goodbye, my friend.
March 4, 2010, 4:06 pm
Filed under: Stuff | Tags: , , ,

i don’t do well with grief. i never have. i’m like my father in the sense that when i am talking about something emotional in front of a group of people, i can’t control myself. but when i’m in private, or with a close friend, i have trouble letting my true emotions show. it’s almost as if i want to force it out, but it’s stuck. which isn’t a good combination because that means in order for me to grieve, i have to do so in front of mass amounts of people. there is something about facing others which makes reality hit harder than it would otherwise.

i also don’t do well with reality. i often like to live as if i’m in a movie. i want every word i speak to be perfectly scripted. every sentence to be well written as if it will be marked down in a book someday. every thought that comes through my head to be worthy of a great screenplay. so i live in a fantasy world, pretending that people actually care what i have to say when it’s meaningless and monotonous everyday routines. as if somehow the thoughts in my head as i brush my teeth somehow matter.

hudson quit eating on saturday. he just laid on the floor, with little energy. we took him to the vet, and they could feel something hard inside his intestines. we were sure he had just swallowed something. so we took him home, and waited for it to pass. we took him for walks and runs to help move things along. when it didn’t, we went back to find that the hard mass they had found hadn’t moved at all. surgery was the only option, and they couldn’t tell us whether it was a toy that was stuck or something worse. they couldn’t tell us. there was no way to know. so we had to send him off to surgery unsure of whether we would ever see him again. they prepared us. they said it could be cancer, that it could be a tumor. they told us to say goodbye, just in case. because once he was in surgery, if it was that serious, there was little sense in waking him up and putting him through more pain. but i didn’t believe it could be that serious. he had only been sick for 3 days. he’s not even 5 years old. it couldn’t be cancer. so we said goodbye as if it would be our last. and even though i didn’t believe it would be the last time we saw him, it hit home that it just might be the last time we would pet him. hold him. hug him. kiss his head. and so melissa and i said goodbye the best way we could. with tears and hugs, we sent hudson to surgery. when the phone call came 2 hours later, i was in shock. and i have been since then. it was cancer. it had spread through his intestines and into his lymph nodes, and was taking hold of his body. i can’t believe my friend is gone.

i don’t do well with grief. i don’t do well with reality. so when my good friend, hudson, slipped away from us a couple days ago, i sunk. i’ve hit the metaphorical bottom of the hole i’ve dug myself into. because it’s hard right now to imagine feeling lower than this. it’s hard to deal with grief and reality all at once when i’m so used to running away from both. people might say he’s just a dog. and if you say that to my face, i will quite literally punch you in the mouth. but he’s more than that. he’s my friend. my protector. my confidant. i could talk to hudson about anything. yes, that’s crazy. no, i don’t care. but i would often find myself in a struggle for wisdom, and hudson would be by my side offering friendship the way no one else could. and seeing his tail wag at the mere mention of his name, the joy of a pet along his back or a scratch behind his ear, the peace in his breathing as he slept beside us and cuddled on our laps…he was one friend who could always make me feel better. without words, without a solution or answer, and without putting himself first…he was there to hear me. it’s hard to write about your dead dog. because when i think of people doing that, it usually comes across as a cheesy chicken soup for the soul type story. i hate chicken soup for the soul. and anyone who doesn’t have a dog or connect to dogs can’t understand that he was a part of our family. i grieve as if he is a family member. i don’t have words to say right now that can properly honor him. and part of me wants to deal with grief and reality by telling you all the story of hudson, as i’m doing now. and another part of me wants to deal with grief and reality by never talking about him again. because grief and reality have met, and i don’t really know what to say or do anymore. i will cope. and i will move forward with my beautiful family by my side. but a piece of me has died this week. and it feels good to talk about my friend, hudson.

from jay jay to hudson
May 21, 2009, 9:06 pm
Filed under: Stuff | Tags: , , , , ,

i’ve always loved dogs. ever since i was a little kid, no one could convince me that there was a better pet. anyone who says cats are better can try playing fetch with a cat, and tell me what happens. if you get any other response than a lick of their paws and a stretch, i’d be surprised. don’t get me wrong. i love cats too. but there is nothing like a dog. 

our first dog was jay jay. i still remember the day he was dropped off at our huge rented house out on lakeshore dr. by one of dad’s friends. a beautiful, playful black lab with all the energy in the world. i loved that dog, but nobody loved him as much as my dad. my favorite memory was the time i got him calm enough to fall asleep draped over my lap. i was only 5 years old, and i remember sitting right in front of the entrance to our house on a beautiful summer day. it was almost supper time, and jay jay came and sat down beside me, stretched out his big old hiney and plopped down on top of my legs. i must have sat there for hours. someone came to get me for supper, but i refused because i was relishing the moment. this dog loved me. he wanted to be nowhere else except for right on my lap. later, someone tried to get out the front door, but i wouldn’t let them, because it would mean i had to move, and then jay jay would move. i wanted that moment to last forever. finally, dad made me go to bed. 

