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Goodbye to my Heart Dog, Cairo

Updated: May 7, 2022

Cairo was my favorite dog and I didn't even know it until the last few years of his life. I was always so caught up with Georgia because she demanded all of my attention, but Cairo was the good son. He was loyal, loving, and completely devoted to me. I was his person. When Georgia lost mobility and couldn't travel with us anymore, Cairo and I became much closer. He was my little dude and was with me through everything.

Tony and I decided to get Cairo because Tony always wanted a border collie and we noticed Georgia was lonely when we were at work. So I went to pick a border collie puppy out of a litter on a farm about two hours from my house in 2007. He was the only puppy who tried to wander off from the litter and I knew he was the one I wanted. He was a very pensive puppy and learned all the commands early, mostly because Georgia helped train him. He was a year younger than her.

We went on many adventures and he was always the quiet, behaved dog. He never acted like a dickhead (Georgia did). He would seek me out for reassurance if kids or other dogs were around him. He needed to know it was okay for them to approach him because he wasn't quite sure. He thought toddlers and most other dogs were idiots.

He died on March 20, 2022 very suddenly and I wasn't quite ready for it. He was two weeks shy of his 15th birthday and I knew he wouldn't live forever but it happened unexpectedly and I didn't get to send him off the way I had hoped. At least it was quick. Once he was gone, the little family I created with my husband no longer existed. They were all gone. I remember telling my friends after Tony died that when my dogs went, it would be like losing Tony all over again. I was right. It was one of the hardest heartbreaks I've experienced and I couldn't get out of bed for two days.

My house felt completely empty even though I had an elderly dog I adopted last summer to keep Cairo company (Sadie). She was sad too. She wouldn't go near the man cave where Cairo spent most of his days (the side of my bed next to the wall). We both moped around the house for days while I cried and lamented over my loneliness. I knew the only way out was through so I gave myself space to sit with my feelings and let them all wash over me.

Then a few weeks later, everything changed. The life that I had since I met Tony at 12 years old was gone, the chapter was finished... and I was free to create a new one. Hell, I could write a whole new book! I didn't realize that as long as Cairo was still here, I was tied to my little family. I was still grieving my husband and the life I didn't get to have because he died too soon. But once Cairo was gone, I felt different... like I could really move forward. And while I feel this new life coming to me with nothing but possibilities, I also feel Tony, Georgia, and Cairo in my heart every step of the way. The memories are so incredible and I am grateful to have them with me for the rest of my life.

But I digress, this post is supposed to be about Cairo, my sweet boy who made me his entire world. The one who I didn't think I could live without because he was my rock. He made me a better human.

Things I'll Always Remember

  • Cairo used to howl when I would feed him and it sounded kinda like he was saying “food.” I'm so happy I caught it on camera recently.

  • He also howled at sirens his whole life until he went deaf about a year and a half ago.

  • Wind terrified him if he was in the house but he was fine if he was outside.

  • He once tried to throw himself out a garden-level window for no apparent reason.

  • He spent most of his life herding Georgia. When she retrieved balls from the water, he swam circles around her to keep her contained. When she would fetch on land, he would run with her, pull her by her collar up to me and nip her heels to make her sit and drop the ball.

  • He was the fun police and other young dogs couldn't abandon the rules on his watch or he would growl and bark at them to make them comply. We called him "The Sheriff."

  • He would sit on the shore of a river or lake for hours and just stare out at the beauty. He was so Zen. This also meant I could take him fishing and he wouldn't disrupt the water.

  • When he was little, he would lay on the pillow next to me at bedtime and put his paw on my forehead. He did that for many years.

  • He had the most beautiful eyes I'd ever seen and you could see so much wisdom behind them.

  • He was fancy. When he got groomed and smelled like fruit, he would prance through the house and piss Georgia off with his prettiness.

There are too many wonderful, special things to write about this boy. The people who know me well also know how special he was and they all reached out to send their love - Thank you. He was incredibly smart, fun, and loving. He was all mine and I will carry him in my heart until I get to meet him again.

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