Dear Angel

Our Angel

Such a pretty little girl

On Friday night, I thought about washing the blankets on your dog bed. I tried again Saturday and they remain untouched. Before Friday, I wouldn’t even consider washing them. I wanted to keep you here, even in the smallest way possible. I guess I still do.

I call it your dog bed even though Fred enjoys it too. But you loved that bed, and while he would insist on being at the foot of our bed, under the covers and on top of my foot, you curled up alone. We would call your name and give you permission to jump on the bed. You stayed put. You needed your independence and that was okay.

I stared at the blankets and cried. I remembered telling Aunt Karen that I felt I would never stop crying. She said, “You won’t, but the time in between will become longer.” She was right.

I don’t want to stop crying when I think of you. I want to remember that you were that awesome, and you deserved to have someone mourn your absence. I still tend to dwell on the sadness, so I repeat my friend Khristina’s advice in my head: Think of everything we did do for you and don’t focus on the things we couldn’t.

But I miss you. I wish I could actually tell you that. Instead I’ll just write it here and hope it changes someone’s mind about pit bull type dogs. Maybe they’ll wonder how something supposedly so vicious could touch someone’s heart enough to make them write this letter on a blog.

If (when) we get a second dog, it will be in your honor. You were here for far too short a time but you enriched our lives and completed a happy family. Thank you for letting us be your humans.

I will miss you forever.

Smiling in her sleep...

Smiling in her sleep…

“They live and die for us. The pit bull deserves our utmost respect to be that loyal. We should all aspire to be more like the pit bull. Wearing our hearts on our sleeves, loyal to a fault and willing to die for those we love.” Unknown

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Dogs Aren’t “Just” Anything

 

I wrote a post about Lennox a few weeks ago. Since then, I have prayed and hoped that somehow, he would be saved. Americans offered their homes, celebrities and politicians got involved, and hundreds of thousands signed petitions.

Lennox was killed today. He wasn’t put to sleep. He wasn’t euthanized. He was killed. All because he looks like a breed he isn’t, and because a council dug themselves into a hole too deep.

I went to bed with tears in my eyes because we read that he would be killed today. I remember waking in the middle of the night, suddenly, jolting out of sleep. I noticed my husband was awake too. I almost reached for the clock to see if it was that dreaded hour, but knew it would turn my already-hormonal self into a weeping disaster. Instead, I cuddled closer to Fred, felt comforted by the feel of Angel on my feet, and let sleep blissfully take over.

But this morning, I cried. I cried for Lennox’s family, the one who has fought for over two years for their darling pet. I cried for their little girl, who called him her world, her best friend. I cried for my own little girl who isn’t here yet, because the world I am bringing her into is one I am ashamed of right now.

Mostly, I cried for Lennox, who spent two years alone in a cell, with no human comfort and no reason to wag his tail. He died on a cold table without his family, and no one could ever explain to him why, even if they tried.

If you have ever referred to someone’s pet as “just a ____,” you haven’t felt the unconditional love of an animal. I used to be like that. I remember having a dog when I was younger, but I didn’t let myself become attached. The day my mom took him to the shelter, I cried like a baby. She wondered why I was so upset over an animal I didn’t seem to care much about.

I think even then, I knew that I could become “too” attached. When animals were hurt in movies, I cried. When other people’s pets died, I cried. I didn’t want to become attached because at one point, you always have to say good-bye.

A lot changed before I met Fred, but the day I met him, I was lost forever. Lost in his eyes and wagging tail, completely overcome with the love I felt from him and for him. My view of all animals changed, and I felt like my already-too-big heart grew three sizes. If it’s possible, it grew even more with the addition of Angel.

Pets, especially dogs, aren’t “just” pets. My dogs will never just be dogs. I have felt more love from them than from a lot of humans I know, and no matter how many times I yell or let them down, they are always there to cuddle me and lie on my feet. Always there to lick away the tears and give me a reason to smile and laugh.

RIP Lennox. I’m sorry we failed you. Humanity should be ashamed of itself today. We would live better and happier lives if we could learn to be “just” like our dogs.

Preggers-n-Pits

Fred and Angel joined me for our normal around-the-block walk this morning. I noticed a few people out and about, and passed a woman on the sidewalk. Now that I’m finally showing, I wondered if I was imagining her funny look or if it was really there.

I wondered if she was confused as to how I was walking these big, mean, vicious dogs, while pregnant, all by myself. I wondered if she was thinking the same thing people have flat-out said to me, “I hope you don’t have any children around those dogs!” I wondered if I was imagining her thoughts because I instantly take a defensive stance when I encounter other people while with my dogs. If someone smiles or (shock!) wants to pet them, I literally feel myself unclench and let that guard down.

It made me think of Lennox, a pit-bull-looking-dog in Northern Ireland. He was seized from his family two years ago. I imagine you are thinking, “Did he attack someone?” He didn’t. He didn’t lunge, growl, bite or pounce on anyone. He was seized because he looks like a pit bull.

Photo courtesy of “The Patrick Miracle”

He has been living, for two years, in a less-than-adequate shelter, surrounded by his own feces, while his family launched appeal after appeal. Their little girl wrote a letter to Santa, saying the only thing she wanted was for her best friend to come home.

Photo courtesy of Lennox’s family

But every judge ordered the same thing: that Lennox be put to death. For looking like a pit bull.

The best part? Lennox is not a pit bull. He is part American bulldog, part Lab. Do you know who else is part American bulldog?

“Lennox is my brother. :-(“

That’s right, our own handsome Fred. I shudder when I think of what I would be capable of if someone took him from me because of the way he looks. And I pray every day that no one has to find out.

If I could leave this world with one thing, it would be the image of me, pregnant, walking my two big, mean, vicious dogs. I want people to wonder how I can even do it, and then hopefully that small voice of logic will creep into their brains, telling them, “Because they are just dogs.”

The best dogs in the world.

Lennox as a puppy, in happier times. His sweet smile makes me cry.