Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Farewell, My Friend...I'll Never Forget You

It's been a long time since I posted anything here. I wonder if anyone checks this anymore. Did they ever? Probably not, but I have to return with sad news. Our dog, Brixton left us on Saturday, July 29th. After 2 and a half weeks, I still wake up looking for him.

In my life, I've had many best friends leave me. I think I've even left a few myself. To those whom I've left or have gone away, I still remember you and will do so always. I remember the good times and the bad, but that's life. It's a double-edged sword that serves up sweet as much as sour, if not more of one than another. Unfortunately, we have no choice which one to eat. We have to take what's given and get on with it.

Brixton came to us via my sister-in-law and her friend on cold November 29, 2006. I still remember the night. I'm involved in an intense game of FIFA 07 and the doorbell rings. Next thing I know, Diana shouts excitedly from the door, "Look what we got!" I was frustrated at the game because I was losing, so I turn expecting something insignificant and see nothing more than an eight-week old brindle boxer running as fast as his tiny legs will carry him towards me looking as happy as he could be. Immediately, everything else disappeared. I'll never forget how happy my wife was to see him. She was even happy when he peed on the rug. We knew he was one of us right away. He jumped up on our shins and into our laps, licked our faces and stole our hearts in one short night.

We named him Brixton after where my favorite band formed (I'm glad that my wife agreed with this) and one of the first full days I spent with him, I actually just listened to music and played with him. We'd take time to just sit for a bit and he would stare attentively at the speakers leading me to believe he was even okay with the name as well as the music that spawned it. He sat with us as we watched movies, tv and on weekends he would wake up with me, I'd take him out, give him his food and he would watch football with me all day long. He was there for me when I was at my most scared and most happy and, no matter what, he always wanted to make everything better.

We were there in his best and worst times too. When he was fixed, all we wanted to do was make him feel better. When we found out he had a heart condition, we tried everything we could to keep him as calm as possible. He had Boxer Cardiomyopathy (if that's spelled right), which is basically additional heartbeats that shouldn't be there. For this, he had to take medication everyday. We found that out when he was fixed. Subsequently, he collapsed because of that condition and his heart problems really became at the forefront of our thoughts. We saw cardiologists that said he's contracting this at amoung the youngest ages they've ever seen. He had to wear a Holter monitor over a weekend which made him look like a terrorist with a bomb strapped to his back which was another heart-wrenching experience for us. He hated to see us leave the house when he had that on him and all we did all we could to let him know that he was a good dog and that we loved him. From outsider eyes, this seems to sound a bit crazy, but Brixton was worth every penny of every doctor bill and the cost of every ounce of food and the annoyance of every squeaky toy we ever bought him.

Then on June 29th, he collapsed and just didn't wake up. Diana saw him collapse and called for me. I got into the room to comfort him. I started petting him and trying to console him before we took him to the emergency room. I watched his eyes as he looked at me, gave one last, strained whimper as if saying "I wish I didn't have to say goodbye."

I wish I knew what he was that I look back. I'd like to know what he thought of us, our friends, the neighborhood, the fact that the dog park near our house closed. Did he enjoy our company as much as we did his? Most of the time, this is just blind faith and hope. The fact that he still came to us when we called should probably be an indicator, but I'd still like to know more. I still wish that he'll be there when I get home from work, I still look for him when he doesn't come to the door and I still here him walking around our apartment when it's all quiet. I also still look at his collar and remember his expressive face staring back at me.

Last Friday night, I watched Errol Morris' Gates of Heaven. Still the best documentary I've ever seen, by the end I was in tears as these individuals speak of their deceased pets, estranged kids and problems with their pets' graves being moved. Despite the corniest analogies of this idea, I found the experience very therapeutic. In the one of the closing montages that shows the headstones of the graves, I lost all composure when it cut to a headstone that read, "I knew love because I knew this dog." Indeed and I'll remember it forever. I know that I've probably not shed my last tears in rememberance of Brixton, but that the year and 7 months he was in my life were full. He got to see the ocean, he had a girlfriend Lily, he got to play with Tasha and Alley, he got to try some good beer and he had 2 owners and several of our friends and family that loved him. Not bad for a puppy.

You Can Crush Us, You Can Bruise Us, But You'll Have to Answer to...


10/7/2006 - 6/29/2008