Nine and a half years ago I was adopted by an adorable, loving yet sometimes aloof puppy, Harper, Mr. Friendly, Harper-Harper-Bo-Barper, my Handsome Boy. Yesterday he died. With him, a piece of my heart and soul feel like they died too.
When I walked into the home of the family that had been fostering Harper, I met a few really nice dogs, but one was so sweet, calm, and confident, even at 12 weeks old, that I knew he was the dog I had been looking for.
Let me tell you something only a few people know. I got a dog (actually 2, but that’s a story for another day) to use as a tool. Yes, a tool.
I was depressed, pretty severely, in counseling, but refusing medication. If I wasn’t working I would stay in bed all day and all night, or just mope around the house; I was a terror for my roommate, making her life a living hell. I didn’t care about anything, my friends, my house, myself. I just wanted it all to end. I wanted to NOT FEEL LIKE CRAP every day. I could see no way out.
I decided that instead of self-medicating, I should figure out a way to change things. After thinking about it, I thought to myself, “What is going to make me get out of bed?” The one and only thing that came to my mind was a dog. A dog? Well this is going to sound strange, but I knew I wouldn’t want a dog peeing on me, my bed or the floors and to combat that, I. WOULD. HAVE. TO. GET. OUT. OF. BED. I got a dog so that I could mentally/emotionally/physically get out of bed. Actually, I brought home two.
The boys (what everyone who knows them, calls them), Harper and his brother, made it okay for me to walk around the neighborhood again, smile at strangers again, make new friends, hold my head high, and laugh again.
I have been lucky to be surrounded by a loving family and have married a wonderfully supportive husband, but sometimes, just sometimes, I can tick them off; that’s expected, we’re all human. What Harper gave me was permission to be me again, nothing I ever did or said could make him upset with me, angry at me, or even cold towards me. While we had dogs growing up, and they were fun, I never experienced that special unconditional love for a dog and from a dog, until Harper.
So, yesterday morning, after a tough surgery the day before, a good nights rest, and fighting the good fight, his body said enough is enough.
Enough will never be enough for me, but I realize that if this life we live is a delicate balance between black and white, yin and yang, birth and death, summer and winter, wanting and needing; the proof of the immense pleasure he and I shared can be found in the heartache I am feeling because of his passing.