Friday, July 16, 2010

Tyrone Part Three

As we grew up. . .so did he. I remember talking to Tyrone a lot, so he must have been a pretty good listener. I'm sure he heard all about my first day of kindergarten, junior high and high school. . . . . my first crush, my first heartbreak, my first car. . .he was there for it all. We moved the summer before my 8th grade year. He was my friend when it seemed I wouldn't make any. Actually, he helped me make new friends by going on walks around the neighborhood.

He was there to witness all of the changing fads like stone washed denim, french rolled jeans, perms, parachute pants, ridiculously high bangs. . .and he never judged me at all. LOL!

During my senior year in high school, Tyrone's health began to decline. Honestly, I don't remember what was wrong, but his age was catching up to him. He struggled to perform the simplest of tasks and would often just sit and stare into a wall. We soon made the decision to have him put to sleep because the quality of his life was quickly declining. On March 9, 1996, I was working at Best Cleaners. I came home for lunch and I remember saying my good-byes. Boy, that was a tough day. I wasn't ready for him to be gone. I had so many experiences ahead of me that I wanted to share with him. I couldn't remember a day in my life when he wasn't there. I came home that evening and I was hoping everyone had changed their minds. Maybe the vet decided that he would actually make a full recovery and be fine. But, I came home to a very melancholy house. . .without the jingle of his tags, the warmth of his eyes, the softness of his fur. We lost a part of our family that day.

Fourteen years later. . . I still think about Tyrone. He taught me a lot about unconditional love. My life would have been so different had we not been blessed with this dog who someone had literally thrown away. I wrote a poem about him soon after he died (but, what didn't I write a poem about in those days?) I won't share the whole thing. The last verse, however, still rings true today:

I loved my pet, my friend, my own

I loved my wonderful dog, Tyrone.

Tyrone Part Two

Tyrone and my Cabbage Patch doll, Agnes

Tyrone's first haircut. They always put bows in his hair and I'd get mad because he was a boy!

Celebrating his first birthday

My very first memory, I believe, was of my dad bringing home our new puppy, Tyrone. It truly was love at first sight. To me, he was almost like another brother. That sounds silly, but those who grew up with an indoor dog will understand. When he got his first hair cut, I thought he "grew a snout" because his face wasn't round anymore. All four of us had our separate relationships with him and he treated all of us in our own special way. He matched his mood to whatever we were feeling. He was happy when we were happy, playful when we were playful, sad when we were sad and he hated when anyone got upset. He would immediately run and hide under the bed if anyone raised their voice. We would always say, "Well, now you've just upset the dog." Tyrone didn't know any tricks. . .I don't think he knew how to sit or lay down or shake or anything fancy. I don't know that he ever really learned to walk on a leash. I always got the comment, "Looks like he's walking you!" But, he knew how to love and that love is one of the great memories of my childhood.

To Be Continued. . .

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tyrone Part One

Meeting Olivia's cousins' new dog, Kaiser.

Earlier this month, we met Joel (Ryan's brother) and Laura's new dog, Kaiser. It reminded me of how amazing and therapeutic animals can be. Autumn has been such a perfect fit for our family. As I type these words, Autumn is faithfully at my side at 1 in the morning (I'm having awful insomnia again.) I truly feel like I have the best kitty in the world. I grew up with the world's greatest dog and have been wanting to do a post about him for some time. My dad found him and brought him home to our family when I was only 4 years old, so the beginning of the story is best told by him. . . .

Actually, I didn't find him.....he found me. For, you see, I believe it was an amazing act of Divine intervention that brought us together.

Almost everyday I went for a lunch hour run. Once in a while, I just simply didn't feel up to it, and I wouldn't go. But on that fateful day in June of '82, even though I really didn't want to, I decided to go. So, I headed out on the dirt road west of the shop where I worked. I had gone one mile to the first intersection when I heard a dog barking. I looked up ahead in the ditch to find a small white and gray puppy. There were no houses nearby, and I had run that stretch many I knew he must be another "abandoned" dog....dumped by someone that just didn't want him. Looking closer, I also discovered two little kittens. I remember saying out loud.... "If you're still here when I come back, I'll pick you guys up." So, I proceeded down the road. Then I remembered a stray dog that we found by the shop a few months earlier....a cute puppy that the boss named "Tyrone". He became the shop "mascot". We enjoyed "Tyrone" for a while at work until he was unfortunately ran over one evening in front of the shop. I vowed to take the next stray that I found. So... what was I thinking? "If you're still here when I come back?" No.....I wasn't going to chance it.... today was the day! So, I turned around and sprinted back to the shop to get the truck. When I sped back, they were still in the ditch. I took all three animals back to the shop. The puppy was shaking uncontrollably....scared to death....but at the same time, he seemed so concerned about his two, I could tell he had a good disposition. We gave the kittens to a neighbor, and I claimed "Tyrone" for myself! That's right.... it somehow seemed appropriate to name him Tyrone II. My boss had a cousin who was a Vet in a nearby town, so after work I took Tyrone there to get him checked out.

The next day after work I couldn't wait to pick up Tyrone and take him home to the family. My kids were so excited to pet this wiggly, cuddly, soft and furry puppy. It definitely was "love at first sight". They made a bed for him on the back porch to sleep in after they literally wore him out.


A really long story short......he was one of the best things I ever did for my kids...he was right in the middle of everything we did....always in the way.....and we loved it! Every birthday party....every Christmas morning....every family meal....he was there.....for almost 14 years! It wasn't just "chance" that he found me.....I almost didn't run that day, and if I'd started running even five minutes earlier, he might not have been in that ditch. And, fortunately for me, his owner chose that moment....that day....that location.... to dump the Greatest Dog in the World!

To Be Continued. . .

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010 - Update

Ring around the rosie with daddy and Lily

Movie night

Olivia has done so many big girl things lately. Olivia has always been a good sleeper, but I've always done the big no-no of rocking her to sleep. It's the only time of the day that she lets me really cuddle with her. They say if you rock them to sleep, they will rely on it to go to sleep. Well, my big girl now tells me she's ready to go to bed and I lay her down, still awake, with her Gogum and Lily (of course) and simply leave the room. She goes to sleep on her own. She doesn't need me to rock her to sleep anymore. Luckily, she still cuddles with me in the rocking chair beforehand and we laugh and sing songs together. I may need that more than she does. :)

Yesterday, my dad brought out the old projector and we watched family movies. It seemed even. . . neater (that's the only word I can come up with at 4 in the morning) watching my own 3 year old birthday party now that I have a daughter turning 3. Olivia really enjoyed watching me unwrap the Fisher Price dollhouse that she now plays with and seeing the rocking chair that is now hers. It was quite a trip down memory lane. Seeing my own parents younger than me. . .that was just frightening. LOL!

Sunday, July 11, 2010