Eight years ago, this summer, I remember being in a one bedroom apartment with my then fiancé (now husband). I had just moved here, to Kentucky, in September of 2005 and never doubted that decision. Though, I did want something more that was always a near constant in my life.
I asked him his opinion and he wasn’t sure if we should have one. A dog to me is this little bundle that is composed of love, understanding, laughter, joy, and all of the other positive things mixed together. So, when my landlord showed up at my door with a little eight pound Chihuahua mix with his tongue sticking out, I could not resist.
He needed a home and he needed love. Unfortunately, most of his teeth were missing and he was obviously abused. He was terrified and shaky. In fact, any sudden move would put him on the automatic defense. One particular moment from so long ago, I had come home early from work and was about to curl up in bed. He was laying in my spot and lunged at me, ready to bite. When he’d realized what he had done, he thought I was going to hurt him so he ran away from me. He hid under the inn table and wouldn’t come out. I got on my knees and reached for him, his little body tensing. He closed his eyes and flinched but I never raised a hand to him.
The hit never came. I held that soft little guy close to my heart and cried on him – promised I would never ever hit him no matter what he did. Eventually he came around and even more so when Snoopy came into the picture. He took to her like a mother. She was so tiny and he licked her ears, slept close to her.
Today, I again cried on him.
I called for him to put him in bed with me – he couldn’t jump on the bed.
He didn’t come.
I thought he may have been in the closet so I searched for him there and that feeling when you know something isn’t right struck me when he wasn’t there. Grabbing the flashlight, I looked under the bed and I just knew.
My landlord agreed to allow him burial on the land here and dug the grave. A neighbor lent us the shovel. We swapped stories of how the place we buried him was the same place Ratt encountered his first opossum. How he would walk around the apartment complex like he owned the entire place.
We just finished burying him a few hours ago and I’ve got my bearings well enough to try to type out what I’m feeling – my thoughts. I feel like my heart is breaking and coming out of my eyes. I won’t lie – it hurts to lose someone you love. Ratt Reginald Reed was so special. He came to me a shaky, trembling soul. Now that’s he’s gone, I’m the one shaking and want to hide away.
To me, a “dog” is not simply a dog. I feel odd even referring to him as that because he was so much more. He wanted to love as well as to be loved and he got it. The last 8 years spent with him were fantastic.
But, at the moment, I hurt deep in my soul because I lost my friend. So, that begs the question. Would I have opened my heart and home to Ratt all those years ago if I knew this would be the last day of his life?
In a heartbeat, I would.
The beginning of his life was rough – filled with pain- but the years Gary and I gave him were filled with love and cuddles. Cold winter nights where he’d snuggle up to me and lick my toes. Excited when I asked if he wanted to go outside. The way I didn’t have to bother with a leash because he stayed in step with every single one of my steps when we did go.
You can bet I’d do it all over again.
This is our song and, tonight, I play it in memory of my little Boosha Bear.