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Alas! You have left me today.

I remember the 20th of October 2015. It was on a dark street in Mian Channu and I found you shivering in a box. I came towards you and you gave me a sad and stray smile.

It was such a special feeling. I never imagined that we would form such a deep bond.

It was the first time that this naughty careless boy thought about someone in his life. I can't even think about caring for someone but you were such a beauty which compelled me to hug and kiss you. I picked you up and took you home and gave you a warm bath which I still remember.

You were such a pretty thing that I can't forget your blueish eyes. It was just like you had a diamond in them. You were anonymous for me but your innocent face (was naughty actually) made you a family member.

I know you used to walk in the streets like a queen. I still remember those flirty doggies that used to stare at you. Every friend of mine loved you.

I know you cheered me up when I was unhappy. You seemed to be sad when I was in trouble. Your emotions were a big thing which delighted me everyday.

You were like my child to me. Don't you know that my father says that I look after you like my mother used to do for me!

Do you remember our dog who was a big fan of yours? He used to care for you, and walked with you whenever you went anywhere. Now he is missing you too. He doesn't play with anyone now.

You are a diamond among thousands of people. My darling I am now alone without you. You were my companion. You know you were a stray but believe me you won our families heart.

Sharing a bed with you (and you would not be moved), brushing you and watching your golden hair fly away. I know you liked to play video games. You batted the paper ball and watched while I crawled all over to retrieve it.

When I try to eat beans I still remember you because you used to snatch them from me. Every night when I change my side in the bed I miss you. The 3 years that I spent with you was an amazing time for me.

Once you sent an MMS to my ex girlfriend with a video that contained many very sad feelings. On that day I was laughing at this act and I can't explain as even I have no words for what I should say in your honor.

My mom was missing you too as if you were a naughty child in our home and used to break her plates and cups. You used to make her busy in your works.

She was saying that no more punishment will be given if you came back. Yesterday Hamza (my brother) was talking about you and that he had made a small home for you.

Lubly, you will be missed forever.

I know you have found your family that is more loving, more prioritized, more blessed than us.

But don't forget us. God keeps you in the shadow of his blessings with His magnificence.

Published in Tributes

 

Growing up as a kid in an environment where the security situation was terrifying, most households lock their kids inside the house. They are allowed to step out of the house only when they are going to school or going somewhere with their parents. Same applied to my siblings and me.

As the youngest of the family, to find someone to play with, was a difficult task because my siblings are either busy with their homework or watching movies. That was an annoying situation for a little guy like me. I told my parents that I would like to have a friend to share my leisure with and they went to get me a pet, Bobby! Setting eyes on Bobby was love at first sight; this not just because of the desire to have a companion, Bobby is one of the most adorable creatures have ever seen. The beautiful brown and black fun is just perfect.

Puppy, Bobby was said to have been picked up by a good Samaritan woman who saw him hiding under an abandoned vehicle beside her house. The woman took Bobby to the animal welfare unit, where they tried to find the real owners but to no avail. After a long period of search for the owner, they decided to find another suitable home for him and give him out for adoption. My dad was right there on time to adopt him for me.

Bobby had this natural calmness in him; it was evident that he was well trained because he would never harm anyone compared to other dogs that went through similar situations like Bobby did while he was wandering about and been under the care of the animals' welfare agency. There was no sign of aggression nor fear in him on our first meeting. He ran into my waiting arms as if he had met me before, wagging his tails to and fro. It was clear that he was happy with his new home.

The very first night Bobby spent with us in the house was terrific. I could not get much sleep as I was excited to have a new companion. I was amazed when the dog wanted to pee. He did not want to do the business inside the house, so he went to the main door and started whining and scratching the door with his paw until I opened the door and he went straight to a corner in the garden to relieve himself. Although I initially thought he wanted to run away since the gate to the compound was locked, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. After he had relieved himself, he ran straight back into the house. And I was happy to know the dog wanted to stay.

