Goodbye Malayka

I never thought that I would ever write a piece like this; perhaps this comes with age, or maybe my heart has softened. Whatever it is, my heart is aching in a way that I never thought would be possible. When I was in my very early 20’s, I lost both of my parents; the pain of losing them, the grief is still there. Throughout the last several years, I lost many family members and friends.  

I have seen suffering, pain, and despair, which was extremely difficult to deal with. Each loss has been traumatic and painful, but none of them had felt like the loss of my dear Malayka.Β 

You see, Malayka is not just a dog; she was a dog who helped me to go through the times of aches when no one else was there. She was my companion, my friend; she was my family. We named her Malayka as that combined two distinct and very meaningful words for us. In Kiswahili, Malaika means angel and in Russian, Malytka, means little one.

This little bundle of happiness came to me as a birthday gift when she was only 20 weeks old. She came a few days before my birthday, on Halloween. I remember that evening, as I vociferated at my husband for “dragging his feet” as we were getting ready to take our son to “trick-or-treat” in the neighborhood, I saw him carrying a fluffy white bundle. I thought that he had purchased yet another soft toy-animal for our son. As he came to the dining area, he put this little white fluffiness on the floor; I saw this little white angel with a bit of black nose on a fluffy snout and big black eyes. My heart melted that very instance. As I approached her, she peed on my new floor as though she claimed that that was at her home. 

Malayka was a miniature poodle; white, fluffy, soft as cotton. She was adorable. She was quickly trainable, learned how to tap a door when she needed to go out or was ready to come inside. She learned to ring a bell chime hanging on the doorknob. She quickly learned to recognize the mood in the house, especially mine. She knew when I was sad, upset, disappointed, in pain, or happy. She would adjust her behavior based on mine. She knew when I needed her. When I struggled with torturing migraines, she sensed it; she would lay down next to me, next to my head, as if she knew where it hurts. She knew all my secrets, and as a good friend, she never shared those with anyone. I don’t know if there is a way to describe the companionship, loyalty, and unconditional love I have received from this little fluffy dog. She was that friend who read a message without words. 

  I was blessed to be unconditionally loved by Malayka for 14 years and 9 months. Losing her yesterday left me feeling like a piece of my heart was chipped away and was dissolved somewhere to never come back. 

I grew up in a village where we had all kinds of animals, including dogs and cats. I have never felt this much pain of losing a pet as I do now. 

Thinking for a moment that she will not be with me to take me for walks, will not be there to sniff all the plants along the walkway path, will not be here to jump around in the field of seasoned dandelions, bring extreme sadness and feeling of emptiness. 

Malayka was a mass of energy, of unending vibe in my house; she was vivacious and happy to the last days. She greeted everyone, whether it was a guest in our home or a stranger passing by, with cheerful barks and dancing around in circles celebrating everyone. Wagging her little tail, sniffing people’s shoes, and licking their feet. She welcomed everyone to our home regardless of their age. Malayka was a blessing in my life that I could never think was possible. Someone so close and dear. Losing her is hard to fathom, even though I knew it was happening. 

This has been very difficult for our kids too. Our older son was only eight years old when Malayka joined our family. Seeing him sobbing and unable to say a word is something I have never seen before. Malayka has been a big part of his childhood memories. She was the first sibling he had, and he calls her his mischievous little sister.  Malayka helped us with raising our two younger kids as well. I remember how she was mesmerized by them when they were little sleeping in a crib, how she guarded them and rushed to me whenever there was a slight movement in the crib, as though telling me to be aware. She played with them and entertained them even when they pulled her ears and tail. She remained so gentle. We spend time preparing our kids that the inevitable would happen, that Malayka was aging and would eventually leave us. I thought I was ready. I felt that I faced enough loss and grief to be strong. But not with Malayka. She pierced that core of experience and made my heart as soft as her fluffy ears; she kissed and licked her way into the center of my heart and created a place for herself. 

