The Ghost Dog Diaries 1.0

The original blog that inspired my weekly column in Connect Savannah

Goodnight, Sweet Pup

PJ with her Favorite Uncle James on one of their many walks.

“On Monday, I woke up and said to your daddy, ‘Our dog is coming. I can feel it.’

I called the ASPCA to find out their hours of operation and exact location. The shelter was all the way on the Upper East Side and their hours coincided exactly with my nannying assignment for baby Emma. On Friday, Emma’s dad came home early; I had enough time to make the crosstown bus that got me to the animal shelter just before closing time.

But there was no dog there for us.

They were all too big to fit into our tiny Upper West Side studio. Your daddy and I needed a dog custom built to fit our 196 square foot hovel. With a heavy heart, I apologized to every dog in that shelter for not being able to take them home and promised them that their rightful owner would be there soon. And that they would always be loved.

As I left the shelter, the skies unloaded a dump of frigid rain typical to October in Manhattan. Nobody on the sidewalk noticed my outburst of hysterical tears. They were too busy fawning over the little yellow dog shivering inside the large cardboard box that was propped underneath an umbrella. ‘Ohhhhhh, cute….’ they cooed. ‘I wish I could take her home with me!’ But nobody could.

I was so sad to have left behind those lonely, cage’d shelter dogs that I almost didn’t see you; until I recognized the man holding you as my former co-worker from the gym. His girlfriend’s landlord had found you abandoned in an empty apartment and had brought you to them knowing that his girlfriend already had a dog. The landlord thought that she might be able to take care of you, but things weren’t working out as hoped and you were on your way to that terrible, horrible, no good, very bad shelter.

I wanted to take you home with me, but daddy — who, for the record, was the one who suggested we get a dog in the first place — was allergic to animals and had sent me in pursuit of a hypoallergenic dog. I begged my colleague to get in touch with A Cause for Paws, the organization that puts pets into foster care, but he said that his girlfriend’s puppy wasn’t getting along with you and that you had to go to the shelter today. My heart couldn’t bear the thought of leaving you in that terrible, horrible, no good, very bad place, so I wrapped you in my trench coat and sneaked you onto the crosstown bus. Once we were safe inside, I sat you on my lap and we just looked at each other like, ‘Well, what’s next?’ 

My plan was to keep you over the weekend while daddy was out of town and to place you in a foster home on Monday. We all know how that worked out…

When we got home, I set you on the floor to get acclimated with your new place. You looked to your left and saw that the apartment was about 16 feet wide. Then you looked to the right, saw a wall and realized that the place didn’t get any bigger.

That’s when you gave me the look that would forever become your trademark glance of, ‘Oh Mommy…this will not do…’ and subtly suggested that you would have had larger accommodations at the ASPCA.

That night on the futon, as we snuggled curled-up beneath the covers with your head nuzzled into my chest, I realized that you were My Dog and I promised that I would never leave you for as long as we lived.”

I told that story to PJ every year on our anniversary, plus many times during our eight years together when one of us needed comfort. Today I her told that story for the last time in the vet’s office, just before putting her to sleep.

Thank you for loving me, PJ. You will be missed.

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This entry was posted on September 8, 2012 by .

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