Jefe would have been 14 on Christmas day in the year of our Lord 2022. He should have been. He would have been if he’d had a smarter mom. But Jefe was stuck with me. And I don’t always know the questions to ask. Sometimes that’s costly. Like for Jefe. Me too, but I have a voice. Jefe didn’t. I was supposed to be his voice. I was supposed to be his advocate. But, I didn’t know enough. Almost 70 and still so lacking in forward thinking. And Jefe paid the ultimate price. I’m so sick over it. I’m so angry with myself. I should have asked more questions. I should have probed. But no. Let’s trust someone who sees him 2 or 3 times a year. Yeah. That makes sense. And to think, I’ve raised children. I should never have been trusted like that. Not with my kids, not with a 6 pound dog. I shouldn’t have access to a plant, much less a living creature with a heartbeat. But what I lacked in smart I made up for in love for that little guy.
He was such an awesome little dog. I can just close my eyes and imagine bringing him home that first day. He weighed 9 ounces. So tiny and so precious. He traveled with us. Moved from one place to another. Watched me become an old woman. And it didn’t matter whether I put on make up, washed my hair, showered, changed my underwear or cooked a roast – though he did love roast! But he was perfectly happy with chicken or duck. He would wear the clothes I bought for him and hate them. But he wore them. And looked amazing! We played fetch til I couldn’t throw the squirrel anymore. He could outwalk me any day of the week, even on 4 inch legs! And he was protective. I belonged to him. And he belonged to me.
My world is completely different now. I don’t have words to describe the pain. Watching him struggle to breathe, looking at me with those huge eyes…I couldn’t take it. I had to be strong enough to let him go. But I wasn’t. I just loved him enough. What a stupid world we live in. Little dogs should live lives of pure joy. And whoever thinks dogs don’t go to heaven shouldn’t be allowed near one. Such loyalty and unconditional love is not found in the human race.
This post may be a bit disjointed. It may be downright incoherent. But let me convey a few things before the tears start falling again and I’m incapable of any sort of organized thinking. Ready?
1 – Don’t buy a dog unless you have the time, energy, space and heart to be devoted to a companion for the next 15 years cause they’re all about devotion.
2 – Don’t buy a dog to have something love you. Love has to travel back and forth with an animal. I can’t say what you deserve, but the dog deserves love.
3 – Don’t buy a dog to guard your home. Get an alarm. A dog will guard your home but it’ll be so much more than that if you let it.
4 – Don’t buy a dog if you can’t forgive. They make mistakes. On the rug, in the car, your bed. They aren’t perfect, but you’ll never get a more perfect love this side of heaven.
5 – Don’t buy a dog if you can’t be all in. Just don’t. They’ll forgive you when you feed them late, forget to walk them, yell at them over accidents. They’ll love you even when you’re gone 16 hours and they’re trying not to make an accident on your stupid rug. They’ll love you even when you love other things more.
So to sum it all up, you’ll never deserve the love of a four legged friend. But you can work your ass off and try. Jefe, I know you’re reading over my shoulder, so let me just finish with I love you. My heart aches with love for you. My eyes fill with tears because you aren’t here. I wasn’t nearly good enough to have you for my dog, but thank you for being mine anyway. You mind your manners and put in a good word for me with the Big Guy. I love you, little fella, more than I even knew.