I have written about my depression on more than one occasion, most recently in The Illnesses You Can't See.
I think it was because Faulkner was so sensitive, and because he was the one who discovered that Thoreau had died.
Reau, as we liked to call him, didn't seem like himself one night when it was time to go to bed. He acted as if he didn't know how to come in the house at bedtime. I suspected he was preparing to die, but decided not to take him to the emergency clinic if it could be avoided. I wanted to let him die peacefully at home.
So I led him into the house and we all went upstairs to bed. At first Reau slept on the bed with me, but after a while, he got down to sleep on the floor. At 3 a.m., Faulkner sounded the alarm. He was always the one who awakened me if one of the other dogs needed to go out in the middle of the night or if someone got sick.
He would put his nose directly on mine, and if I didn't wake up, he would put his nose under my head and lift my head. That never failed to open my eyes.
But this night he barked and I knew why. I got up, and there was my beloved Thoreau, gone to Heaven.
I was at home alone with the dogs. I called a neighbor and she very kindly came over so we could place Thoreau on a blanket and move him to the garage. This was no easy task. He was a very solid dog.
In the morning, some of the men who worked with my ex-husband came over, and they buried Thoreau under the tree where he liked to nap in the shade.
I sobbed and sobbed when Reau died and cried on and off for days. But if I was unhappy, Faulkner was absolutely disconsolate. He became extremely depressed and would lie on the couch in the living room all by himself when the rest of us were in the family room. The poor dog barely moved.
It surprised me a little bit because he and Thoreau were not special buddies. They didn't run and play together. Reau wasn't one to play. He pointed at squirrels and chewed through boards on the fence so he could go to a farm pond to swim. Then he would come home -- wet, dirty, happy -- and Voldemort would replace another board in the fence.
Faulkner also held himself a little apart from the other dogs. He wasn't unkind to them. He knew he was there to take care of all lesser creatures, including us.
Maybe Faulkner was so upset because he and Reau had that apart from the gang thing in common, or perhaps, he recognized his own mortality that night.
For weeks after Reau's death, Faulkner was glued to the couch, not a tail wag in sight.
I took him to the vet, who said to give him extra petting and walks and attention, but it could take some time for him to come out of it. Eventually, he did. We lived happily together and in love until he joined Reau in Heaven.
But it's not just us who can get depressed. Our closest friends can too.
Infinities of love,