Bobby would follow me everywhere and would sometimes run a few miles after my school bus before returning home. Everyone admires him because he is not just a beautiful dog, he is brilliant! Sometimes, I wonder how Bobby could behave like a human because Bobby understands different moods and knows how to lighten up my mood when I am down. Even when I do not want to talk he understands some of the commands given to him just by reading my facial expressions. Whenever I am ill and unable to eat, Bobby would refuse to eat his food until I start eating mine, what a magnificent creature. I wanted a pet, but I never knew I would have more, I found a best friend! Love you, Bobby.

 

Published in Tributes

We knew she was the one the first moment we spotted her in the large group of puppies in the play area. “I want that one,” I said as I pointed at her. I was about 10 years old and I loved the dog I already had but I felt a special connection to this adorable one with the distinct brown coloring around her eyes. She looked like she was going to be scruffy, but not too scruffy, and I could tell she would turn out to be one of my best friends. My family agreed.

We took her home and decided her name was Mandy. The name just came to us, and it made sense and it fit with how she looked. She was the size of a little rabbit and would fall asleep in our hands. As she grew, she began to love her tug-of-war toys and her tennis balls. We played and played, and usually I got tired out before her. She would jump on us and nudge us so we would keep playing, and since she was so cute she usually got her way.

She chased the birds and the lizards in the backyard. She jumped up and down on the concrete wall in the backyard to try to get to the neighbors’ dogs, though she only got over it once. Even when she finally succeeded, she didn’t know what to do in the neighbor’s yard so she just froze and waited for me to come get her. We would walk and jog up and down the arroyo by the house, and we would go to the park where I would let her off the leash so she could run around and be free.

I would come home from school or work and she would run to greet me. I would pet her sweet face and say hi, and then she’d run to the kitchen and want me to give her a treat. She LOVED human food. She would eat anything except lettuce and tomatoes. Literally, everything. Whoever said dogs can’t eat chocolate obviously never knew a dog like her. She was like our shadow and would always be right behind us waiting for the next treat.

If I was working on my computer, she would lie across it when she wanted attention. If I went into the laundry room, she would stare up at the treats and give me puppy eyes that were so cute and would make me give in and feed her a treat. If I went into the garage, she would stare up at her leash and whine a little because she wanted to go for a walk. During Christmastime, if she wasn’t getting attention she would walk behind the Christmas tree and knock some ornaments off just to make us notice her (and make us mad, ha). She was quite hyper and needy at times, but she didn’t like to be in trouble and she knew when it was time to settle down.

She had the typical Jack Russell look to her, and she had the cutest little head tilt when she was intrigued by something. She quickly learned the words “outside,” “ball,” “play,” “bye bye car,” “walk,” and “night.” She ran really fast and would bolt outside to chase something, whether there actually was something out there or not. She acted like a hunting dog and she would let out a pathetic howl that was supposed to intimidate other animals, though it really just made us laugh. She had a great personality and obvious emotions – more than any dog I have ever encountered. If she would do something silly and we would laugh at her, she would noticeably get embarrassed and walk away. She knew when we were sad, and it would make her sad, too. She would curl up with us to make us feel better, and it always worked.

She had a good sense of people. She liked good people, and she knew who were not-so-good people even if I couldn’t see it yet. She wanted us all to herself, so she didn’t like other dogs much. She was good with people and loved having visitors to feed her treats and play with her. When my best friend and I were feeling nostalgic, he would come over to play Nintendo and she would sit right on his controller so he would have to pet her instead of playing the video game. She was lively, energetic, and a great friend to have. Chasing her around the house was one of my favorite things to do, and when she finally gave up she would roll over and let me pick her up to pet her.

Throughout the years, she became more and more tired and turned into a “snuggler.” Her face turned mostly white and she no longer wanted to play with her toys or the tennis ball. She slowed down but was still cuter than any other dog I had ever seen. She loved sleeping in my bed, and she would hide in the blankets when I would try to take her outside or put her in her own bed so that I could leave. When she turned 16 years old, she was sleeping most of the day and it was obvious she was becoming more uncomfortable.

I was working in a different state when it was her time to get put down. I had seen her a week prior and it was clear she was tired and ready. I told her that I love her and I promised I would never forget her. She licked my hand one last time and I took one more glance at her sweet face before shutting the door behind me. I asked my parents not to tell me she was gone until that evening so I wouldn’t get upset while I was at work; however, I went outside during my lunch break, and though it was clear skies and sunny, rain was falling. At first I was confused, but then I realized it was her telling me she had passed but she is okay.

