I just wanted to thank everyone who has posted a comment, and so many others who have emailed me, offering support and happy memories of Wiley. I know there will be a day when I can remember all our great adventures together and the unconditional happiness he gave me for so many years, but it is not today.
Probably won't be tomorrow, either.
In any case, I gave Wiley's remaining treats to my favorite line cook Jerry, who has two dogs of his own, and will be giving his bedding and bowls to Bridget and Brian. This morning I also made a donation in his memory to Best Friends Animal Society. I told them to use the money where it's needed most but, all things being equal, it would mean a lot to me if they could use it to support one of their programs helping stray animals overseas. They do a lot of work helping people in poor countries or anti-pet countries establish shelters, and they've also gotten pets and strays alike out of war zones and disaster areas. I like to think that another feral street puppy in some dumpy country somewhere might get the chance at a better life in Wiley's name.
This morning I woke up early, as usual, and not knowing what else to do took myself for a walkies. At work, I had the opportunity (a few times, actually) to yell at my assistant for truly careless mistakes, and I learned that it is not possible to cry and have a Gordon Ramsay moment at the same time.
I opted for the Gordon Ramsay moment.
The retired Swiss chef who comes in on the weekends to do prep work told me about a dog he'd lost, and how for weeks after the dog had died, he would still go to the door every morning with leash in hand, waiting to put on his pet's collar until he remembered. He told me it will take time to get over Wiley, which I know, and to let myself mourn him. Everything else can wait, he said.
Then he told me to go home and have a drink.
Well, I'm drinking... Aveda's "soothing" herbal tea, to be exact, and listening to Sigur Ros, which always fills me with peace.
When I was at the kennel on Thursday morning, Bridget gave me a print-out of The Rainbow Bridge poem. I didn't want to say it, but I thought "oh, no." Most of you know how much I hate poetry, especially the gooey, sentimental sort, and those of you familiar with the poem know it's definitely in that category. I've read it before, but hadn't seen this version, which claimed to be "inspired by a Norse legend."
Suddenly the poem seemed less lame to me, though I had to research the connection. (Okay, I googled it.) Turns out they're stretching the inspiration for Rainbow Bridge to be Bifrost, the bridge separating Midgard (our world) from Asgard (kinda like heaven, only with more drinking), and it's apparently the same bridge the warriors judged worthy of Valhalla cross on their merry way.
That amused me, because one of Wiley's early names, and one he occasionally deserved when sufficiently crazied-up, was Fenrir.
If you love the Rainbow Bridge poem and take comfort in it, hey, God bless. Me, I'm sitting here listening to my elegiac Icelandic "post-rock" and imagining Wiley running amok on Bifrost, barking his "bacon bark" until Heimdall finally relents and throws him a piece of roast beast.
And that thought makes me smile.