Tuesday, July 01, 2008

His Person

FYI: Tomorrow I will be blogging over at http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/ about writer's block and muses. All you writers, pop over and visit.

Crime Scene Christie


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Christine's Bowe's is the winner of the "Pamper Me Like A Bride Contest."

Sharon Berger and Michelle are the HM.

I will be getting those prizes out to you soon.

Crime Scene Christie
***

Can someone tell me who wrote: To love and lost is better than to have never loved at all? If you know, I’d appreciate your sharing the information because I need to kick his $%&! Seriously, he needs to have his writing license revoked.

Okay . . . I know that saying has a powerful message, and I know I’ve used it in the past to offer condolences to others. I’ve even used it as my premise in my books and in essays. Deep down, in some place inside me that I can’t reach right now, I even know it’s true. Problem is, I’m in the lost stage right now and I’m hurting like the dickens. Grief will do that to you.

Jake entered my life about six years ago. Funny thing was, I was dealing with grief at the time. Only six months earlier, I’d witness my eight-year-old Boston Terrier get run over by a car. I swore, never again. I even laid down the house rule. No more dogs. If you find a lost dog, don’t even bring it home unless it has a tag so you can contact the owners.

Then, while I was away doing travel articles in California and I get this call. “We got trouble,” my husband said.

My son had been followed home by a stray dog—a labish-cockerish looking big black dog with a gray muzzle. Not that my son had broken the “no-tag” rule. The dog had two tags. One for a Great Dane and another for a Lhasa Alpso. No way, was this dog either one.

“Find it a home,” I insisted to my husband. “Find it a home before I get home.”

A week later, I show up and there’s this big black dog waiting for me. “He’s old, mom,” my son insisted. “If we took him to the shelter, they’d kill him.”

I frowned.

“He’s smart, too,” my son said, trying to sweeten the deal. “I said sit and he sat.”

I looked at the dog. “He has no personality,” I accused. Bosco, the Boston Terrier, would have been bouncing off the walls, this dog just sat there. I stood up. The dog stood up. I said “sit” and did the hand motion for the command. He sat. I said “Speak” and he cocked his head at me and stared. I could tell he knew I wanted him to do something. Finally, he raised his paw. “No,” I said. “Speak.” He laid down. We laughed. “No. Speak.” He rolled over. He knew every trick in the book except speak.

“Can we keep him?” my son pleaded.

My heart was still hurting for Bosco. “We have to post signs and maybe the owners will come forward.” I sent out a prayer that this would be the case. But you know it didn’t happen. Someone had tossed this dog away, probably because it was getting old, and I was stuck with it.

The next day my son named him Jake. And Jake named me “his person.” I knew when it happened, too. He just walked up to me, looked right at me with his big puppy dog eyes, and laid his head on my lap. I so didn’t want to be “his person.” I actually tried to push him away.

“Love the boy,” I told him. “He brought you home.”

“Love the daddy. He’s the one who will feed you.”

But nope, Jake had made up his mind. Whether I liked it or not, he’d chosen me.

I’d heard about one-person dogs, but I’d never really met one, until Jake. He was friendly to everyone, but he’d bypass anyone to sit beside me. If I walked out of the room, Jake walked out of the room. If someone looked at me crossways, Jake got between them and me. I was this dog’s mission in life. I was his world. I was . . . “his person.”

Let me tell you, when someone loves you that much, you just can’t help but to start loving him back. Even when you didn’t want him. Even when you knew he was already an old dog. Even when you knew that he was going to break your heart.

We took him to the vet and the doctor put Jake at anywhere between 9 and 12 years of age. That was five years ago. And during those years, he became my best friend. When I was in the office writing, he was in the office. We were in the office a lot. Jake watched me write eight books. I brainstormed my plots with him. I tested my jokes out on him, which is probably why I kept trying to make them funnier. Jake didn’t know how to laugh, not more than he knew how to speak.

