Right from the start, Ajax was completely and totally my wife's dog. When we first saw him, she picked him up and never put him down, so of course we had to bring him home. She loved him like no other dog we'd ever had, and would do anything and everything for him. Even hand-feed him canned dog food piece by piece when he wouldn't eat.
But soon my wife got sick. The first time she went to the hospital and spent the night, Ajax never came to bed. I left the living room curtains open for him and he sat in the window all night watching for her to come home.
And later as she spent her final days at home, Ajax would lay in the living room in his spot in front of the window, watching his world go by, or would curl up on the sofa next to her. She was never alone all day long in her last year of life.
I thought her death would be a terrible blow to Ajax, but he took it all in stride. Maybe he understood more than I knew, or maybe her long illness prepared him. He was there with her, to the very last.
Even before my wife died, Ajax became more and more my dog. Probably because I did everything with him, as my wife couldn't join with us for play and walks and such.
After my wife passed, I was all he had, and he was all I had. He and I bonded and were constant companions. He would keep my feet warm on cold winter nights. He would rest his head in my lap to keep me company when I was lonely. Then he got sick, too.
Now there is an empty spot on the floor in front of the window, and no one watches the world go by anymore. My feet are no longer warmed on winter nights, and my lap remains empty when I am lonely.
He was just a dog. But there is a hole in my heart where he used to be.
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