Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

I lost my dog to a bully. A “man” who is afraid of dogs, but pushes out his chest and spits every time he sees me. My Henry was a handsome boy, a dobey with his ears intact (docking a doberman’s ears is a brutal American custom and illegal elsewhere. Because we’re assholes.) He never bit the guy, but growled protectively, and now I’ve given my boy away. Now, eleven months out, and I’m still grieving. And feeling guilty. Because I am guilty.

But the day after Henry was gone, I’m at work. Can’t stop crying. Trying to get through the day – and many, many subsequent days – without losing my mind. A coworker, an older woman (older than I; I, in fact, am an “older woman”) is in the kitchen, brewing herself a cup of coffee. “Hello! How are you?” she asks. I tell her what happened, because I can’t not tell her what happened. I guess the whole thing is my fault, now that I look back on it. I should have just said, “Fine, and you?” But I didn’t. I told her what happened in much the same way I suspect one would say, “Oh, it’s a hard time for me. My father passed away.” At least, that was the depth of hurting in which I was desperately dog-paddling.

Once I finished describing my trauma, keeping my head down as I washed a cup in the sink so she couldn’t see me crying, my coworker said, “Jeez, that’s too bad. But, other than that, how you doing?”

Now, I don’t expect anyone in this world to feel about a dog the way I do, (although millions do), but I do expect someone to have more sensitivity than that. Had she lost her child, I doubt anyone would ask her the same question.

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