The week of April 7, 2019, was probably one of the hardest weeks of my life.
At the age of 11, my dog Simba suddenly passed away from a sickness he developed a few days earlier.
My parents, not wanting my last memories of Simba to be of him in pain, didn't let me know what was going on until the end, so I was unable to see him in his last few days. Of course, this angered me at first. But in the long run, I understand the reasoning behind it. Nevertheless, I was heartbroken.
I had lost family members before—a few grandparents when I was younger, and my 97-year-old great-grandmother when I was home for winter break in January of this year. But for some reason, losing Simba hit harder. It was like losing a best friend.
Basically, every day when I got home from school growing up, I would come home with the expectation he would be sitting at the front door, or on the stairs going up toward the main floor of my house, ready for me to give him hugs, love, and affection. When I had a bad day at school or something like that, his happy-go-lucky attitude was a source of happiness that I could look forward to. When both of my siblings left for college, he was the friend I always had at home.
To me, losing Simba transcended losing a pet; it was like ending a tie to my childhood. I woke up every day, from third grade when we adopted him to when I left for college, knowing I’d see his face and that he would bring me joy. In a way, he supported me as I matured from a boy into becoming a man, providing a sense of consistency as I went through life’s changes. He was there every step of the way.
I’m aware that a lot of people have probably dealt with bigger losses in their lives than losing a pet. I couldn’t imagine losing a close family member or someone like that, but I think losing Simba, and especially not seeing him at the end, put a lot of things into perspective for me.