About four weeks before she died, she developed seizures. It was agonizing to see her go through that, but attacks reduced in intensity, and we hoped that we could manage and that she could overcome. Well, seizures were the slightest issue. Two weeks later, it was confirmed that she had congestive heart failure; within days, she rapidly declined, and it was evident to all that there are was no way for her to recover. We started her on Lasix, which helped to improve her breathing and reduced suffering, but it was temporary. She refused to eat, drink and became lethargic. When she was alert, she was staring at me as she was begging for me to let her go. I saw the pain and agony in her eyes as well as her love for me till the end.

Malayka peacefully died on 3/5/21, at 4:55 pm. There are no words for me to express how I feel. There is a mixture of emotions; I am angry at myself that perhaps I could have noticed her heart failure earlier, that maybe I didn’t give her enough of her favorite yogurt or peanut butter, that perhaps, I refused to walk with her when she asked me to, or I didn’t hug her enough to show her how much she meant to me. I am angry that pets have to suffer human diseases even though they are so vulnerable. The felt sorrow and emptiness in my heart remind me of the pain of losing my beloved parents. I never thought that a little fluffy dog could bring so much joy, happiness, and love into my life. I never thought that a dog could mean so much and be so much.

As we celebrate your 14 years and 9 months with us, our walks will not be the same, our morning coffee will never taste the same, and our family dinners will feel emptier. But, every time we gaze in the heavenly skies and enjoy the constellation of stars, we will remember the smiles you brought and the many times we squeezed your tiny furry body. Thank you for all the happiness you bequeathed us; you will forever be Malayka Kerestesh Muchungu. 

64 comments

  1. Ugh, this hit home for me big time. Our dog Tyson passed away on 11/26/20. It was so hard on us as a family because he was always there for us. The range of emotions we felt are similar to what you were describing the “what if I noticed it sooner?” etc.. We went through the same thing. The impacts these animals have on our lives is undoubtedly huge. You said it well, they are companions, so loyal. Tyson’s twin brother Max is still alive and I noticed a change in his behavior after Tyson passed. He’s moping around more and we’ve been keeping him active because there is no doubt in my mind he is grieving as well. This post took a lot of courage just knowing your were fighting back tears and other emotions. Thank you for sharing this. Well done. πŸ‘β€οΈ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Travis, thank you for your kind and supportive words. We have another dog Zelda (Sheppard), she has been following me more than usual.. She stayed with me the whole morning, although typically, she sits on a couch staring outside the window. I wonder if she, too, is searching for comfort.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome! Oh, wow! That is exactly what Max is doing with us now. He follows us constantly. He always has his ball with him too, like he is seeking comfort and attention. I think that is exactly what she is doing. Stay strong! πŸ˜ŠπŸ™

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Our pets become part of our lives, and we learn to love them dearly, unfortunately most live a short life, but they will live in our memory, in the meantime, just go and get a puppy, it will help you to bear your pain in losing Malayka.πŸ’–

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Im very sorry that you have lost Malayka.

    Dogs become family members and they even take on some of our personality.

    They know when we are happy and said and adjust accordingly.

    For the owner in particular their is no one the dog loves more and knowing that makes it difficult.

    Try and focus on the happy memories with the Malayka and they will help carry you through to sunnier days. πŸ₯²πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I am so sorry for your loss. We too have lost our furbabies over the years. Each so special to us. What a beautiful tribute you have written for her. May she rest in peace with the knowledge of the love and joy she experienced being a part of your precious family ❀

    Liked by 3 people

  5. So beautiful. I experienced similar this week with the loss of a friend and feel a confusing mix of nostalgia, calm, unrest, loneliness, and thankfulness for knowing I was loved and still am, from beyond. I pray for you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post. I understand that feeling as I lost my friend Sandy last year who had to get an amputation just months before due to a leg break. It was like no other feeling as they literally are our best friends taking such a huge chunk of our hearts and we dread to see them suffer and then have to part ways. Just remember she passed knowing she was loved abundantly and she love you abundantly. Now she will live forever through you. Time will heal you as it did for me. In the meantime I hope you find peace in the beautiful memories and places you had together. Maybe lighting candles and having time to reflect, cry, laugh. Loads of love to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sometimes you might think that dogs are better people. Unfortunately, their lifespan is limited. But in the time given to them, they are all yours. We should be grateful for such wonderful companions …