When I went outside, he went outside. When I took a potty break, Jake took a potty break. It got harder and harder for him to get around. But it didn’t stop him from limping after me wherever I went. The last few months, he couldn’t make the stairs and my bedroom is upstairs. So every night, my husband picked up the sixty-pound dog and gently brought him upstairs to sleep beside me on his cushioned bed. And because he was embarrassed about not being able to make the stairs, we would all clap when my husband put him down, and Jake would wag his tail as if he’d done a great thing.

He never had an accident indoors, but age snuck up on him. I swear the few first times it happened, he’d see the mess behind him and give one of our four cats the evil eye. When accidents continued to happen, I started cooking for him. Chicken and Rice. We’re talking boneless chicken breasts with long grain rice. It was so yummy, that times the family opted to eat Jake’s food.

Hubby kidded me several times, “You make me go pick up take-out for us, then you cook for the dog.”

I would just look at hubby and say, “But you don’t love me as much as he does.”

Even hubby couldn’t argue. No one has, or probably ever will, love me as much as Jake.

When his cancer got so bad that I could tell he was in pain, I knew what I had to do, but dang it, I didn’t want to do it. So, I sat him down and had a talk with him. Told him it was okay to go. But that damn dog just looked at me and I knew what he was thinking, “I can’t go. I won’t leave you. You are my person.”

So after a year, and thousands of dollars of vet care, I had to help him say good bye.

I laid on a rug at the vet’s floor beside him and told him how much I loved him as he slipped away.

Yes, I know that loving Jake was a joy, a gift, but losing him still hurts so darn much. So find me that writer, would you. I still want to kick his butt.

I’m going to miss being Jake’s person.

50 comments:

Colleen Thompson said...

Oh, Christie, I'm so sorry. I've been through this several times, and it always hurts so much. Then I run right out and adopt some three-time loser (usually older, since adult animals get fewer takers) dog from the shelter. I never learn my lesson -- or any lesson except that there are always more animals in need with love to offer. Not one of those dogs has replaced the ones lost, though. But time, at least, puts their ends into perspective and makes me realize it was worth it, pain (and chewed-up carpet) and all.

Hugs to you and yours.

cas2ajs said...

Awww, Christie . . . Jake sounds like he was an amazing animal. My condolences to you and your family on your loss.

Cheryl S.

Helen Scott Taylor said...

How sad, Christie. I'm so sorry for your loss. I've been through this with cats and dogs a number of times over the years. I have two dogs at the moment, but the pet that holds a special place in my heart is my cat. She's like a dog in that she follows me round the house and has to be with me all the time. Ever since the day she chose me when I went to see the kittens, she and I've had a special bond.

Anonymous said...

Christie,

Jake was a wonderful dog, and his devotion to you was clear to everyone who ever met him. Take comfort in knowing you did the right thing for him.

(((Hugs!)))

Faye

Linda C said...

Oh, Christie, I'm sending you lots of hugs. I went through this with my two cats this past winter. It never gets any easier, but they know we loved them till the end and ever after. Here's more hugs to you and your family.
Linda C

Keri Ford said...

So sorry to hear Christie. big hugs sent your way. pets are something special. My parents have a small rat terrier. he's old, but he loves kids. He'll just sit there, loving every minute as my son and neice tug on his ears and tail and trip over him. He never groans or parts lips to act like he might bite. He'll squint his eyes, but that's it. When you're feeling sad, remember the good things about him. Like how he followed you around and listened to your storytelling.

Christie Craig said...

Colleen,

Thanks girl. How could we not love 'em.

I always said that when Jake found the Craig house, he found a bird's nest on the ground.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Cheryl,

Thanks. Jake was special. I always said he had an old soul.

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Helen,

I have four cats and one of them is just as special as Jake. Funny thing is I think he misses Jake, too. He keeps walking around the house looking for him. I've actually seen those two eat out of the same bowl at the same time.

Thanks for stopping by.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Thanks Faye.

