Sunday, October 12, 2008

All Dogs go to Heaven

It was Saturday, September 13th, I believe. I was sleeping on a friend's floor. I was in transition of moving out of a house, going on sporadic travels and ending up at school somewhere at the end of the adventures. It was a gray morning, as many are in Seattle. The day was gray, too, or at least it was for me. It could have been the sunniest day in Seattle for all I know, but it was all gray to me. I was urgently taken from my sleep by Ryan Adams sweetly singing, "Oh My God, Whatever, Etc" right by my head. My right hand violent clawed at my phone as I glared at the caller ID. "Andrea" was scrolling across the screen. I immediately put the phone on silent and throw the phone back to the ground, cursing the early morning skies. It was 8:30 AM for God's sake. What the hell was she calling for? It did not take long for me to realize that it was probably an emergency since she was house sitting while my mom was away. I remember thinking, "God, let the dogs be OK" as I quickly jumped out of my sleeping bag and called Andrea back.

The night before I had had a curious dream. I was at a house with a few girls that I had spent the last week or so with and the house was a combination of all these houses I knew. In the backyard, in the early morning, I was playing with this big, white dog. In my dream, it was my childhood dog Rolly. In my dream, she was tall and strong and energetic. She was chasing a bright green tennis ball around the healthy, grassy field. There was a playground with kids in the background. It was glorious, but it was cold. I woke up the morning after that dream thinking if I had already seen Rolly for the last time.

Rolly has been my family's dog since I was five. We had lived in Carmel Valley for about a year at that point, leaving San Francisco behind. That summer my mom, my sister and I went to Seattle to visit my grandparents for a week my dad stayed back in California. When the three of us got back from Seattle and were settled in the car, my dad proclaimed that he had a surprise for us before we headed back to Carmel Valley. As we headed towards Daly City my sister and I franctically guessed what the surprise could be. We wanted it to be a dog so bad. I remember exclaiming something to the effect of, "I don't even care if it's an alien dog!" The surprise, apparently, was at my aunt and uncle's house. My dad directed my sister and I up the stairs to a balcony that was off of the master bedroom. I remember little five year old me peering over the side a some sort of ledge and spotting two little puppies. Someone in the background informed me, "The white one is yours." The whole two hour car ride back to Carmel Valley was spectacular. We decided to name her Rolly and my sister insisted that if I held her I would most definitely drop her. I was ecstatic.
On the other side of the phone, Andrea actually sounded pretty calm. She told me that she could not get a hold of my mom because she was in conferences all day and did not know who else to call. Rolly was on the deck, shaking with blood coming from her mouth and would not get up. Andrea, the best friend a girl could ask for, had no idea what to do. Neither did I. We decided that she should try and pick Rolly up and take her to the vet. I called my sister and let her know what was going on. And then left a voicemail for my mom. Next, was Casey. That is when I lost it. I could not control myself and he could not understand what I was saying. I did not know how to explain to him that although Rolly is still alive at this point, I know that she is going to be dead within the next twenty four hours and I could not explain to him why I knew that or why I was so sure about it. I just knew that it was happening at the worst time and I just needed him to listen to me and be there for me. We said good-bye.

Rolly was one of the smartest dogs that I have ever encountered. One time, we took her to the vet and the assistant placed Rolly in a small, locked kennel. The assistant went back to her desk, sat down, and suddenly turned around. Rolly was standing behind her, wagging her tail with her head cocked to the side. Another time, my family went out of town and left Rolly with some friends. She escaped out of a chicken coop and was runnng home on Carmel Valley before they noticed that she was missing. She was half home by the time someone picked her up and left a few messages on our machine. Apparently, we had an escape artist on our hands. Rolly was also my partner in adventuring and exploring. I remember wandering aimlessly through my neighborhood, and by the river down the hill, and among the Oak trees, with her always by my side. Rolly, also, had this amazing ability to wander into my room when I needed her the most, or when I was crying hysterically. Even the last time I had been home she wandered into my room right when I needed to hug her. She knew when I needed a friendly face or a good listener. She let me be mad at her and she did not hold it against me when I ignored her. She loved me for who I was and never judged me. Oh, and she was always willing to take a nap with me. She was the best best-friend I could have ever asked for. Especially when I felt like no human could ever understand me. She was there through it all, with not only me, but with my whole family. And everyone who encountered Rolly loved her. It was impossible not to. She wasn't just a dog though, she was part of the family. She was just another member. And I knew she was gone.
That gray Saturday morning turned into a long, emotional day in Seattle. I tried to keep it together until I heard more news. I was in Talaina's car coming home from Golden Gardens when my mom called me to tell me that we had to put Rolly down. I braced myself. I knew it was coming. I could handle it. My mom told me that my dad was going to drive down to Carmel Valley, pick up Rolly, and take her to a 24-hour emergency vet. Later that night my dad called me while he was leaving the vet. He was telling me how she had been so old and was convulsing in the car and she went peacefully. I think he was trying to justify it for himself more than anything. On the inside, I was in denial. I knew that I was, but I wasn't ready to take it on yet.
My denial continued until recently when a few particular stories brought me out of my funk. The first: I used to go boogie boarding on Carmel Beach. When I would catch a wave and ride to shore, Rolly would come running at me through the waves and lick my face and run back to the beach as I paddled back into the water. Which reminded me of the second story: One day after a storm my family went to the River Beach in Carmel. It was the time of year where the river actually flowed into the water and Rolly jumped into the water, after seeing a dog on the other side of the river. She was quickly swept out into the mouth of the river and could not swim against the currents. We sat helplessly on the beach. I was freaking out, bawling. This story ends with my dad holding on to the end of a kayak and rescuing Rolly and helping her on to the other side of the river's shore. And then there were those times that we walked to Safeway and I tied her up outside while I went in, and she would bark occasionally. Of course, there was also the time that Rolly and I were chasing one another around the house and we ran through a closed screen door. The stories could continue to flow, but no matter what I find myself at the same spot: mourning over a pup that was a symbol of my childhood, a part of my family and a friend.

Rolly was a well loved dog and deserves more than a poorly written blog, by a sad college student in the Emerald City. But, that's all I got right now.Good-bye Rolly. You will be missed.


Catty said...

I love you. Rolly is kicking it with Jesus now.

Natalie said...

and I love you.