Writing this made me sadder than I thought, but it also reminded me that I had many, many good times with her. It wasn't uncomfortable, but it did make me emotional. I enjoyed it, because it brought back memories of her and those were all very happy. The words easily flowed because we all have plenty to write when it comes to that special person or animal in our lives. Even though the grief is still raw, and I will always miss my dog, the sign she sent me the day she left us meant she is back to being a little puppy and trying to hop the concrete wall in Heaven.

Published in Tributes

Kirby Todd

2004 – 2016

There is no love greater than that which you learn from a dog. 

 

     He was five when we met, about 50 pounds of small body and big head.  He had a mommy before, but it had been just him and Daddy for the past several months.  They were just a couple of regular guys, hanging out in the bachelor pad, eating cold sandwiches for dinner - roast beef or pastrami or turkey subs from the convenience store. Watching baseball or football, or whatever sport happened to be on that day. He was happy with it all. Just him and Daddy.

     He sure loved his Daddy.  He fiercely protected him from any bad guys who knocked at the door or made any noise at all beyond the backyard fence.  He missed his first Mommy, but went about his daily business taking care of Daddy.  He wasn’t too happy around some girls.  Something happened one time, but he mostly forgot about that.  He just didn’t like some girls, and that would get him into trouble one day.

     Daddy brought him home as a baby sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. He was named after Kirby Puckett, the Minnesota Twins baseball player.  His middle name was Todd.  Probably after Todd in the Disney movie, The Fox and the Hound.  I joked around with that line a few times, but neither Kirby nor Daddy took an interest in promoting or denying that theory.

     He was mostly white with a few patches of tan.  He had medium-sized floppy ears and big paws.  He was a little on the small side of a medium-sized dog, but his head was a size or two bigger than his body proportion dictated. It made him look tough.  

      His bark was ferocious.  It was a deep, serious bark usually reserved for dogs of a larger, more menacing variety.  Like Cujo.  Be on the other side of the door and hear that bark, and you will rethink wanting that door opened. You can ask the wannabe-mayor, the censor-taker, some Jehovah’s Witnesses, and multiple sales representatives.

     The pizza delivery lady took a liking to him, though, and he to her.  Their friendship started before me.  She was an older lady, friendly, and always the person to deliver from one of our favorite pizza places.  She never failed to bestow upon him dog treats while we were distracted smelling the hot and fresh pizza she just delivered. Besides, she wasn’t technically  a “girl” since always brought treats for the entire household whenever she came knocking.

     Not long after I moved into the Bachelor Pad and touched it up with feminine-yet-sensible hands, I brought my 18-month-old spoiled brat to live with us.  From the first day Kirby and Bella met, Kirby was hard-pressed to make sure we all knew he was the dominant dog of the two.  Day after day of humping turned into week after week, month after month.  But if they were both virgins upon meeting, they remained virgins forevermore; Kirby was not very adept at the art of procreation. Still, the humping was incessant.  What the hell, Kirby? Do that in privacy.

     I was his last Mommy. I give credit to his first Mommy. I know she loved him even after her and Daddy parted ways.  But, he eventually became “my dog” in the household - following me around wherever I went, napping on the floor in whatever room I was in, keeping one eye on the lookout for anything I may have dropped in the kitchen. My little white shadow. I would talk to him while I cooked, just silly puppy talk mostly. Sometimes I would talk about things that made me mad or sad. He always listened. 

     Both dogs had several nicknames between them. Bella became Girlfriend, Fat Smeller, Belly. She is the most expressive loving member of the family, though preferring the company of the boys – Daddy and my adult son. She’s a weight gainer, and always on the heavy side. Little head, big body. Quite the opposite of Kirby, who was always a trim and active dog.

     Kirby was a healthy pooper. I eventually called him The Poopster, or Poops, for short. He was also Kirby, Kirbish, Buddy… While patrolling the perimeter of the backyard fence – always patrolling that fence – he would work himself up barking at whatever or whomever was making noise in the beyond. At times he would have to stop and make a poop before continuing his tirade. But he was a protector, and never failed to walk the fence when he was in the backyard. Always moving and on the go. 

