So I was hoping to send everyone a video blog about my trip to Australia. I still plan on doing that but something happened that has prompted me to write this. Something completely different from I’m sure what you think.
This morning (Sunday) Sydney, New South Wales, Australia time around 7AM and around 3pm (Saturday) Atlanta, Eastern Daylight Savings Time, I lost a Friend. Not a friend on FB or a connection on LinkedIn or a follower on Twitter but I lost one of my best friends in the world. I lost my baby boy Rhett. He was 11 years old.
For those of you who don’t have animals you may not understand this, but for my wife, (Jamie), and me, our pets are our children. We even call them our “furry children”. They are the highlight of our lives and give us the most memorable moments to laugh, cry and yes to even get mad.
Rhett was one of the best dogs I have ever known. I have had one other dog in my childhood and young adult life, his name was Duke, we got him when I was in high school for my brother and me, and he passed away when he was 15. He was a great dog and best friend too and he and I went through a lot together.
But let me tell you a little about Rhett. He had the sweetest disposition of any dog I have ever known. He was “Top Dog” and nothing phased him. He loved people and loved all the animals in our household. 4 Cats -Boo, Sonny, Jax and (Peppy)- and our sweet and lovable Scarlett (our Schnauzer who loves all people but not so keen on all the other animals or any animals for that matter (with one exception), Rhett. Rhett loved her sooo much he would get nervous when she wasn’t around and wait for her to go outside. I personally think that Scarlett put up with him like a little brother. And then there is Abby, our baby, only 4. She is our little Pappapoo (Papillon and Poodle). All of our dogs are rescue dogs. We adopted them and love them with all of our heart. Abby adored Rhett. She would jump on him and kiss him, and Rhett being the sweet 80 pound guy that he is, would just stand there or lay there and let the little booger jump up on him and kiss him. He would even play with her at times and bop her around (she wasn’t so sure about that). Both Scarlett and Abby will miss Rhett and even the cats will miss his presence.
But Rhett Loved Me Mostest! He was my dog. When I came home he would jump up and want to be petted and loved on, he would bark (I know, all the pet trainers are saying bad owner, bad owner- Well get over it) until I would go into his room and love on him. The best story is when we were at a fair (don’t remember which one) and Jamie, my wife, was holding onto him and I was going to get some food. I had to go back to ask something and when he saw me he started whimpering and trying to get to me. He was always that way with me and I could never repay back the love that dog gave me. His smile, yes his smile, was infectious as he would look up at you and just enjoy life.
I am in Australia and was not there when he passed away this morning. But the strangest thing was that when I woke up I called my wife and she said that he had been depressed the last couple of days, which is normal when either my wife or I leave, especially when I leave, for Rhett. She went into Rhett and Scarlett’s room and let me talk to him on the phone. I heard my little boy panting and she said he was smiling and wagging his tail. Then while I was still on the phone, he laid back and made a weird noise and laid his head back. Jamie was getting ready to call the emergency clinic and she called me right back and said he was gone.
I have been crying off and on all day. I will probably cry off and on for months and maybe even years to come. I lost a friend, a loved one and a baby that only gave unconditional love in return. No matter what. So what is the lesson? Or since I am in training mode, So What? Why should you care? Yeah it’s a sad story and one that you hear with pet lovers but why is this important to you?
Rhett gave unconditional love even when he wasn’t feeling good. He had just gotten over a horrific mysterious infection that caused open sores all over his body. Here is the link so that you can see for yourself what he looked like. Maybe that had something to do with his passing, but the point is, he always gave love. He never complained and he always was there to lick your hand, face, or feet to show you how much he loved you. Even when he was in pain himself.
There are a lot of people in the world right now in pain. Maybe you lost your job, maybe you don’t have enough money to eat, maybe you (fill in the blank). But Rhett has a lesson for all of us. Yes he was a dog, but that should mean he would follow his instincts and lash out when he is in pain or doesn’t want to be touched, but he didn’t do any of that. Not ever. Rhett was big enough and strong enough to have easily gotten his way and made you stop messing with him when he didn’t feel good, but he never did. Whether it was the vet or my wife or even one of the other animals. He always gave love. And he always gave love to me, unconditional.
I should have walked him more, I should have played with him more, I should have paid more attention. But he didn’t seem to care. He loved the fact that I was just in the room. He loved when I would come home and pet him to say hi. Even when I thought I didn’t have time, he would always look at me and smile as if to say that’s OK daddy, I love you and I understand your busy. I’m just glad your home!
It is very appropriate that I am dedicating this holiday season of giving thanks to Rhett. My boy and my baby. Yeah things are hard and they are not easy for a lot of people. But if you think life is not fair or you want to lash out. Remember my boy Rhett. He always gave love no matter what life threw at him.
He started out as a stray puppy who no one seemed to want. He was adopted and had strange family members, 4 cats. He had aches and pains along the way, allergies, arthritis and a mysterious rash. But he only ever showed love and appreciated the love given to him in return no matter how great or small. He was an animal but showed more love and grace than many people do today. To me he was my baby boy.
I hope to be a better person from this point on with that lesson in my mind every day for the rest of my life.
No matter what life throws at you always give love!
2000 – 2010