Ringo died today. He'd had a good run but reached the finish line without fanfare. He could barely walk, couldn't stand up, wasn't eating, and the cut he got falling off the porch a month ago was still badly infected despite the vet's best attempts to repair him.
Pavlov died 367 days ago. They were BFFs. Ringo never made a sound before Pav died. For the last year, he would howl and howl until we let him inside. Until the end. He had stopped howling by the end.
So we've gone from a two dog house to a no-dog house. No pets at all. We knew this was coming, they were both 14 when they died, and we had said we would take a break from pets for a while. But the children will want another pet soon, probably tomorrow, and we will allow it. And someday those pets will die and we'll be sad again.
Rarely do animals' eyes or expressions change when it's time. Certainly not Ringo's. He had that calm look even as they said goodbye. His expression almost never changed his whole life. I used to jokingly call him "the cow". That's what I admired about him. Consistency.