July 18th 2006 3:30 pm
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I met you in the fall of 2003; I'd recently returned to Atlanta after an 18 month hiatus. Ha, I had to laugh when I read back over that first sentence ... "an 18 month hiatus" ... that sort of sounds like a vacation, a spiritual sabbatical, a promising exploration of sorts. It was 18 months of pure torture as I battled a sixteen year addiction to crack cocaine. They finally released me, but they didn't release me because I was getting better. They released me because they gave up ... they just gave up.
When I first saw you, you seemed so frail and damaged. You were a ward of the hospital after being neglected and abused your entire life and then tossed aside like trash. The first time I touched you, I felt your pain; the first time I heard your story I recognized your pain ... because it was my own.
You tried so hard to cover your sadness and your fear with agression; yet, I was the only one you allowed to approach you unchallenged. It was as if you recognized me from the very start. Everyone begged me to take you, to give you a home.
I'd arrived in the city four months prior to meeting you, and I had finally found a job working in another animal hospital and scratched up enough money to move out of the shelter and into a weekly hotel ... one that had a strict NO PETS ALLOWED policy! The part about No Pets was easy to tell, but what was harder to tell was that from day to day I didn't know if I could take care of ME -- the last thing I needed was more responsibility.
I remember standing outside of your cage and telling you goodbye because I'd be off for the holidays. My boss was standing behind me and trying to talk me into taking you home again, and I was offering her the usual excuses. Then she told me something that changed my whole outlook; she said, "You told me all you needed was one person - just one person - to give you a chance, and I took that chance on you. Now it's your turn to give it back - pay it forward and give him a chance." Pay it forward ... how could I refuse.
We met at a point in our lives where neither of us had anything, but we shared what we had with each other and became a family. Oh Walter Henry, I wish you knew how much I counted on you (and still do). That first year and a half felt so hard. There were so many times I'd given everything I had and just felt like giving in, but when you looked at me with that gigantic grin I knew I'd go just one more day. You were my best friend, companion and confidant.
When I changed jobs and couldn't take you with me anymore you'd cry and cry till I came home. Everyone thought it was because you were afraid to be alone without me, but we knew it was because you were afraid for me to be alone out there without you. So many days I was ready to give up, just screw it. I was ill equipped to live in a world without cocaine and I wasn't putting myself through it anymore. Heck with my job, my family, all the people who believed in me -- so what, I'm an addict already, this is what we do we relapse and screw people over. Then my next thought would be "what will happen to Walter Henry -- he's so sensitive, who could ever take care of him like I do?", and then I'd come home. There you'd be, not judging, not mentioning that I was late or accusing -- just that gigantic grin and stubby tail beating a tattoo against the carpet "my momma's home -- my momma's home!!"
You never judged me, never condemned me, always forgave me and welcomed me home. I could tell you things I'd never shared with anyone before, and as I began to unburden myself the healing came. You were a playful clown that never failed to make me laugh -- when I cried you'd sit quietly in my lap hugging your legs around my neck with your face on my shoulder kissing my little tears as they fell down my face. You'd snuggle up against me at night and throw your little leg across my chest like you were hugging me.
The day my father passed away we were at my parent's house. It had gotten dark outside and I was sitting on the front deck and watching car after car of people pour into my mother's yard ... my brother's friends from high school, my siblings' spouses and children, women from my mother's church, college and work friends of my sisters and brother -- everyone kept walking past me into the house asking for someone else. About that time the thought hit me that my father had died and not only was I was utterly and completely alone, but no one cared or even asked me how I felt. It was then that you had come up and sat calmly beside me and just placed one little paw on my leg as if to say "Momma, I'm here -- you don't have to be alone ever again."
Often when people hear the story of your past and the abuse you suffered, they'll say " How lucky for that precious little fellow that you rescued him when you did." I can't help it, I have to smile -- because what I always think is "how lucky you are Jennifer that precious little fellow rescued you when he did .." You are my guardian angel and I love you ...
You have been my strength and my inspiration --- you caught me up and held me when I stumbled, you refused to allow me to fall. You curled up beside me with your little leg across my chest and let me love you until I could learn to love myself. You are my best friend, my hero and everything I wish I could be when I grow up ... faithful, honest and true. Walter Henry, you are my heart -- my one true, friend and this is my tail of devotion to YOU ...
