(Due to some tragic events in my life (detailed below), I decided to skip a week with my "Weekly Top 5" series, but I'll be back with a new list next week.)
I've always dealt with grief by writing, whether as a way to take my mind off of the situation or to express my feelings about what's going on. This past week has been a complete roller coaster for me. Last Thursday, I welcomed my new baby niece to the world. This isn't my first rodeo in the uncle game, but this is the first child from my side of the family, so it's a little different. My parents were so excited to be grandparents, and it was truly a day for the Thomas family to celebrate. However, my dad informed me that my dog wasn't doing very well, he's been sick for a while now and things had gotten worse than I had thought. My dog has always been very high energy, and when I went to go see him, it was obvious that he just wasn't the same boy that I'd had for the last nine years.
Then, the next day, I took a mini road trip to Cleveland to be a groomsman in my buddy's wedding. It was an absolute blast, but come Monday, reality checked back in. My brother called me and told me I should probably make the hour long trip back to my parent's house because our dog was struggling to breathe and was fighting for his life. I arrived, and spent a few hours there with him. He could no longer stand under his own power, and he hadn't eaten and drank anything for several days. I knew his time was coming up. I prayed and just said "God, I know You're calling him home, just please make him comfortable until that happens." It was obvious he was in pain, but I didn't want to take him to a vet to put him to sleep. He was always scared of the vet's office, and I didn't want his last moments to be frightening. As a family, we agreed that we would wait until the next day, and if he didn't pass naturally, we would take him. People say it's the humane thing to do, but it was still hard for me. Luckily, I didn't have to deal with that. Early Tuesday afternoon, my boy Muldoon was called home.
I got him when he was a puppy with my own money, so I considered him to be my dog for several years until I moved out of my parents home and couldn't bring him with me, at which point he morphed into the family dog. I knew that I wanted to write something about him, but how do I tie this in with videogames? It didn't take long before I realized that he had been there through a lot of my favorite gaming moments.
I remember several nights playing Resident Evil 4 with him sleeping in my lap as a puppy. He always seemed really confused when something would startle me and I would jump, waking him up in the process, at which point I would have to calm him down to get him back to sleep. I hit a rough patch in my finances and wound up having to move back in with my parents back in 2010, where I stayed until I got married in 2012.
My brother and I had a mutual game room, where I would spend my time playing a plethora of titles while my brother played Call of Duty with his clan. Every night, we would be sitting there gaming, with Muldoon laying on the couch next to me. He was there with me during the thousands of waves of Locust that I killed in Gears of War 3. He was there as I mined for material in Mass Effect 2. He was there when I spent hours hundreds of hours exploring the vast world of Skyrim. Granted, he spent most of the time napping on the couch while I did all the hard work, but he was there with me through it all.
When I met the woman that would become my wife, we decided to replay Borderlands together. We had already played the game before we met, but when we realized that we both had the same affection for the series, we started new characters and played with each other every night. We really bonded a lot during those late night sessions on Pandora, and we both give some credit to the series for our marriage. And guess who was sitting next to me during every second. You guessed it, Muldoon.
Unfortunately, I've dealt with death a lot in my life. They say a dog is man's best friend, and I really understand it now. I truly lost my best friend. It's going to be a bummer when I walk into my parent's house and he's not there to greet me with excitement. It's going to be a long time before I feel capable of having another dog, and while I already miss him an incredible amount, I know he's at peace now, and I'll always be thankful for the happiness he brought to my family.
Goodbye, Dooner. I love you, buddy.
Thanks for reading.