Oct 13, 2007

On Empty Leashes, New Homes, and Heavy Hearts

Those of you who avoid the literary genre known as "weepy pet stories" ought to skip this post, as I am about to engage in the sort of maudlin soul-baring that is typical of the aforementioned style of writing.

For me it is a form of cathartic therapy, an exercise in splenetic exorcism.

James Taylor is a 18-month-old Dachshund-Schnauzer mix that came to our home about ten days ago as a result of our work with Planned Pethood, an animal rescue organization in Northwest Ohio. J.T., as we came to call him, instantly bonded with me, and followed me every waking moment, and I knew that saying goodbye would be difficult when this handsome dog found a forever home.

Our relationship entered a different phase when J.T. became quite ill last weekend, and it turned out that the skinny dog had a severe case of canine whipworms. There is an odd connection that happens between patients and those upon whom they vomit; I suspect that if you can tolerate being the target of someone's bilious eruptions, you simultaneously prove your unconditional love.

At least that's what I remember from the night I chucked on my wife, but that's another story, and she might tell it in a different manner than I.

J.T. and I had to say goodbye this morning, as he was adopted by a wonderful couple who live in Temperance. I am sure that he will be loved and spoiled in the manner that he deserves, but hearing J.T. whine when I said told him to "be a good doggie" and walked away from him caused tears to well up in my eyes.

And let us not overlook the power of an empty leash to serve as a cruel reminder of our losses. J.T.'s leash sat on the front seat of the car as I drove home, and every glance at the blasted thing brought another lump in my throat.

Yes, J.T. my friend, you are an exceptionally sweet boy, and I am blessed to have made your acquaintance. Your new owners are a lucky pair, and now I will hug my dogs and play some depressing songs on my iPod as I wallow in my momentary grief.


Tina Kubala said...


I had the pleasure of going to the local shelter a few weeks ago with my best friend and her toddler to pick up the dog she'd been visiting. They'd finally decided to take Leo home.

They wonderful volunteer told us he got car sick when they took him for his operation. I held him in my lap on the way home, so I got a good look at that sad yet happy look on her face as we took her puppy.

Anonymous said...

That's some mighty fine writing there, Mike.

jshriver said...

I really wish you'd write a book. You have such a wonderful writing style and I enjoy reading your blogs.

Anyway, good post. I picked up a dog from a shelter about 4-5 months ago. Found out afterwards he was supposed to be put down that day but the vet couldn't make it.

It's amusing how an animal can make ones life so much more enjoyable. My fiance and I treat him almost like a kid. He greets me at the door when I come home, sits by my feet as I work on my computer, sits on the couch as we watch movies and cuddles by our feet as we sleep.

They're also easy creatures to please. People can be so hard to understand and deal with at times, but a dog is something different. I know all I have to do is pet him on his head, tell him he's a good boy and give him the occasional pigs ear or hotdog and he's crazy with excitement.

It must be hard giving up a pooch, but glad he found a good home :)

Roo said...

Dogs (and cats) love unconditionally. If only people could be so lucky to be able to open up so freely.

Great post, Mike. I'm sorry JT went to a new home, but perhaps you could visit sometime - after you have healed from the separation.