To Olive, With Love

You were the softest pug in history. Of course, what came with that was endless dog hair everywhere, but I always accepted it because you were well worth it. The veterinarians who came to help you cross over couldn’t stop petting you and commenting on the softness of your hair. One of them asked if I wanted to keep some, and I joked that I probably had enough around my place to make another you. I wish I had taken her up on that—what I wouldn’t give to feel your fur one last time.

I’ve always had this thing for bitches. Natch. No, seriously. My best friend in high school always had this way of making people think she was a snob, but to really know her is only to love her. I adore when people surprise me like that, and you did exactly that. When we first walked you at your pet adoption event, I told me ex, “I don’t know. She seems a bit snooty. She’s very aloof.” As if I expected you to hug and kiss me while you were walking. You’re not a miracle worker. We ultimately put you in at #2 (which would ultimately be more appropriate than I ever realized), but our #1 got chosen by another family with more priority. I thank God every day for that other family.

The foster mom brought you to our tiny LA apartment, and you walked in like you owned the damn place. I knew then that it was destiny. “Yeah, girl,” I thought. “Get it.”

Unfortunately, I was still working full time then. I had about a month left before going out on maternity leave, so I had to leave you every day. My ex worked from home, so he quickly became your favorite. In fact, one day he had to leave early, and I begged you to come sit with me as I blew dry my hair in the bathroom for work. You just stared out the door, willing him to return. I couldn’t believe it. “My first pet and she’s not even going to be my girl,” I lamented.

Pregnancy hormones raging, I called my mom en route to work and cried my eyes out that I wasn’t your person. My mom laughed and laughed, and rightfully so. Who cries over that? Little did I know I had nothing to worry about anyway, as that time on maternity leave before my beautiful Finn arrived were nothing short of magical. In looking back, it might have even been the last time the ex and I were truly happy. We’d walk to get donuts (because, cravings) and then we’d take you to this local dog park. The ex would run and hide and you’d chase after him, and everyone in the park would die of laughter. The reason being, girl, you were rolly polly right from the start. According to your foster mom, some sleazy breeder made a bunch of money off your pups and turned you in to the pound looking absolutely emaciated. She quickly turned that around by cutting up cocktail sausages for you and, by the time you got to us, you were like a round and well-stuffed Olive … hence your name.

pug

Through the years, you were always there, by my side. I know dog owners all get this. No privacy whatsoever. I couldn’t even pee alone. What was interesting is I had many friends tell me that their dog became, quite frankly, a nuisance once kids arrived. I felt the very opposite. You were the one thing in my life that never really asked anything of me other than snuggles and love (and turkey, of course).

You got horrible separation anxiety when we’d go on trips, which is why we brought home your brother, Fred. You were your aloof self and, again, I thought, “Yeah, girl. Let him earn your love.” And he really did. He cleaned your ears (grosssss), kissed your face, and ultimately won you over, but he probably never knew it. You weren’t one to really swoon.

Every time I looked up while working from home, you’d be staring at me. Every. Damn. Time. I can honestly say that I don’t think there has ever been another living being that adored me the way you did. What an amazing feeling. You always needed to know where I was. As long as you did, you were happy to snooze the day away. You licked my tears with your stinky breath more than once. It’s funny how much I miss that stinky breath. I never was great about your dental hygiene. After a while, I just joked that you were British, talked to you in an accent, and you seemed okay with it.

You had many quirks, and one that always killed me was that you would never eat first. You would make sure Fred ate first and finished first, so he’d be jealous of you when you were eating. And if he dared to look at your bowl—he got the scariest growl you could summon. I’m so glad I captured a video of this interaction the day before you passed. It always reminded me of my brother and me. We’d go on a road trip, get passed a candy bar, begin to eat … and I thought we’d finish at the same time. About 10 minutes later, he’d pull a piece of the candy bar out from somewhere and laugh and laugh as he taunted me that he had more candy left. There’s a word for that, but I’m going to try and keep this clean.

Despite your heft and your ultimate fecal incontinence, too, you were always such a lady. Your farts could clear a room, but you had the nerve to run away from them, too. As if to say, “There’s no way that could have come from me.” The boys and I would laugh and laugh. The boys loved you so much. Everyone in our family knew I was your person but that didn’t stop them from trying to win your heart. You didn’t give it away easily. Even when we went on walks, you were hesitant about people petting you. But you knew a good thing when you experienced it, so you ultimately gave in.

Olive, I can’t thank you enough for all that you’ve given me. There were days that you single “pawedly” kept me afloat. I never cared that you weren’t lovey dovey because I knew with every ounce of my being how much you loved me. It was fierce. It was unconditional. And it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever experienced. I hope you are happy where you are. I will always wonder if I did the right thing, especially because right about now I’d give anything for one more day with you. I feel like I finally realized I loved you enough to let you go, and I hope that’s what you felt in those final moments. When the vets gave me my time alone with you after you passed, I kissed you on your face so many times because I couldn’t believe this would no longer be my daily privilege. What’s seriously crazy is that just as I was sitting here and writing this, the vet showed up with your ashes. I have you placed right next to me, just as you did every day when I worked at the computer. Olive—from the bottom of my broken heart, thank you for everything.

Olive by me at computer

 

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Comments

  1. Ned says:

    Olive was a sweetheart. God Bless Her!!!!

    Dad

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