There’s a sticky spot on my kitchen floor that grabs at my socks every time I walk over it. I think I spilled pineapple juice there last night, and though I tried to clean it up, it’s obvious I didn’t do a very good job. I haven’t had to clean up many spills like that for the past six years. Precious was always on the job.

I always had a fair amount of hair and dirt and mud tracked in from the back yard, though. Friday, when I came home sobbing and began gathering things and cleaning up, I swept a large pile of black hair with gratitude. It’s been five days, and my floors are still mostly clean. Except for the pineapple juice.

My house is also eerily quiet. No longer is there a sweet face to say good morning or good night to. The barks which always alerted me to someone in the driveway or someone at the door are replaced by silence, then surprise. There is no metal on metal from her tag and collar colliding as she shakes. No disgusting sounds of licking as she cleans herself, or sweet sounds of snoring as she sleeps next to me.

When I came home yesterday, my eyes went directly to the front window, where normally I would see a black nose poking out through the blinds. I put my knee out when I opened the door to the house to keep her from escaping, but she wasn’t there. My morning and evening routines which involved food and water and walks and bathroom trips outside for Precious are suddenly different. Even awkward. I make circles around the house not knowing what to do next, or even first.

My dad told me last night that he never thought I would be the type to get emotionally attached to a dog. Apparently as a child, my appreciation for dogs was more limited, more accurately described as, “Eewww, gross.” And I can’t exactly remember when fur, wet noses, and slopply licks became appealing to me.

But they did. And now, I see how a dog can come into a life with such innocence and trust, and just being herself could help me see myself in a whole new way. I am a dog person who is grieving the loss of a very special friend.

And part of that process will most likely lead me to another dog. Not because Precious didn’t mean much to me. But because she meant so very, very much that she has left me with something missing in my life.