As you can see, it never stood a chance, and it now serves as a silent reminder of a dog whose presence continues to echo through our home.
Today marks a week since we took him on his final trip to the vet, and I'd be lying if I said those echoes had gotten any less intense in the ensuing days. We think we hear or see him almost constantly, and everyday activities - walking from room to room, reaching for the garbage can, making lunch - are often stopped dead in their tracks when we realize he isn't there. But it felt like he would be. Odd how reality reminds us.
For virtually the entire time he was with us, I would often stare at the door jamb and think I needed to fix it, to fill in his time-worn gouges and repaint the scarred wood the pristine white it once had been. But I figured there was no point in doing so as long as he was still clawing at it a few times per day. Now that the house is quiet, I probably can go ahead and make it whole again, but something is stopping me.
And I'm not the only one: My wife says she can't wash the dining room floor just yet because his dirty paw prints are still there. It's too soon to get rid of the little messes and dents he left behind. Maybe someday, but not just yet.