That’s what I always tell people—“Mardi, Like Mardi Gras”—when they ask what our dog’s name is. I just don’t want them thinking it’s “Marty”…even though it’s really pronounced the same. Plus, they just gotta know the whole story, about how we rescued him from Katrina (it wasn’t just people who evacuated to Texas). Mom and Dad were coming up with the most awful New Orleans-themed names…Gumbo, Jambalaya, Moon Pie. And then of course there’s Mom telling my racist grandfather that she’d adopted a black baby from Louisiana. Priceless.
Anyway, it’s strange how an animal can be such an integral part of your family. I never had any brothers or sisters growing up, so our pets were always siblings of sort. I was super close to Mardi, but I guess I only just realized that, after he passed away last night.
He was acting a little sick all day, and when my parents took him to the vet, they said a mass on his spleen had ruptured and there was nothing they could do—they had to put him down.
I got the news while I was on my way home and just…lost it. My parents are even more upset—they’re the ones at home with him every day, spoiling him rotten.
This one particular memory keeps floating back in pieces today—of Mardi comforting me a few years ago. I was sobbing, so much so that I had sunken onto the floor beside my bed. My dad had just told me that he was really sick—prostate cancer. He’s fine now, thank goodness, but at the time, all I could think of was the worst possible ending. Mardi kept nudging me with his wet nose, whimpering a little, licking a few tears. He sat next to me and I hugged his furry neck and I felt, momentarily, better.
Some people think it’s insane to grieve for a pet just as we grieve for lost grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends…but mourning after the loss of love does not come with a rulebook. Love is love.
And Mardi, you were definitely loved, little brother.