when jerry first came in 5 years ago, I felt sorry for him. he had been thru the ringer of life..his life was filled with drama and chaos, he had been passed around like yesterdays newspaper..i was able to count 5 different people he had been with in those last few months. he was sick with rotten teeth and bladder stones, he was partially blind and more than a little bit pissed.. I think he sustained some brain damage thru carbon dioxide poisoning while being hauled around in the trunk of the car of one of his previous owners. jerry really was nothing more than a pawn to be shifted and used and traded without any consideration for his needs and feelings by everyone who ended up with him in their hands. it left him damaged, not quite right in the head, not utterly broken..just not all that easy to live with.
jerry has bitten me more times than all of the other dogs combined. most times he didn't mean it..i think. most times he was just being over reactive like when I accidently moved him while shifting my position. but sometimes he did mean it like if something was pissing him off.
today was a perfect example..he was peacefully resting with his head against my chest at the vets until he got poked with a needle, then he was ready to kick butt. he bit my forearm but luckily I was wearing a sweatshirt and he only had 4 teeth left so no damage was done.
for 5 years I have done my best to prevent jerry from biting the other dogs, visitors and me. we had this great bedtime routine where I would pick him up and put him in the corner of the bed behind my back..that was jerryville and all of the dogs knew not to go back there and disrupt the beast.
jerry loved this..it was the time when he would snuggle up against my back, sigh deeply and rest in peace. sometimes he would get frisky and play catch carol's hand with me, sometimes he would roll and groan, stretch and rub his face into the bedding before he would fall off to sleep. I think that was his happy place..tucked up safely against me. not that it stopped him from biting me if I happen to move the wrong way and disturb his sleep.
anyway..when you live with a dog like jerry, you really only have 2 choices...love or hate. and I loved him...the real him..not the him i wanted him to be, not the him I thought he should be...just the real live him that was jerry..i loved every part of him...even his teeth.
and I know that jerry loved me. when I finally come home at night..jerry was anxiously waiting, I am his safe place, I am the soft hands that he trusts, I am the place where no matter what..jerry is safe and loved.
I always felt sad that I could never give him the opportunity for a home of his very own. because of his biting I doubt many would have been interested in him anyway and then there was that thing with the unsuccessful lawsuit from a previous owner..i was always afraid he would try it again and that would not be fair to jerry's new home...I didn't give a shit about the lawsuit..we had insurance for that. but lawsuits freak out most people so jerry was better staying here because of that.
so maybe I loved him so much because I was morally obligated to become jerry's safe and loved forever home because I couldn't offer him something more.
whatever... a promise to love, protect and care for forever is a commitment and once it is made, its easy..you just do whatever has to be done.
jerry passed peacefully from this world today (after he got over being pissed off over the initial sedation needle.) he fell gently back to sleep with his head tucked up next to my heart.
5 years his warm little poodle body has been tucked into the small of my back as we slept..for five years he has lived loved in my heart.
I have watched him these past few months as his dementia progressed, this week to the point of not really remembering how to eat or drink..it used to be so easy, but it was no longer easy for him any more. he had a seizure yesterday and another one today, the vet thinks that given his very advanced age of 19 years, it was probably a brain tumor messing him up even more. but whatever it was..my bed, my back ceased to be his safe spot...his anxiety followed him every where that he went.
jerry was sometimes an asshole and sometimes he was as sweet as they come. but jerry was my friend and I was his friend and that meant something pretty damn special to both of us. I am so sorry to have lost him and so glad I was here to love him, this little old neglected and passed around angry dog.
I will always love you my little messed up friend.