Our house is strangely quiet. The toys are still chattering, the kids are still rambunctious, but the house is missing the sounds made by its smallest resident. Her growls at the birds, her barks at the doorbell, the clicks of her paws as she followed me down the hallway – parts of the soundtrack of our daily life – are missing. Who knew a little dog could be so loud?

James is fine. He’s too little to understand, although he gave her a pet and a kiss before we left. He occasionally calls out for her, “Rig-a-by, where are you?” but he doesn’t actually appear to be looking.

Annabel is hanging in there. She has a lot of questions. A lot. We’ve been honest with her from the start, and we answered every inquiry as best we could. It’s hardest for her at night, when Rigby used to curl up with her as she fell asleep.

Mike and I are devastated. Mike is comforted by looking at photos and videos of Rigby, and the knowledge that we fought hard for her. We talk about the little things we don’t want to forget, like how she used to attack socks, or the way she’d stretch out her body after a nap.

I feel emotionally shattered. Rigby was my constant for eleven years. My little puppy with her heart-shaped nose was there for me through some terrible things. I sobbed into her fur and whispered my secrets into her floppy ears. She was the one who always greeted me at the door, always sat on my lap, always laid with me when I was sick. I don’t know how to grieve her, without her. I have her little sweater, her favorite toy, her collar. I have the memories of her stinky breath and morning kisses.

But I just want her.

her collar