Life Lessons from a Stinky Mutt

Never in a million years did I think that I would feel this way after the loss of my beloved beagle-shar pei. That stinky mutt was with me for 12 1/2 years. Oh so many ups and downs in that amount of time. The birth of my babies. The intensity and sadness with postpartum depression. The days when all I wanted to do was bawl my eyes out in the middle of the closet floor? Yeah. Those days my furry beast was there to drive me crazy by licking my tears. (I don’t like being licked by animals. I LOVED my dog but being licked by the same tongue that licked his butt? Yeah…not so much.) He knew. He always knew.

How is it that I’m a week out and I just can’t stop crying over him?

It’s not like an important human died in my life. It’s a pet for crying out loud. Only thing is that he wasn’t just a pet. Now that he’s gone I realize that I lost my best friend. The one who no matter what stupid or selfish thing I did was there to show love and support when the rest of the world around me thought differently.

I’ll never forget the sadness that I had from the loneliness of moving to a new town and not making any friends. I honestly don’t think I would have made it without that dog. He helped me through it all bu loving me when I couldn’t love myself. Now? I’m lost. I’m struggling to find love for myself again. I walk into the house and wait to hear his nails clicking on the wood floor as he runs to the door to greet me.

I can’t help but feel like a terrible dog mom when I remember how annoyed I get when he would dog rush me for the groceries. Heaven forbid I had an open bag of beef jerky or a rotisserie chicken with me. That was as if I had the last food in the world. Little did I know one day I would be begging Rocky to eat my beef jerky. The day before he died I sat next to him in tears and spread 10 different beef jerky flavors around him hoping and praying that he would dig in. When he barely moved his sad and innocent head up off the floor I just knew he was beyond sick by this point.

All the flashbacks and triggers this past week is excruciating. I really wasn’t expecting that to be the outcome. I love my husband and kids but they can’t give me the unconditional love that Rocky did. They say mean things sometimes. Do mean things sometimes. And oftentimes ignore me when I try to get their attention. (Great family—but very set in their “all about me” ways. We’re working on that one. Total work in progress to say the least.

When we made the dreadful decision to put him to sleep I couldn’t help but feel all the feels around his short life with me. Why would God create something that fuels so much heartache? Why can’t animals live as long as people? I can’t imagine the sadness that comes when a senior citizen loses their best friend. That’s just terrible to think of.

I’m trying to remember the good and release the bad.

The last day with him is really haunting though. Did I make the right decision? Should I have tried harder to fight his cancer? I dunno. I mean beagle shar-pei dogs aren’t mean to live a long life. So I guess twelve and a half years is considered long in dog years.

I have so many special spots around my house that are/were our special spots together. I’m sharing his story with you right now from one of them. The deck overlooking the bay is one of them. He crawled up on the couch ottoman and stole all the space so that I had to fight with him to move over. Territorial little booger. He’d move for me though. I want to think that he’d move mountains.

Maybe he did. Cause the day after he died? I hiked to the top of a mountain. And I don’t hike. I ended up hiking a ‘very difficult’ path when I thought my app said ‘easy’! Easy—um – no! I ended up hiking Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County, California. I almost missed pick up time for my kids it took me that long to get back down.

The road up was rocky. Thanks Rocky. I miss you, my furry beast.

Joey Fortman (Founder, RealityMoms)

Joey Fortman is the brains behind #RealityMoms. In 2008, after 20+ years in traditional media hosting radio shows around the country, Joey traded in the microphone for a diaper bag, struggling through her own personal crisis: unemployed, overweight and lost in the land of mommy bloggers. Little did Joey know, her traditional media background would pave the way for success at Real Mom Media. As a sought after media magnet, Joey has been featured nationally on Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, Anderson Cooper, the Katie Couric Show, Dr. Oz, Redbook, The Today Show, The Talk, Fox and Friends & The Newlywed Game. When not at the sports complex with one of her kids, on an island or a grocery store run, or on Facebook Live with #RealityMoms contributors, Joey is obsessed with adult coloring.