I haven’t published a blog in a month now. I pride myself with my ability to be consistent, and I have consistently written for a year and a half now. This summer, I took a week off so I could be with my family, and I had no intentions of taking any more writing breaks.
A month ago, my heart was shattered into a million pieces.
I didn’t grow up with pets. They just didn’t make sense to me. Why would anyone choose to take on a furry animal that requires so much from you? My sister got her first pet 3 months before I left for college. I bet that I didn’t touch that dog 1 time in the 3 months that he lived at our house. I left for college thinking that she had made such a mistake. For her birthday, she could have gotten the latest gaming system or a mutt. Why the heck would she choose a mutt? She loved that dog, and I didn’t get it. You don’t know what you don’t know. Now, stick with me; there’s more.
My husband always had a dog, but when he and I got married, we never got a pet. I told him that we didn’t have time, and I wasn’t going to take care of “his” dog while he went on deployment after deployment. He knew that he’d be gone a lot, so he didn’t put up a fight. Instead, he waited until I was ready. I don’t think he thought it would take me 19 years of marriage to finally be ready. Then, one day, I was finally ready.
I have known my husband since we were 12 years old. I was intrigued by him from the time we were kids, but I can’t say that it was “love at first sight”. We were friends for many years before our relationship transitioned into deep love. I share this with you because I never believed in “love at first sight,” until I met Gus.
The moment I saw him in his little cage at the Humane Society, I knew he was meant to be mine. (Note: He wasn’t that little; he was 72 pounds when I found him.) It was absolutely love at first sight. He was our free mutt, and I was in love. From that day on, he and I did everything together. He, Nick, and I traveled all over the United States together. He moved from California to Washington D.C. and then to Okinawa, Japan with us. He saw more of the US and more of the world than most humans. He ate better food than most humans too. He loved sushi, cheese, eggs, bacon, and salami was his favorite. He ran on the beach daily, and he ran around and did most of my errands with me. We had morning rituals, mid-day play rituals, and errand-running rituals. When I say we did everything together, I mean everything.
Then on Wednesday, August 18th, we realized that he was sick. He had acted a little lethargic on Tuesday, but Wednesday, Nick and I both knew he was legitimately sick…not just tired from too much beach time. Thursday, I took him to the vet. They ran labs, and as soon as I saw the numbers, I cried. They were horrific. The vet told me that things didn’t look good. They gave him fluids and antibiotics. I took him home, and we went to another vet in the north the next morning. We ran more tests, and his numbers weren’t improving. He had been vaccinated for Leptospirosis, and his test results were inconclusive, but it was Lepto. It had to be. He drank bad water after a rain, and the bacteria took him on Sunday, August 22nd. We did all we could. The 2 vets did all they could. Our hearts would never be the same. Mine was broken into a million pieces. I couldn’t do anything productive for the next several days. I was living in a fog. I had no mental clarity. I was crying daily. I was heart-broken.
I could not write. Writing is one of the things that I like to do because I find to be therapeutic, and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t journal. I couldn’t show up to the blog. I didn’t have the mental clarity to show up, but a month from the day that we found out he was sick, I finally opened up my journal, and a month from the day we lost him, I could show up here. I am writing this on a Sunday. For anyone who is reading this, it may be painful to read, but know that where there is pain, there is resiliency. Where there is grief, there was once love. Where there is sadness, there was once joy, and when you are given the gift of time, you realize that over time, the pain isn’t so intense. The fact that I am able to write, and the fact that I am able to write about Gus are good signs. They are signs to show that I am going to be ok. WE are going to be ok. My husband loved him as much as I did.
We will never be able to replace him or his vibrant spirit. I told everyone all the time that we had found the perfect dog, and if he ever had bad manners, it was all our fault. Everyone who met him agreed that he was indeed the perfect dog.
I have been loved by many people. I love and have loved many people, but I have never experienced UNCONDITIONAL LOVE until I met Gus. No being on this planet has loved me 100%, 100% of the time. Let’s face it; it is hard to love someone 100% of the time, but because of him, I am more equipped to live in the moment and to love a little deeper, and I now know what being loved unconditionally feels like. For the rest of my life I’ll be grateful for the 4 amazing years that I got with my big boy. Every day was a true gift, and I got lucky. I was able to recognize each day as a gift.
Now that I’m back to writing, I have a Vision Board blog, a Mount Fuji blog, and a Fly-fishing in Hokkaido blog to share, so join me next week as I share more of my journeys and adventures.
Thank you to all of my friends who sent prayers, cards, notes, pictures, and reminders that I am still loved. The prayers really did lift me from my grief, and they pulled me out of the darkness. I will forever be grateful for all of the support and love we were given after we lost him. I am also grateful for so many good friends.