I miss her even more every morning when I go downstairs for the first time. In the corner, there is a certain kind of nothing that used to be her pillow bed until two weeks ago.

That hollowness is the same as the sound in my chest. The dog is still dead and will always be dead, so every morning brings a new pain.

My wife says that’s what she thought when she woke up for the first week: Moxy is dead. There is no more moxy. She felt worse after it stopped. It wasn’t news anymore; it just was. She felt bad that we might get used to not having Moxy around, that it might become normal to not have her around.

You feel bad because you forgot something.

When a dog dies, people feel very guilty. A lot of awkwardness. For every hot, sharp pain of loss, there is a shameful feeling of giving in to oneself. There are many real disasters. Family groups are lost. “Just a dog” she was.

When a pet dies, there are no set rules for how long someone should be sad. There is no official leave, and most people don’t realise that it’s pretty much impossible to act like a person for a certain amount of time, like days or weeks.

A lot of people find it offensive when you’re sad in private. They might be afraid of catching something or angry that you’re taking away their fun (“Aren’t you over that yet?”). This seems especially harsh when your sadness is caused by “just” a pet.

Some people were in a hurry to go on with their lives in the days after Moxy died. “Oh, is that all?” asked a family friend when my wife told them she was sad.

Having said that, I’m moved by how many people have understood this time that a dog is part of the family. It’s not “just a dog” for anyone. That kindness has been a balm. It has helped me feel like I can deal with my sadness instead of ignoring it.

My wife and I fell in love with Moxy as our first pet together. She was a small Boston terrier, and she was mean, playful, and loving.

We lived up to every stereotype of a devoted dog parent when we bought her before we had kids. Yes, Moxy wore “doggles” (yes, dog-goggle sunglasses) to protect her big eyes while riding around in a basket on the back of our bikes. She didn’t like the dog cage we bought her. We looked at pictures of her all month while we were on vacation in San Francisco and left her at a fancy dog lodge

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