one day, we  came home from church and there was something wrong with jay jay. he was standing at the tree line, foaming at the mouth and his back legs wouldn’t work. he didn’t look so much angry as he did confused and scared. dad told mom to take us into the house and not let us out. i didn’t know what was wrong, but i knew that wasn’t the same dog. something had changed. there was no love in his eyes. only fear. i don’t remember what exactly happened next. only that dad came home a few hours later not the same man as he was before. mom says that he was pale as a ghost, and could barely talk. jay jay didn’t come back, and while we didn’t get any specifics at that time, we knew jay jay was gone. there was nothing dad could do. i don’t know how it feels to lose your best friend. but i remember the confusion i felt that day. the feeling of loss. the lesson that life was hard and things didn’t always go your way. later when we were much older, dad told us he had to put him down. he had to shoot jay jay. there would be no recovery for him, and so all dad could do was put him out of his misery. what shook dad up more than anything was the way jay jay looked into his eyes as he pulled the trigger. i can’t imagine what that would feel like. and we couldn’t get a dog after that. i know deep down it was because dad couldn’t handle going through that again. and who can blame him?DSC01631

when i got married, i was so excited to get our first dog. if i had known what i know now about dogs, i would have gone to the humane society and picked out a dog from there. but i didn’t, and so i got suckered by PETLAND. and i’m so glad i did. i first saw hudson about 4.5 years ago. i was about to go on vacation for a few weeks, but i had this habit of seeing what new dogs they had gotten in. usually i would ‘oooh’ and ‘aaah’ over all the dogs, but none would inspire me to stupidity the way hudson did. he was the last of his group. a monstrous beast of a boxer. they didn’t say why no one had taken him yet, only that he was the biggest dog out of the litter. usually people want cute little puppies, but hudson had towered over his brothers and sisters. and once you get big, it’s harder to get that cute innocent puppy look you once had. but i saw him and fell in love. i played with him for about half an hour. he was crazy! he jumped all over me, nipped at my fingers, peed on my shoes, but i thought he was the coolest thing i had ever seen. i got melissa and she came to take a look. she wasn’t quite as sold as i was, but she had a soft spot growing inside of her as well. we went home and started looking into how much apartments would cost that allowed dogs.  we discovered if we were to move to a new place, we would pay $300+ more than we already were. and so the door was closed. we went on vacation, and while i’d like to make the story perfect by saying i never gave up, i had. we were in BC for two weeks and had a blast, with all thoughts of buying a dog out of our heads. 

when we came back, we didn’t immediately go back to PETLAND. part of me was afraid that if he was still there, that insatiable yearning would overtake me, and i would do something crazy. but part of me was afraid that he was all alone, without a brother or sister to cuddle him. hey, just cause i have a skull tattoo doesn’t mean i’m not sensitive, ok? sure enough, three weeks after our initial meeting, we went back to find hudson still there. the series of events that followed were insane. we decided to look into a mortgage. for a dog. well, that’s only half true. we were having our first child 5 months from then, and wanted a house anyway. but the truth is, if we hadn’t found hudson and fallen for him the way we did, we may not have ever left that apartment. after being approved for a mortgage, we bought hudson. which was ridiculous. our apartment didn’t allow dogs. we hadn’t even started looking for a house yet. but we bought him because we couldn’t risk losing him. we snuck him into our apartment and tried our best to keep him quiet. we had the infamous “#4” living beneath us, and he would bang on the roof if we went to the bathroom in the middle of the night. so we knew we had to be careful before we got in trouble.we hadn’t named him yet. i wanted to call him “assistant manager” as he was to be my second in command in the household. (just kidding, sweetheart. i know you rule the household), but we finally settled on hudson. he was a little poop machine that wouldn’t quit. i skipped about a week of work, while melissa skipped some of hers so we could look after him during the day. all the while we searched for houses. our only requirement for finding a house was immediate possession. we found a dump, which has since turned into a livable home, and moved in within two weeks of buying hudson. 

we bought a house for our dog. and i can’t say that i have been happy ever since with him in my life. 5 months later, we went to the hospital with our first child on the way. we couldn’t afford to buy a kennel for hudson, and so we left him out. we came home the next day to find our couches ripped apart, with fluff covering our entire living room. i can’t say that love conquered all in that instance. the middle of the night whining and scratching of the door to go outside drives me crazy. at least that’s better than the 1 year period where he just wouldn’t wait until we let him outside. on new years eve that first year in our new house with a new baby and a new dog, we ordered pizza. hudson jumped on the table and ate it all while we were in the other room. he is constantly driving me crazy. he always gets in the way when your in a hurry. he always steps on your foot with his 80 pound frame. he farts every time he walks up the stairs. he freaks out whenever he sees a squirrel/bird/mailman out the window. he tracks mud in the house every time it rains. he crowds our vehicle beyond measure on road trips. he can never be close enough to you, so he is always trying to stand on top of you, and he inevitably hurts you with his massive frame.

but he is the most loyal dog i have ever met. no matter how much i ignore him, he always greets me at the door. when i smack him for doing something he shouldn’t, he comes slinking over to me and licks the hand that beat him, desperate for my love. he is better than any alarm system. he will eat you alive if you break into my house. but the second you walk in and he knows that we accept you, he becomes your best friend too, whether you like it or not. he is so gentle with my two daughters. they constantly pull at his ears, play with his jowls, try to ride him like a horse, and he always wags his tail and licks them with love. he sleeps at the end of our bed. if he had his way, he would sleep on top of me because he loves us that much. and even though he crowds us in the car, when we leave him at home, we miss him terribly and can’t wait to get back and see him. and while he drives me to the edge of insanity sometimes, i wouldn’t trade him for the world.

because i thought the other day about how i’d feel if i had to do to hudson what my dad had to do to jay jay. a piece of me would die. i will lose some of myself if (and when) hudson ever leaves. hudson is our family. and i haven’t treated him as good as he deserves. because there is not a better dog out there. lots of you will disagree, and think your dog is better. but you are all liars. no disrespect, you filthy liar. hudson is the greatest that has ever been. he’s the greatest there is. and he’s the greatest there ever will be. i love you, hudson. happy 4th birthday you old beast. Hudson in his sunday attire