I’m longing for Shiva

(Crystalyn Gervacio’s story) 

Written by: Jhudiel Ando 

A dog’s lifespan lasts for 10-13 years. We may want them to live longer and stay by our side as we grow older but there are things that we need to bid our farewell. The moment that dog owners fear the most happen to me recently. It’s been three weeks since my pet Shiva, left. At first, it is hard to accept that she’s gone because I’m so used to having her beside me. What hurts the most is staying at home reminds me of a lot of memories of her together. Staying in the living room, bedroom, kitchen, and even the bathroom. I feel so empty when she left. I had times when I cried terribly because I missed her. Nevertheless, life goes on when you lose someone in your life. You continue your daily routine even if you’re so used to having their presence.  

This is Shiva. She’s ¾ Shih Tzu & ¼ Poodle. Shiva was with me for nine years.  Shiva was the type of dog that sticks by your side no matter what. You’ll feel her presence because she’s by my side wherever I go. When Shiva got older, she loved to sleep. Every time she’d sleep, I’d tiptoe because she easily wakes up if she senses that I’m about to go out. Shiva is an introvert around other dogs because she didn’t have any other dog friends besides her sister growing up. Although she’s an extrovert when she’s playing with me, she always sneezes if she’s in her hyper phase. After bathing her, she’s extra playful & likes to run around annoying her sister. 

I remember the first time I had Shiva. It was along with two other puppies because their mom was my main dog, Hershey. When Hershey was about to give birth, she was running around the house, panicking, one thing led to the other, there they were, Fourchette, the male puppy & Shiva. We initially planned to sell them all but I was too attached to them so we ended up selling the only male puppy. We kept and raised Fourchette and Shiva with us.   

Staying at home wasn’t boring when I have these two adorable puppies with me. I enjoyed my alone time at home with their company. During my stressful times, seeing their cuteness enlightens my mood. 

Raising two puppies was never an easy job. Raising a dog is just like raising a kid. You aren’t just the dog’s best friend or a pet owner, you’re a mother. I had these puppies with me at a very young age. Being their mother is a tough responsibility. You have to pay/buy a lot of things as well such as dog food, grooming, healthcare, and necessities. You have a responsibility to watch over that dog. It gets tiring especially at times when you have a lot on your plate & you have to tend to their needs at the same time. It’s super stressful thinking about the finances of raising dogs, however, aside from that, it feels good to have them because you can play/talk/bond with them every time. It feels good because you know that someone loves you no matter what. Even though you forgot to take them out to pee, even though you have to clean after them always, even though you have to feed them before you, yourself could eat, you know that their love for you is still greater than yours. Coming home knowing that someone is eager to greet you is one of the best feelings in the world. If I could describe this feeling in one word, that would be bittersweet. Raising a dog could be a pain in the ass but it gives you too much happiness.  

Honestly, during the early years, I didn’t have any time for them at all because I’m at school from morning till afternoon. Every time I came home, I had to do chores/assignments/manage my business. It was routine that I had to bathe them every Saturday & that’s it. But when the pandemic hit, I was drawn much closer to them because I had more free time. The pandemic made me an actual fur mom from merely just being their “owner”. I had more time to attend to their needs, play & spend time with them. I think all of the memories we’ve made are special but I always appreciate her, even more, when she tried to comfort me every time I’m feeling sick or crying. Shiva knows me too well. I felt like we had a deeper connection.  

March 2022, she had these flesh wounds randomly appearing on her skin which went on for weeks. I tried self-medicating her but it didn’t work. We eventually went to the vet & they prescribed us 8/9 very costly medications. The wounds went away for a month or two but they came back again so I tried medicating her once more but the wounds weren’t getting better anymore and I figured that there was already something wrong inside of her that was causing her wounds. She became weaker and weaker. As the mother of my pet, I knew she couldn’t take it already; if the doctor would do surgeries or any type of procedures on her because of her age & condition, I somewhat accepted that Shiva was about to go to doggy heaven.  I repeatedly told my family that I’m ready to let her go if the time will come. I don’t want to extend her agony with her condition.  

After Shiva’s death, I wasn’t used to not seeing her wait for me on the stairs when I woke up, I felt a bit lonely because she was not there anymore. My eyes were swollen for straight two days then there were days I miss her, I burst into tears again.  

I miss Shiva’s presence who keeps on following me around and who keeps on wagging her tail just to ask me to play with her. I miss seeing her tongue-out face. I miss caressing her until she fell asleep. I miss her playful wiggles every time I bathe her.

If there’s one thing I want to rewind in life, I want to go back to the time I first had her. I want to make more time for her. I realized that I shouldn’t have stood by my routine during her early years, maybe at that time I was able to play with her more. Now, I do things I wasn’t able to do with Shiva before to our new dog, Nala. We’re spoiling Nala now and that should have been like that with Shiva too. In the early years, I had with Shiva, I kept on buying clothes and toys, but I never spend time playing with her. I realized and learned a lot of things from Shiva and I’m applying it now with my pets. No matter how busy you are, always make time for your pets because they won’t there with you all the time. The time will come you have to bid your farewell to them. To my baby Shiva, I’ll never forget you.  

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