He was so darn devoted. It's strange, every now and then I still feel as if he sitting behind me as I write.

Maybe he is.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Linda C.

It's so hard to lose our furry friends. But so easy to love them.

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Keri,

Thanks for posting. Your parent's dog sound like a sweetie.

And you're right, remembering the good time is helping me.

You know what really gets me is wondering how anyone could have abandoned him.

He was such a loyal guy.

Crime Scene Christie

Natale Stenzel said...

Hugs, Christie. We went through this with our dog Molly a couple years ago. It still hurts (you got me all choked up with your post, too, darn you:) ). Jake sounds like a wonderful, wonderful dog who adored you for good reason. He will undoubtedly be missed.

Money says there's another dog without tags in your future, though:). I have one of those curled up around my feet right now. I cringe at the idea of going through it all again some day, but I wouldn't trade him for the world. It does get easier, I promise.

Hugs to you and your family.

Kim Lenox said...

Oh, Christie, I'm so sorry about Jake. I have told myself the same thing -- no more animals. It hurts too much to let them go. But I've got four in my house right now. They are part of the family.

When my mom's dog died, my dad told me, "She didn't cry that much when her own father died." I think it's because animals are so trusting, and their love and adoration is so pure. We can't do anything wrong in their eyes. It's hard to say goodbye to that kind of friendship.

You did the right thing, and your life is richer for having loved Jake. Hugs from me to you.

MsHellion said...

I'm so sorry. He sounds like the best of dogs; and you were a wonderful "his person" to fix him chicken and rice...and make his golden years good.

(I don't know who said the "it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all" but I do know that Samuel Butler said this one: "It's better to have loved and lost than never to have lost at all."

Christie Craig said...

Natale,

I wouldn't bet against you about that different dog with no tags, but right now those are fighting words. (smile)

I know in time it will be just as hard not to love another dog, as it is to lose Jake right now.

They have a way of sneaking into your heart.

Thanks Natale.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Kim,

It's true, there's something very special about an animal. They love us, flaws and all.

Thanks girl.

How your new kitty?

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

MsHellion,

Hmmm...I probably got the saying wrong. Now find the guy for me so I give him my two cents. (smile)

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

terrio said...

I really wish you'd put a warning on these things. At least so I can have the tissues ready.

I'm so sorry about Jake. What a special friend. I had to leave my dog behind when I got divorced and he's the ONLY thing I regret losing. A chow/retriever mix, Dozer was the best dog ever and he ended up going off to die somewhere because the ex didn't take care of him. I hope he knows I still loved him.

Christie Craig said...

Terrio,

You should put a warning on your post, too.

Darn!

But I'm sure Dozer knew how you felt. I think they are better at reading our feelings than we can guess.

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

Kristi said...

Christie, I'm so sorry. I'm crying now at work. I went through that this past October. My husbands ornery 14 year old cat who hated everyone but me passed away on my daughters birthday.

She lay there all night and waited for me to get up and say goodbye before she went. I wrapped her in a blanket and brought her to the vets sobbing the entire way.

A week later my husband dragged us to the pet store and now we have a Yorkie who we all adore.

It does get better with time, but it never goes away does it?

Hugs to you.

Christie Craig said...

Kristi,

Thank you so much. Please don't cry. I'm doing enough of that.

And I'm so sorry about your cat, they steal our hearts, don't they.

Thanks so much for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

Jenyfer Matthews said...

Darn it, you got me weepy now. I went through something similar with my first cat a little more than ten years ago now and it still hurts to think about having to make that decision.

I'm so sorry for your loss, but I'm sure you are right - he is still there with you :)

Hugs

Christie Craig said...

Jenyfer,

Ohh, I'm sorry for your cat and for making you weepy.

I'm hoping the post makes everyone appreciate their animals a little more. Love 'em while you can.

Thanks...

Crime Scene Christie

Robin said...