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  8. Anybody who has had a pet dog can understand this. As sources of unconditional love, they transform the human heart. They teach us to be the best version of ourselves. And their departure is always a challenge to reconcile with

    God bless ❀️

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  9. Thank you for sharing!!… Malayka occupies a special place in your heart and she will be with you wherever you go… πŸ™‚

    Do not stand at my grave and weep
    I am not there, I do not sleep
    I am a thousand winds that blow
    I am the diamonds glints in the snow
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain
    I am the gentle autumn rain
    When you awaking in the morning hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight
    I am the soft star that shines at night
    Do not stand by my grave and cry
    I am not there, I did not die
    (Mary Frye)

    Until we meet again..

    May your troubles be less
    Your blessings be more
    And nothing but happiness
    Come through your door
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Had me bawling my eyes out. I feel your pain and know exactly how you feel. God bless you for giving her the best life ever. πŸ’”

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  11. Sincerest of condolences. It is terribly difficult to lose our dearly loved pets (and people sometimes). I empathize with your pain. While I appreciate my doggie, I still get stuck in a loop of the future and feel the pangs of her loss. Thank you for sharing your story with Malayka. Peace be unto you and your family. And very good authorship. I will follow based on the quality I read here!

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  12. I am so sorry for your loss. This post brought tears to my eyes. Your Malayka looks so much like my two dogs, Bobby and Bentley, who lived about as long as Malayka did. I lost them 5 years ago so I understand your sorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Beautiful post. We’ve lost a couple of little canine family members over the years. I view dogs as people, just a different size and shape. They speak very clearly with body language, so we can’t say they don’t speak. We now have a 9 year old pug/terrier mix. He’s so funny. I liken him to a human 2 or 3 year-old. Just as smart and just as mischievous. Sorry for your loss, but I’m glad you have so many beautiful memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thank you for sharing the life of your precious “little angel” with us on your blog. I am so sorry for your loss…I know what it’s like to lose a fur baby – I remember when I put my 9-year-old Golden retriever down (Lola) after she was suffering from seizures every hour from a brain tumor. I think I was in bed for a week with depression? Our babies grab us by the heart and never let go. She gave you 14 amazing years! My thoughts go out to you and your family. Your friend – Dan (Country Pilgrim)

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    1. Hi, I am sorry to hear about your loss and share all the feelings with you. I would like to encourage you to write and share with us about your dog. That, too, helps with healing. I am glad that you found this piece comforting. Feel free to connect anytime.

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  15. There is no greater loss than to lose our best friend, whether they have fur or not they are the one who stood by us with unconditional love which we could never repay them for!!!!. So sorry for your loss Dear heart, May God comfort you through this great and overwhelming loss of your best friend. Blessings.
    Julia
    You will see your loved one again!
    https://precioussheepofrenown.com/2020/06/14/will-my-pet-be-in-the-kingdom-of-heaven/

    https://precioussheepofrenown.com/2016/07/07/animals-2/

    Liked by 1 person

  16. So very sorry to read your story. It’s one I know too well and my heart hurts for you. Maybe by now a little of the sting has gone, but it can take a very long time and clearly your little dog was extremely special to your whole family. I understand all the emotions you mention, anger, guilt…we look for something we could have done differently, something more we could have done. But you gave your beloved pet the happiest life she could have had and in this world, that is such a blessing. I know you know all of this too, but it doesn’t stop us beating ourselves up when these sad times arrive. I have no words of wisdom. I can only say that we must be grateful for the joy and try only to remember the happiness as to endlessly grieve does nothing to honour our lost pet. I think their energy is released back to a source and that eventually it finds its way to animate another creature. I am 73 so I have a long list of pets that have gone and I can still shed tears but I am an exceptionally hopeless case. Bless you for caring so much about your sweet little dog.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. What a wonderful and heartbreaking experience. What I could say has been said better by the other responders.
    I often think of a title of a book that went something like “I wish I were as wonderful as my dog thinks I am.” I strive for that now…
    I’m very happy you have s second dog. Maybe it’s time for a puppy.

    Liked by 1 person

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