This is a special Tail of Devotion
See All Tails of Devotion
January 29th 2006 2:47 am
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I used to get really sad when my momma would go to work because when she came home she'd be so tired and sometimes cranky and didn't always have time to play with us. I love my momma so much, she made my sad life really so happy and I just love her and love her and want to hug her and make her happy because she works two jobs so we can have all the little stuff a puppy ever wanted.
My momma likes to read poems and will read them to me and sister - Ernie is still too little to sit still - so I got sister to help me find a very special poem for my momma. We looked on the computer because sister really is very smart like that and we found the most perfect poem in the world -- look, here it is ........
I hear it! I hear the car! HER car! And she's coming this way!
Oh, oh, I must run in and grab a gift! I must greet her with a gift!
Oh, BONK missed the step. No matter, I must hurry. Move over, doggy door! She's coming, she's coming!
Gift, gift, where, what, oh, oh, oh, ah! A plastic bottle she drinks from, right here on top of the container they call trash! Oh, perfect.
She's coming, she's coming! Oh, oh, oh...
The door! I hear the door sound that sounds right before she comes in!
Oh, it's OPENING! SHE'S HOME!
Oh, oh,wiggle, wiggle, wiggle I cannot be still! You're home! And look, look, I have this nice bottle! Oh, oh, you're home! YOU'RE HOME!
I have missed you so much, you've been gone hours, weeks, days, years! And so much has happened! A dog ran by and I chewed a tree and Pluto slept under the house and it rained a little!
Oh, oh, oh! You're home, you're home!
And you're touching me! I can't stand it, it's so marvelous! Oh, and you're speaking! Murble, murble, good boy, murble, murble.
YES! Your happy voice. Oh, I'm about to burst! I'm so happy, happy, happy! Yes! I want to jump! I'm not supposed to jump, but oh, oh, just a little jump!
Darn. Oh, I cannot be still.
I'll roll over and wiggle on my back! Oh, yes! She's rubbing my tummy, my head, my sides! Oh, oh,oh.
Now what? Now where's she going? Oh, oh, yes! Back to the room where we sleep at night! Great! It has the big pad we sleep on and I can get up here close to her.
And here she comes!
Oh, oh, oh! I can stand on my legs and put my paws around her neck and uh oh. Can't lick with this bottle in my mouth. But it's my present to her! Oh, oh, what to do? And she's rubbing me! But I want to lick her, oh, oh, I think I'm about to burst!
Oh, darn. Drop the bottle. Oh, YES! She's coming back!
She took off the pieces she puts on her eyes, and I can stand and 'lick, lick' I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you -- lick, lick, lick -- you taste so good, salty, sweet, I love that stuff you smear on your face every day, I love to lick it off, oh, oh, and you're rubbing me again!
My back, my head, my ears, oh, oh lick, lick, lick.Murble, murble, Mickee, good boy, murble, murble. Off!
I will lay here and watch her. Watch her peel her fur it's not. It is very warm. I don't know because I don't think. How does she do that?
And I will get that look on my face that always makes her come and rub me. The look where I roll my eyes up, and keep my head flat here and she will come...and she's putting on her play skin! YES! We will play sometime. My tail cannot be still. I am SO happy, happy, happy.
Now she's going in the room with the wonderful water bowl! I LOVE that water bowl it's always cool, clean water! She'll be out in just a minute, just a minute, just a.....yes, she's coming! She's here again.
Oh, oh, oh....
Now back to the room with the box that has pictures and sounds. Ah, I know what happens now. Yep, she's laying down on the big pad there. Now she'll sleep. But that's okay.
And she smells tired. So I will lay beside her here and guard her and wait while she sleeps. And when she wakes up she won't smell so tired. And we'll play and play.
Sigh... I'll just rest with her now, and smell her while she sleeps.
And wait again. For, the next thing that happens, HE'LL be home.
And then, oh, oh, zzzzzzzzz........
-Written by Jana Mauney
Well, my momma loved it and I got hugged and hugged -- sister didn't even mind that momma hugged me the most because she knows I love our momma so much.
Guess what though, who knew that the little poem we found would be our very own secret weapon. Our momma printed it and put it on the wall, then she stopped working two jobs and only does one now, and she told me that no matter how tired she is, when she comes home and sees our little eyes she has to stop what she's doing and hug us all up. We have our momma home almost every day now..... happy dog, happy dog -- I am such a happy dog.