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adventures of Manni the wonderdog

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Dark matter

It’s been around three months, give or take a few days or weeks, that this place in the world went dark. I am not counting. There is no point in counting the eternity that Manni will be gone from me so I won’t even start.

It literally went dark here that month. It was the darkest December since the beginning of weather records apparently and it didn’t come as a surprise to me but I’m sure it wasn’t helpful either. I have been scrambling to get my bearings again. So much of myself was defined by Manni, was defined by the extended hospice care. Did you know that you can easily fill a whole day with the administration of medicine, trying to force your mind to make mental images that can last a lifetime, trying to make every day count, trying to create memories, planning field trips for your dog so he would have only good days, preparing for the worst day and yet not breaking outwardly at the pressure of knowing when it’s time? Did you know that this can not only fill a whole day but make a whole day not be enough?

I didn’t know, but I learned.

And then, despite of all your mental preparation, you are left with a big black hole. The kind that consists of dark matter and that just sucks you in, leaves you alone in the dark devoid of everything that defined you before.

After what felt like days, although it may have been weeks, I felt that people were trying to tell me I have to move on. I don’t blame them, I’m sure they were right, but they didn’t exactly tell me how to do that, either. I can handle that. I have a public face that I put on, I can laugh, I smile at the right times. What does really get me, though, is what has only been happening the last few weeks. It’s a thing I was expecting and yet a thing I was scared to death of: the loss of the crispness of the memories, the clarity of the pictures.

It all fades. What once used to be a high-definition laser-printed impression in your mind turns slowly but surely into a watercolor painting with blurry edges. It kills me that while I know Manni had the softest fur in the world I don’t actually recall the literal feel of it, that I just know that I always loved his unique scent but I don’t really remember what he would smell like when I pressed my nose into the soft fur just behind his ears. I have lost people in my life before so I knew this would happen but it still kills me. Every single day it does.

I have been going through all of the different media I have to find all pictures and videos that were ever taken of Manni. They have made me laugh, they have made me cry. They have confirmed what I already knew: my dog had a good life. I gave him a good life. I don’t doubt that, nor do I doubt my decision or the timing of letting him go forever. That is the one thing I am at peace with. If I only knew now that he is in a place filled with light I would be happy to stay in the dark.

Here’s a few of my latest findings from way back when

 

 

Manni has moved on and so does life. I suppose that is a good thing and I will update here in a few days. I did need to get this off my chest, however, and nothing has proved as cathartic as writing.

Almost an 11th birthday. Almost.

The last ever picture we took, half an hour before he left us forever, 6 weeks ago.

This last Sunday would have been Manni’s eleventh (guesstimate) birthday.  When we got the devastating diagnosis of yet another osteosarcoma in the summer I knew then that he wouldn’t live to see this day.

But then he hung around longer than anyone ever expected and a sliver of hope crept into my stupid head, as hope tends to do. Hope is not my friend. I’d rather be positively surprised after the fact than devastated because I had hope. Not that this birthday really meant anything, least of all to Manni.

I promised then that I would invite (and pay for plane tickets) every Tripawds member that wanted to make the long trip over here to have the biggest -and most unlikely- birthday bash ever. Obviously, that didn’t happen. Sorry folks. Instead I spent last Sunday volunteering at our local shelter. It wasn’t fun, it wasn’t pleasant work. It was lots of physical labor like cleaning kennels, but I was busy. I was also not tempted to take one of the dogs home with me. I guess I kept comparing and, sorry to say, nothing compares to Manni. Not for me, anyway. I went back to the shelter today and will continue doing so but at least I found that I don’t feel the need to rescue every poor soul out there. -That is a good thing, in my book.

On that Sunday I went from the shelter to my yoga class and didn’t get home until later that evening, completely beat. For once, sleep came easy and the Sunday was over fast. Thank Goodness.

I miss him so much. Every minute of every day. My life is so different now and it’s not better. Even I myself was better with him. I miss the little bump on his nose, his freckles. I miss burying my nose in his oh so soft fur right behind his ears, I miss his scent, so much. I miss his unbelievably reckless, independent spirit, his wise eyes, his exasperation with me. I miss my purpose,

I miss Manni.

These below are videos of better times. They make me cry but they also make me happy for a few seconds. Enjoy and please remember him for a little while. Thank you.

 

 

 

Alone at last.

Thank you everybody for the numerous comments, condolences and your kindness. I can’t even begin to express how much it means.

A new year has begun and right now I don’t even care what it brings.

Manni made it to exactly two years after his amputation. Maybe one day I will be able to celebrate this huge achievement of having shown both cancer and statistics my middle fingers but right now I just can’t.

Manni was my constant companion. And I mean that very literally. If at all possible I took him along. During his life he was in different countries (he had his own pet passport), used all methods of transportation you can imagine (boats, public transport, cars, trains, RVs, elevators, ferries…), he was an office dog, he went to all restaurants with me, he was at Christmas markets, in hotels, in vacation rentals, at all my friends’ houses, in barns, on horse pastures, he played with goats and cats, he went to nose-work classes (lost people searches) and excelled in them and he even participated whole-heartedly in the dog-Paralympixx. You name it, he was there.