I'm so sad for your loss. But if it's one thing I've learned about those sweet furred and feathered friends who fill our lives, they don't ever leave us. Jake is still sitting on the floor in your study rolling his eyes at your bad jokes. If you listen real closely, I bet you'll finally hear him speak.

Hugs

Tori Lennox said...

I'm so sorry, Christie. Losing pets is always so hard. :( *hugs*

flchen1 said...

Oh Christie--hugs to you. I'm so glad you and Jake had each other for as long as you did--what a gift!

MsHellion said...

(I'm a quote junkie so I have to return to this topic again: the "it's better to have loved and lost" original is Alfred Lord Tennyson. Which I suspected, but I prefer Butler's better, since it's snarky like me.)

Christie Craig said...

Robin,

I think you are right. Hey, he wouldn't leave "his person" if there is anyway he hang around.

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Tori,

Thanks so much. It is hard, and at first I almost felt a little silly grieving this much, but it helps to know others understand.

Plus, if I can encourage others to spend a few more minutes with their pets, then that's a good thing.



Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Flichen1,

Thanks for posting. And yes, we were lucky to have found each other.

Thanks...

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Mshellion,

Thanks for the info. I have a book on quotes and I looked it up, but couldn't find it.

I have another friend who is big on quotes, but she wasn't available to answer the question.

Do you have a favorite place to run down quotes? I've heard there is a great website, but I don't what it is.

Crime Scene Christie

MsHellion said...

I just did a search on yahoo; and the second link I pulled up confirmed the name. (Since I've seen his name associated with the quote before, I didn't verify it. *LOL*) But no specific website. I think quotation.com might be a place I go to...but I don't pay attention. (Isn't that horrible?)

My favorite book reference is: Quotationary (It's a Webster version.)

MsHellion said...

Okay, it was bugging me.

www.quotationspage.com is my usual place. Though I hate all the ads that pop up! If you type in "love and lost" you'll get both Butler and Tennyson's quotes.

Christie Craig said...

Thanks Mshellion,

I'm always using quotes and needing info. I'm going to save these.

Crime Scene Christie

Heather said...

Oh, Christie - what a sweet and loving friend you had. I'm so sorry for your loss, and know how hard it hurts. I had to say goodbye to my 20-yr old kitty a year ago, and still miss her. (((hugs)))

And, as someone else mentioned, the quote is by Tennyson, from In Memoriam:

I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

Christie Craig said...

Heather,

I'm sorry about your cat. Twenty years is a nice long time to have a cat, but I know it wasn't long enough.

Thanks for posting. And I enjoyed
reading the entire passage by Tennyson.

Thanks for post.

Crime Scene Christie

Lucy said...

I'm so sorry Christie. I know how hard it is to lose a pet you love.

Many years ago my mother and step-father were doing a lot of traveling and I was their dogs' care giver when they were away so I felt like they were really my dogs. So when they made the decision to put one to sleep, I was very upset because they did it without saying anything to me - and I would have happily taken him from them and cared for him. Not that they put him to sleep because because they didn't want to care for him - I'd just wanted a vote on it. Anyway, within a week or so after that, I had a dream about Josh. I dreamed that I was seeing him in heaven and he had a full tail (it had been docked before my parents got him) and was wagging it furiously. I was so glad to see him and we had a talk. I asked him about the tail thing and he told me that when we die and go to heaven, that our bodies are completely healed and his tail was restored in the process. He also told me I shouldn't worry about him. He was very happy and healthy now - he'd been really sick and was better now. And you know, I felt better about it after that dream and it's helped me to get through having to put a couple of my own dogs down since then as well. Jake's body is healthy and whole again and he's in heaven happy as can be. And you're still his person - he's just "by your side" in a different way now.

*hugs*
L

Christie Craig said...

Okay, Lucy...I'm getting teary on you.

What a wonderful story. I love it and I so believe it. How they not go to heaven, they spend their life loving others?

Thanks so much posting this, Lucy.

Crime Scene Christie

catslady said...

