spud

I had to put my sweet dog Spud to sleep this past week. I realize how much I hate that term “put to sleep” because it implies that he’s going to wake up, meaning  he would still be with me right now. And he most assuredly is not. This is abundantly clear every night when I wake up, hoping to hear his sweet pug snores on the other side of the bed. Instead, I am greeted by silence. Or when walking through the front door each day—never again will I be greeted by his sweet smooshy face, soft puppy kisses, and that crooked little tail, wagging in pure joy and excitement, as if it had been a year since he’d last seen me instead of just a few hours.

Though I have always liked dogs, I had not grown up around them and never really considered myself a dog person. In fact, I resisted getting any sort of pet because I travel a lot—and I thought a pet would tie me down. That all changed four years ago when my sister, who owns a doggie daycare in Atlanta, sent this photo, explaining that this dog was about to be put to death—and asking did I want him? He looked so lost and so scared. It broke my heart. And when I saw those big, brown eyes,  I melted. It was love at first sight.

We made quite a pair. He, bloodied, full of mange, and half starved after sitting in a shelter waiting to be put to death. Me, still reeling and mending a broken heart after being dumped by a guy I’d been dating. We found each other when we needed each other most. And though he was only with me four short years, he saw me through a lot—the death of a close friend, a couple more breakups, and so much more. He has been the one constant in my life these past few years, and I’m so grateful to have had him in my life for even this short while.

He was about the most patient dog on the planet, enduring things like being dressed up for my yearly Christmas card and each Halloween for the annual Pagapalooza Halloween parties (he won best costume the year he went as a Chippen-pug dancer). He was also an integral part of my “unbeweavable” blog, sitting patiently as I posed him next to whatever random weave I happened to find to photograph that day. He’d just look at me with those big, brown eyes, sighing as if to say, “OK, I can’t believe you’re making me do this, but I’ll do it for you.”

And through our daily walks, I met many of my neighbors, people I probably never would have gotten to know had he not been in my life. I even became friends with a guy in England, also named Spud Duncan, because of Spud. He affectionately called my Spud “Spud Junior.” He and his wife may come to the States next year and we will hopefully meet in person for the first time. Sadly, they won’t have the chance to meet “Junior,” the reason we met.

No matter how bad my mood might have been, it was always lifted after being around Spud. He brought joy to so many people—people who knew him well, or even random people he’d meet on the street, immediately rolling over for a belly rub. From the outpouring I received on Facebook, I realized he’s even brought joy to those he’s never met, some of whom have been following his adventures on the site. He touched many people’s lives, and most of all, he touched mine.

I will miss you terribly, buddy. I already do. Thank you for the joy, the laughter, the sweetness that you brought into my life. I hope wherever you are, you’re happy—running free, and getting all the belly scratches and treats a dog could ask for. The world—my world—will be a little less bright without you in it.