That’s a bottle of water. Nothing special to see, really. Many people have bottles of water lying around their home. This particular bottle is a little more significant than that, though. This particular bottle of water has been resting on my television there for exactly one year. What type of slob leaves an opened water bottle around for that long?
It’s the bottle I took home from the animal hospital the night we put my dog, Katie, to sleep.
It was around the 2-3am mark when we drove my oldest friend to put her to rest. I bottle up my emotion (no pun intended, but a fine metaphor), so as we waited for the diagnosis from doctor my stomach began to knot. As we left the hospital that night, one family member lighter than we’d arrived, I asked to drive. Focusing on being behind the wheel would help me relax my stomach. I also grabbed a bottle of water my dad kept in the car, and took a few sips. That is the same bottle you see above. When we got home, I set it on top of my television set before taking a shower and going to bed. There was no specific reason to it, I just set it down – not realizing what picture I’d set it next to. Mowgli and Baloo from Disney’s The Jungle Book: two friends who are inseparable after meeting each other… until they have to say goodbye at the end.
I’m a bit hesitant when it comes to germs, and since my dog had lost control of her bladder that final night, the outside of the bottle wasn’t very clean. So, the next morning, besides being tired and in shock, I left the bottle where it was. The day after that, I did the same. It very quickly became about more than just an unclean surface, though. For some reason, I didn’t WANT to move it. Here was this bottle, mostly full… the first thing I really have from after my dog died. I decided to leave it there for a year, almost as a personal tribute. I’m not a ceremonial man, but for one reason or another this meant something to me.
At one point, while gathering the trash, my dad tossed the cap (which had been sitting next to the bottle). As he picked up the bottle itself, I stopped him. I wasn’t able to say why it was there, but I told him I wasn’t finished with it yet – and, to return to that bottled up emotion analogy I used earlier, I wasn’t finished yet. Even now, a year later, that little mutt is still on my mind all of the time. All of a sudden, petting my friends’ cat Abbey meant so much more – and I’m not even a cat person. People at work or in my neighborhood walk by with their dogs, and I have that urge to run out and give them a big hug. The dogs, of course, not the people 😉 Even watching the movie E.T. in my Film as Literature class Tuesday night made me teary eyed… not from the sentimental plot, as one would expect, but because of the dog in the movie – and the storyline of learning to say goodbye.
I’ll always remember my little old lady, but I promise this is the last blog you’ll see dedicated to her. It’s been a year, and though I’ll always miss her, I’m definitely in a very healthy place about it. If this were to become some sort of annual thing, it’d not only be insincere, but I’d come off like a bit of a nut… more than I already do 😉
So, what about the bottle? Well, one year ago today was Katie’s last day alive, so tomorrow morning, I’m going to remove that bottle from its place in my bedroom, take it outside, and pour what little is left of it on our back lawn – one of Katie’s favorite places to relax. As I said, I’m not usually a ceremonial man, but this is something I feel like doing – a simple gesture to say farewell after a year of adjusting to the fact that she’s gone.