Sometimes losing a pet is more painful than losing a human because in the case of the pet, you were not pretending to love it.

– AMY SEDARIS, AMERICAN ACTRESS, COMEDIAN, AND WRITER

I cried my heart out for my mongrel dog, Lucky, last Monday night. When I reached home after work, it was lying helpless in the car porch in front of the door. Only its eyes moved.

Lucky was diagnosed with tick fever a bit too late. I suspected something was wrong with it when it refused to eat. Then my niece from Johor, who was back for the Chinese New Year holiday, and I took her to the vet. I paid RM165 for the injections, antibiotics and vitamins.

At the vet, I noticed Lucky’s eyeballs were yellow — a sign of the tick fever. “Auntie, you see Lucky every day and is so close to it. Why didn’t you notice her eyeballs were yellow?”

What could I say? Indeed, I never noticed. I bathed her at least once a week and if I were very busy, once a fortnight. Tick fever? But I did not notice any ticks.

Anyway, on Monday night, my niece alerted me to Lucky’s condition as soon as I parked my car in the porch.

So over I went to my loyal, loving and smart female friend and patted its head. It tried to get up but couldn’t. That night, my heart broke into a thousand pieces. I had conveniently forgotten the pains of losing a pet. I lost my last dog, Buddy, years ago. That night, I experienced the excruciating pain of losing a dear friend again.

My niece, who was with me when I cried, also cried. She said to me in between my tears, “Next time, don’t name our dog Lucky. Dogs with that name don’t seem to be lucky anyway.”

Lucky must have been in terrible pain that night because it was moaning aloud. I told it to pass on peacefully and not worry about me or the rest of the family.

“You have been a good and obedient dog, Lucky. I am glad I got to know you,” I told it.

I know that when people are dying, we have to say nice words to them and ask them to pass on peacefully so that they will not linger on the death bed in pain.

I treated Lucky like a human being and spoke to it like a person. It understood English, Hokkien and Malay.

The dog, which originally belonged to a nephew, had been living with me for a few years before its death. Every night as I came home from work, it was there to greet me, wagging its tail vigorously and climbing all over me. Naughty, adventurous, smart and loving, it was a good house dog and always barked at strangers.

A month before it died, it insisted on coming into the house and sleeping beside me as I laid on the sofa in the living room. Perhaps it knew its time was up.

My nephew, Lucky’s original owner, also came in the wee hours of Tuesday after I informed him. He also spoke to the dog and patted it. He had passed the dog to me when he moved to a high rise building and the owner banned tenants from rearing dogs.

Lucky died early Tuesday morning. When I came back after breakfast, its body was already stiff. I asked my nephew to give it a decent burial. He did so. “That’s the least I can do for her,” he later WhatsApped me.

He later told me Lucky was 13 years old instead of 8 as I thought originally.

My nephew also confessed how he felt about Lucky’s death, “Thirteen years…kind of emotional moment for me too. She has been a loyal pet dog…through my ups and downs.”

With Lucky gone, I have only one male dog, Cookie, left, I don’t think I will rear any more new dogs. I find the loss of a pet dog too painful to bear.

Goodbye my friend!