In short: wherever I went, he did. He was never afraid of anything, he took everything in stride even though some of the things I made him do must have been a challenge.

The problem with having your dog with you everywhere is that once your dog is gone there is not a single place you can go where you don’t miss your dog. That’s where I’m at now. I feel like I am the one missing a limb now. All my friends would always say that Manni and I were so symbiotic it was unreal. Now, this is exactly what’s come back to haunt me. Now, I am alone at last, as I expected to be for exactly the last two years.

Manni was not a perfect dog, in fact he was very far from being a perfect dog. He chased after every moving object if you weren’t careful, he didn’t like strangers, he didn’t like cuddles, he counter-surfed no matter where we were, he stole food off colleagues’ desks, he got stuck in a waste basket once trying to reach food, and he was the most strong-willed creature you could find. I can’t even count the number of times he left me absolutely exasperated and at my wit’s end. My mother would always say: well, you get what you deserve…

However, let me show you what it meant to me to have him around. Look at my face. Can you see the absolute bliss?

 

Time is my friend, they tell me. I’m sure they’re right. We’ll see.

I seem to have misplaced a few things

Manni is dead.  And things seem to have disappeared from my house.

My pride and joy – I have not looked for my pride, I may find it yet. Joy, however, left with him. He’s gone.

My heart – my heart belonged to him so I probably shouldn’t go looking for it but it’s mighty empty inside my chest now that he’s gone.

My purpose – my purpose was to do all I can for him and now he’s gone.

My strength – all the strength I thought I had for the two of us was really his. And he’s gone.

All the light – it is dark now in this corner of the world. His light went out or he took it somewhere. I just know it is gone.

My best friend – have you seen him? He was around me 24/7 and now he is gone.

 


We let Manni go on Sunday, December 10, at 3.20 pm. It was the day of his two-year ampuversary.

After two nights where pain medication did not last until the morning and a Sunday where his hind end was finally giving in it was time.

He got to go out into his yard one last time and got to feel the first snow of the season that he loved so much. I think it started snowing just for him.

He fell asleep on his living room floor and for the first time in his life he didn’t fight.

 


 

 

Manfred “Manni” Lübcke

January 28, 2007

December 10, 2017

 


 

Manni always danced to his own tune.

So the following is my personal playlist right now and forever.

 


 

For the last two years I told him “I love you” every single day.

When I had to go away for a few days I would tell him for all the days in advance and then again when I came back.

Ich liebe Dich.

Alles gut, Baby.

 


 

Das war’s.

 

Where is Waldo, 2.0 (Manni, I mean Manni!!)

So, while I still have a few laughs in me, I thought I’d share with you.

Waldo, the little nightmare of a dog, oh! Did I do it again?? I mean Manni, of course. But you will understand my confusion when I share with you his latest antics. You know, you figure: hey! I have a tripawd dog that’s very sick, who needs a leash? and then you turn your back for a second and poof! he’s disappeared! He’s been making a new hobby out of this, I swear!!

I’ll show you what he’s been up to. But I’ll start you off nice and easy. I have hawks’ eyes by now and I’ll help you find him:

There! See him? No? Well, this is what I deal with on a daily basis!!

Ok, now that you had a little practice let’s see if you can get this one:

Found him? Good job!! Let’s move on to something harder. Let me remind you: ON A DAILY BASIS…

Not that easy anymore, is it? I am telling you, that little … has made this his new profession. He’s always been good at driving me nuts but he’s been taking this to new heights. Let’s see, what else do we have?

Need a hint for this one?? Do you?? Well, ok. Follow the leash…

Ha! Can’t find him here?? GOT YA! He’s inside. I just wanted to show you my cool tripawd plaque 🙂

And then there are the other times where he was either still practicing his hiding skills or I don’t know what he was thinking. A little too obvious if you ask me, but there you are. It’s nice for me to catch a break once in a while…

Really, huh?

It’s Mother Teresa! No! It’s Mother Manni!!

Nope. Sorry. Getting a wig will not lead you to greatness and that does not qualify as hiding…

You see what I’m dealing with here???

Sympathy, please?

And that’s not all. Noooooo, sir! You know: you put a time stamp on somebody’s butt and yet they just refuse to comply! instead, he gets up to all his usual antics:

I swear he was inside a second ago… well, somebody better be guarding the food I guess.

I mean, it’s nice they let you take even the stroller inside the pet store but I guess they didn’t expect this:

GimmeGimmeGimme!!

I really try to keep that boy busy. I mean I do! Really! And all this is how he thanks me!!

I mean, I know that it’s hard for him not to be able to move around as much as he did before so I take him on trips and I even invent little games:

As you can see and as usual: the only way he knows how to appear thankful is by sticking around a lot longer than anyone ever expected.

I guess that’s more than enough for me.

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