February 4th 2013 10:03 pm
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Seven years this March that I've been without you, you stubborn, thick headed terrible, wonderful dog.
I still remember you, little more than a puppy, chained to the underside of an SUV in the Colorado summer. And I got caught bringing you food and water. I still hear those words that made the next couple of summers the best I ever had:
"Happy birthday, you have a dog. Now get him out of here before I shoot him."
You were stubborn. You never listened. You destroyed some pretty interesting things. You ran away and would be gone for days and come home smelling like the worst part of a stockyard. Ha, and I'd have to give you a bath in the middle of the night before you could come in. And boy, did you hate baths. I don't think you could've fought me more if I was pouring battery acid over you!
But you were also gentle when you wanted to be. I remember when our first litter of guinea pig babies were born. They were so small, they squeezed out through the bars of the cage and fell to the floor. I came into my room and you were crouched behind the door, nose stuck in the corner. When I looked, you had all those babies rounded up and you kept them there. Some were even wet where you'd been licking them. I was sure you would've eaten some of them; they were so tiny and you were so big. But you didn't.
And I don't think I've ever been so proud in my life than that day the horses got out and we were trucked a mile away to go get them. We chased those horses home nonstop and I was even on foot! But I was so caught up in you being happy, running flat-out after those horses that I didn't even think to be tired. We funneled them right into the pen and closed that gate and I thought we were going to burst. We were so happy at a job well done.
A job well done.
I want to be that happy again. I want to be that carefree, when the worst that could happen was you got ahold of one of my shoes and I wasn't sure how I was going to explain it to mom.
I take that back. The nightmares were the worst. I woke you up once, and you went after me by accident. You were so scared, lashing out in fear, and it broke my heart to think about what could have been done to you to cause that. But I just held you still til you woke up and realized it was me. And you were so sorry, with your ears back, licking my hands. That was way worse than you snarling at me.
I never, ever claimed you were a great dog. You weren't even a good dog. You never listened to me, which I know now was a failing on my part. I wasn't strong enough to be your human. I wasn't knowledgeable enough, experienced enough, to deal with the aftermath of what you had been through before you came to me and ultimately I know that was what killed you.
There's irony for you. I saved you from the Colorado heat, but you still died. And I wasn't even there for you.
It seems that every time I lose something important, it's torn away without warning or closure. And you were no exception. I left that Spring Break expecting to come home to your happy face and instead I got an empty hole in my heart. You'd been put to sleep and no one had even called me. They didn't want to ruin my vacation, they said. Instead, they ruined something far worse.
I bet you were scared. I bet you were confused. I bet you were looking for me. And I was almost 800 miles away having a good time, not knowing that my smart goofy Patches was being put to death.
Seven years isn't enough time to dull the pain. I don't think 700 would be enough. Sometimes it's crippling. So every year I set aside a little bit of time when I can just fall apart and wallow in it. Usually it's around this time when I realize how long it's been. Seven years! How could it be seven years...?
But then I get up and fix my current dogs some dinner, or feed the cats or clean the fish tank. I've surrounded myself with life so maybe it won't hurt so much. They need me, and that keeps me going sometimes.
I miss you, buddy. I miss the summer without fences and 2 a.m. baths and even the chewed shoes, and jeans and stuffed animals. I miss teaching you to sit on your hind legs and put your paws on my arm and calling that 'Up'. I miss picking stickers out of your paws and you grabbing my wrist in your mouth to lead me to where you want to go.
I miss Patches.
August 30th 2011 9:20 pm
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How is it that almost 6 years after you left me, I still sometimes still hear a song popular at that time and miss you like it was yesterday?
You weren't even a good dog. You ran away at least once a week. I regularly went skiing down the street behind you on walks. You had nightmares. You once clawed up the carpet in my bedroom trying you get out - do you remember that? It was an awful green shag carpet and I hated it. Or all those times you came home smelling like cow poop and I had to give you a bath at 2 a.m. because mom wouldn't let you in the house otherwise? You hated baths and yet you still went out and did it, you silly dog.
And yet I'm sitting here and a stupid Kenny Chesney song comes on the radio and I'm in tears and missing you so much all over again. You were only 5 years old, much too young to go, buddy.
I have three new dogs, you know? Of course you do. Dingo reminds me so much of you - so thick headed and stubborn. Independent. When I realized that, I cried. I cry a lot when I think of you. They're sad tears but also happy tears because I know you can roll in cow pies all you want where you are and there's no nightmares. Yes, Dingo's like you, but I realized all the mistakes I made with you and made sure I didn't make them again. I learned from you, you taught me a lot of hard lessons, old buddy and now Yoopie, Dingo and Shiloh benefit from that.
Wow. It'll be 6 years in March that you've been gone. Where did the time go? You would've been a grumpy old man by now, just like we always said Frisbee was. Frisbee's gone now too - almost three years. Mom says that there was a tumor in his abdomen and they didn't catch it until it was too late. I don't blame him for you going away, though... you two always had your spats. No, it was purely a human's fault. If he hadn't touched you, you wouldn't've bit. I still haven't forgiven him.
I miss you. I miss you so much. Yoopie's pretty good at distracting me when I get too upset though. You should see him! He's so smart - maybe smarter than you and I have such big dreams for him. I had them for you too, but I think we both knew they weren't meant to be.
Well, old friend, I hope that you enjoy watching over us. Maybe you can say hi to Frisbee for us. And Zeus, Duchess, Max, and Princess. And I'm sure Hawkeye is over there somewhere, young again. And one day we'll meet up again, although not soon.
But until then, I'll miss you and I'll remember each and every bad habit and destroyed item with a laugh because in the end, it was worth it.