white - I'm not sure how he got more adorable with age, but he really did.
My then boyfriend and I dedicated to raising Meeko in July 2001 - he was three months old and we both fell madly in love with him the first time we saw him. We fondly remember him pulling the lady's ankle-length skirt by his teeth when she put him in the meet and greet area for us.
A true Jack Russell, he loved nothing more than fetching the tennis ball for hours at a time and was always an opportunist, looking for items he could negotiate a trade in the form of a treat for. He never thought the local squirrels had any business running up and down the trees in anyone's yard and was always on point in voicing his concerns to them. He was the most loyal boy to his home and his family.
Meeko did life with us and our adventure together took us to six different homes and through an international move. He never complained or voiced any dislike; he was just happy to be on this wild journey with us and we wouldn't have wanted to be on this ride without him.
He was our first baby and made us a family. With Meeko, we added Mousey into our hearts when he was ten years old and even though he wasn't thrilled with the new dynamic of our family, he secretly loved having a constant companion with her. We even caught him snuggling up to her just as a big brother would on several occasions and ended up finding great comfort in her. He protected Mouse and they formed their own special connection.
In 2012, the four of us moved from Toronto, Canada all the way to San Antonio, Texas. We packed up our lives in a moving container, traded in our car for a Ford F-150 and filled up the truck's bed with our stuff. With our dogs, we drove across the USA to start this new adventure together.
Shortly after, we welcomed our son and both, Meeko and Mouse were wonderful to him. We all grew together, laughed together, cried together, grew grayer together... except our son, of course.
In early 2017, a stray crossed paths with me and allowed me to take him to get help and let me care for him and clean him up (he was covered in fleas and needed a good meal, a soft place to catch up on some much needed rest and kindness).
Once again, Meeko was asked to add another family member into our lives, and without any hesitation he did. He spent time with Miles, teaching him things, passing down his knowledge and even going nutty and running around the house with him even though we knew his joints hurt. He made us laugh and enjoyed having a new member to keep him company.
When I look back at the past sixteen years with Meeko, the first thing that happens is my heart gets warm and I smile. Tears fill my eyes but they're not just sad tears, they're also happy ones. We were so fortunate to get to spend so much time with Meeko; most dogs don't get sixteen years, but he did and so did we.
I can't recall all of the times he made us laugh and brought us joy because he was a master at it. He did life to his fullest ability with us and despite all of his medical issues, he never complained and always kept on going.
Sometimes you meet a creature who has an "old soul" and Meeko definitely had that. It's really difficult to put it into words, but he just had this aura about him and his eyes always expressed so much.
We knew that every day we had recently with Meeko was a blessing because his body was starting to fail. In dog years, he had passed the geriatrics stage which is amazing in itself. He really was a gift; a sweet little soul that I will cherish for the rest of my days and be grateful that we were blessed enough to call him family.
I have felt an emptiness since his passing and having to let him go was absolutely devastating to me. I love animals, especially my own, so incredibly deeply.
I know now, that there is an emptiness because I gave Meeko a part of my heart to take with him. I'll always be with him and he'll always be with me.
I've also come to realize why mourning the loss of a dog (or cat, companion) is so earth-shattering: when you wake up to start the day, they're there with you and when you go to bed to close the day, they're there with you. I'm fortunate enough to work in my home studio, so Meeko was a part of my full day, every day. He was also a wanderer; he didn't sleep all day; instead, he would go around the house every so often and come visit me or stare at me while I was eating lunch; he would find me at 4:30pm with this look of "hey woman, it's nearly dinner time, let's get a move on!" and be sure to sneak into the pantry whenever he could.
As much as I miss my boy, I am so very grateful that we had SO many years together. I'm doing my best to move forward and to collect myself, but the last two weeks have really knocked me right down.
I will be painting a big, 24 x 36 in. painting of Meeko soon that will celebrate all that he was so that he can continue to bring a smile to our face when we see him...
Thank you to everyone who has been so supportive - I truly appreciate it all.