His name was Cappy, short for Cappuccino (I didn't get to name him). And he was my dog (ok I'll be honest, if my mom was around it was either a tie or he was her dog ... but when she was gone, he was mine!). I took him to puppy school, I taught him to sit, down, stay (he knew other commands but I didn't practice them so he lost them). I was the one who took so many pictures he developed a love for cameras and would pose and whine when seeing a camera until you took his picture.
He loved digging and would do it for hours if you'd have let him. And he loved licking. The air, your hand, your leg, anything. He'd lick so much a white foam would form on his bottom lip.
After a vet visit when he was only a few months old, it was me who noticed his face swell up and insisted that my parents call the vet. Come to find out, he was having an allergic reaction. From then on, whenever he got a shot, he had to have some Benedryl as well.
When I went away to college, I liked talking to my parents, but it was my puppy who I missed. It was my puppy who I made my mom put on the phone so I could say hi.
During grad school when I moved home, my parents went to the shelter and fell in love with another dog. It was me who said don't get him (although he was adorable). It was me, and only me, who said not to get the second dog.
But they didn't listen.
And it was me who said "I told you so" when the new dog BJ (we didn't name him) made Cappy's life miserable. It was me who recognized the only way Cappy would be able to play with his soccer ball that he LOVED was to trick BJ into going outside. It was me who tried to give Cappy the attention he'd originally received and still needed/wanted but could no longer get because the new dog stole it all.
And it was me who when just after his 10th birthday he got sick, insisted we take him to the vet. It was me (and at times my parents) who forewent sleep to stay up all night with him. It was me who said no, he isn't suffering, we shouldn't put him down.
And it was me who was overruled. I called for an update to learn my sister and mother were on the way to the vet to put him down. I rushed out of work for a final chance to say goodbye.
And when the vet said he wasn't suffering but didn't have a good quality of life, it was me who regrets not speaking up for Cappy and leaving with him then and there.
Instead, I had to be the one to hold him when the vet gave him the final shots.
And it was me who stayed in the room with him after everyone else had left, apologizing for not being stronger and saying goodbye.
May 20th marks the second anniversary of his death. And I still miss him. And there are times, like now, that I still burst into tears thinking of him.
He was alive for my engagement but wasn't alive for the wedding. I missed him then and miss him now.