{{{Hug}}} After having to put down our first dog of 12 years I said never again and my husband went to the pound the next day and brought home the most loveable dog ever - we had her 17 years and again I had to help her on her way. It never gets easy. My oldest cat of 17 yrs. just passed this year and although she had been failing she saved us the agony by passing in her sleep. I have 6 cats now ranging from 13 to 1, all ferals/strays and I know it's going to be hard again to lose any of them but the joy they give is ultimately worth it. Soon you'll remember all the good times without too much sorrow. Hugs, again.

Christie Craig said...

Catslady,

Thanks so much. I already cherish the memories, I know it will probably always hurt some, but that it will ease.

Thanks so much for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

Ms Terry in Gadsden Alabama said...

Christie , i am so sorry about Jake .
That thing about having loved and lost . Your right it stinks.
A few years back a friend of mine brought a puppy by and I like you hadnt planned to have a dog in my life at that time. Well we brought him home and instantly fell in love with him. We named him Drew. We dont have a leash law in our part of town so Drew kinda ran the neighborhood like dogs did back when we were kids in the 70s here in Alabama.
One day i got a phone call from a neighbor she said she was worried about Drew earlier in the day she had seen a car hit him and he took off running. By the time i got the word that he had been hit it was night so we couldnt see.
I went to another neighbors house and knocked on the door to see if they had seen Drew. I didnt know this neighbor but when they came to the door i asked if they had seen my dog i described him and they said oh you mean Rudy , my wife just loves him the man said.
So they began trying to help me find him. after an hour of calling him Drew finally came walking up wit a bump on his head . You see Drew was part Dashund part Lab so he was short and when the car hit him i guess it just grazed his head.
Of course we were all glad to see him alive and well.

The lady who originaly called me told me , how Drew had been spending days in her house while i was at work. The lady had recently had heart surgery and she said Drew was great company for her.
She even had pictures of him sleeping on his back, his most favorite Human like position.

Drew so began to hang out with his girl friend the Rotweiler ,she belonged to the people who called him Rudy. It was so funny seeing Drew following along behind her.

One day we came home and Drew wasn't here . Drew always liked going for a ride in the car . That day he was covered in mud so we didnt take him with us.

Drew is very missed but like you had sworn not to have another Dog .
Drew will be the last Dog I ever owned. It has been over 5 years. But him not being here still hurts.

I know how you feel and as with the loss of our HUMAN loved ones. We just have to hang on to the memories.

thanks Christie for sharing your life with the world. IT makes it a brighter place.

and the world is a brighter place because JAKE AND DREW were here.

Christie Craig said...

Ahh Terry,

Your story brought a tear to my eye. Drew sounded very special.

I know you miss him. And probably always will.

Thanks for posting. I'll see you soon.

Crime Scene Christie

Anonymous said...

Hi Christie,

I'm so sorry to hear about your dog, I know how you feel. I had a Boston Terrier who died in 2003 and it was devestating. I knew I could never replace him, but i've recently gotten another Boston Terrier who sounds alot like the one you had.

You had 5 wonderful years with Jake, and those will be memories that will last forever.

Michelle

Christie Craig said...

Michele,

Those Bostons are so darn cute. They are real pistols, but they steal your heart so fast that you don't mind them being pistols.

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

Gemma Halliday said...

{{{hugs}}}
I'm so sorry, Christie! If you find that writer, I'll totally hold him down while you kick his butt.

~Gemma

Christie Craig said...

Gemma,

You are a true friend!!

Thanks.

Crime Scene Christie

Vicki said...

Hugs. I so sorry to read about Jake. He sounds like he was a wonderful part of your family.

Christie Craig said...

Vicki,

Thank you so much. Everyday is getting a little easier.

Crime Scene Christie

Jana DeLeon said...

(((christie))) - I am SO sorry. You know I only do the four-legged kind of babies, so this hits me especially hard. It is ridiculously hard to lose such a huge part of your life. I hope you feel better soon!