     I noticed he was getting more tired each day. I told Daddy. He had Kirby since he was just weeks old. Denial is so much easier. For me, too. I didn’t want to think about one of our babies not being here. But I also didn’t want him to suffer. I kept an eye on him over the next year or so. Being more gentle with him, more understanding of his little quirks.

     He slept on the floor on my side of the bed and always accompanied me for coffee every morning, no matter how early I was awake. Except towards the end. He slept in late with Daddy one day. I was careful getting out of bed every morning so I wouldn’t wake him (or step on him), but he was a diligent protector and was always awake and shaking his tag before I could leave the room. That day, when they awoke somewhere near noon, he looked apologetic for sleeping in. And still so tired. That’s OK bud, you sleepy-head. You needed your rest today.

     I became the protector of him, even though he continued to be my protector, at least in theory. Thunder and fireworks scared him throughout his life, and he would stay close to our legs, his body shaking with fear until it was over. He would climb up onto the couch and try to sit on one of our laps, or squeeze himself behind our backs against the couch. We usually made a fuss, but we stroked his back, or I would sing a conversation with him, and assured him he was safe. 

     Toward the end, he couldn’t climb the couch by himself anymore. One of us would lift him up so he could sit on our lap or squeeze behind us as he did when it thundered.  Shaking until the storm passed. We stopped making a fuss over it.

     He never liked his behind messed with. During a trip to the vet, he chased one of the techs down after she took his temperature. He ended up biting her on the hand before she could climb up on top of a table. He was right there barking his formidable bark at her. The vet was able to restrain him for the remainder of the visit. One more bite, our vet said, and he will have to be put down. We properly muzzled him for vet trips, and watched him carefully when we had company.  

     He was getting thinner. His ribs were showing through his fur. He was in pain, his hips weak, his legs giving out on him sometimes.

     It was during this time that we sold our house (the perfect seller’s market in our neighborhood) and moved into an apartment a few miles away. Nine days after moving in, and after having pooped on the floor almost every one of those mornings, he could no longer stand up on his own. He tried. He always tried to do as I said, just as he tried to make it for what would be our last walk. 

     As he lay outside on the ground, just outside our door, he was panting and looking up at me for direction. I ran inside to tell my husband that it was time to go. I came back out to stay with him, talk to him, pet him, tell him it’s OK, you’re getting to be an old man, Bud. We’ll get you fixed up. I promised him I wouldn’t leave him again. I know he tried, and I know he hurt. I didn’t want him burdened with the pain or the need to protect us, anymore. He has been a good dog, but it was time to protect him, now.

     Daddy picked him up from the ground, carried him to the car. Nothing but skin and bones, that boy. We drove to a nearby animal hospital our vet recommended. Daddy carried him inside, and then to the table where he would remain for the rest of his life.

     We said our goodbyes, petting him, cooing to him. He looked into my eyes as if telling me it’s going to be OK. We talked to him, assuring him the doctor is going to make him feel better. Words of reassurances to fill the void that was about to settle upon us. Reassurances him or for us, it didn’t matter. Everything’s gonna be OK, I promise. 

     The first drug made him very drowsy. He tried licking, but his tongue was just too weak. It hung out of his mouth. It’s OK, Poops. You’re just loopy. We laughed quietly to lighten things up a bit. For him, and for us. Through our tears. 

     The final drug was pushed through the syringe into the tube connected to his body. His breathing slowed to a faint whisper. He stopped panting. 

     The vet let us know he was gone. We pet him and cooed to him. Daddy and Mommy, we held each other’s hand until it was time to go. He wasn’t there anymore, but he was somewhere – IS somewhere now, and he doesn’t hurt anymore. 

     He’s that big ole puppy again, romping through the biggest backyard he’s ever seen. All that grass to sniff and poop on. Markings to make, especially after a good rain and he has to start all over again. So much to check out, who’s been where. Keeping an eye on the squirrels and birds, patrolling the perimeter of a fence that never ends, with plenty to bark at on the other side.

 

Published in Tributes

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