Javier was a purebred chihuahua, nearly seventeen years of age. He'd been an important part of our family for his entire life.
We'd been faced with the agonizing decision of having him euthanized. It was a hard day.
But it was such a pretty day. Springtime in South Carolina. Neither cold nor hot. A welcome breeze stirred the pine boughs and a few sprigs of wisteria remained, drooping purple over the gravesite.
Another beloved dog lay in the spot already. Buckley died in October of 2005. Counting the interment of Bird Woodpecker in February of 2015, we now have a well-established pet cemetery.
The veterinary hospital had returned our dog's remains (no; he was not cremated) in a small white cardboard coffin.
In addition to his name, we decided to write messages and decorate the white expanse with stickers.
My husband wrote: Crate!! That was what he said, pretend-sternly, to Javier countless times over the years. Like, go to your crate, because Javier understood that word. And he didn't like it.
He'd skulk into his tiny teal plastic cave, then turn around and hang his paws over the threshold. In less than a minute he'd be out, walking around our feet again, trying not to get stepped on.
Now it was time to leave the crate empty and go to the grave.
My son had prepared the little resting place. He and his own dog, Rambo, were visiting. I know Andrew was thinking of how he will survive the distant (we hope) day when his own precious dog trots across the rainbow bridge.
Rambo looked as though he'd rather have changed the subject. Permanently.
Erica carried her little pookie boy to his final destination. She was always his favorite human. When Javier became an old dog, but before he got so sick, he would howl if she entered the house and did not immediately pick him up and cuddle him. If she wasn't available, I would do the honors. He put up with me.
It is so hard to say goodbye. We made his initial with a few bricks. Later I added an angel, and decorated with some wild-growing clematis.
We will miss you, little buddy.