Tango

By the time this publishes, we’ll be sitting beside Tango Jones and saying goodbye, all of our hearts entirely broken.

He’s been with Chloe since he was born, 15 years ago; he’s been there through everything in her life since then, which is a lot — she’s said that, without him, she might not even be around now, and I believe her considering everything that’s happened. I’ve called him the co-founder of the family, because before everything and everyone else, it was Chloe and Tango together. Everything followed from there.

Before he got sick, he was a lump, but a lump that was full of love and playfulness; he’s always been particularly food-focused, which might be one of the reasons why he took to me so quickly — I’d give him bits of my toast or my bagel or whatever every morning, and it soon became such a tradition that I started to think of it as our breakfast, as if it were an official thing. (Is there such a thing as an “official breakfast thing”? Not really, but I like to think that you know what I mean, nonetheless.) We’d literally break bread together, his face just staring up at me, halfway between begging and just being present and charming enough that no-one could even think of not feeding him.

Across the last couple of weeks, since we found out that we’d have to say goodbye, I’ve just been stuck thinking about all the daily traditions that won’t be there anymore when he’s gone: Taking him out first thing in the morning, and watching him stand impassively as he sniffs out the day before taking action; sharing breakfast; talking to him as if he could understand and using one of his many varied names (“Tango Jones” offers multiple variations by itself, before you add in the potential offered by “Boof,” named after the distinctive sound of his barks); scratching his head when he barks at night just to let him know we’re here.

The world is going to be a lonelier place without him in it. He was sick enough that it’s a mercy to let him go — part-blind and almost entirely deaf, he has arthritis, is senile, incontinent, and has a malignant tumor on his spleen that also makes it difficult for him to breathe — but, still. He’s my friend and I’m going to miss him so much.

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