Not to sound banal, but I truly feel your pain. My mother wrote in the family dictionary the year before I was born: "then you will know how much you can care, when you've given your heart to a dog to tear" and the 1942 date her childhood dog died. She was quoting from Kipling:
The Power of the Dog
Rudyard Kipling - 1865-1936
There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie—
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.
When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find—it’s your own affair—
But… you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.
When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!).
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone—wherever it goes—for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.
We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we’ve kept ’em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long—
So why in—Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?
In my 79 years since, my heart has been torn over and over. Pal and Harry and Paka and Pirate and Summer and Big Jake and McGee. They live still in memory as vividly than human losses.
I read your tribute and immediately hugged what may be my last one, Hunter Dog, who has reached the 14 years prescribed by Kipling and sometimes shows the weight of time and sometimes acts like a puppy. In reach of my hand as I type. She looks around when I reach, like what? I thought you were out of treats...
KInd of a horse race who goes first, Hunter or me. If dogs don't go to heaven, I want to go where dogs go.