Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sunny: In Memorium

To all my friends who were also friends of Sunny,

I'm sad to let you know that Sunny died today at about 2:45pm.  He led a very brave fight against both a rare fungus that is difficult-to-impossible to treat and also Melanoma of the Eye.  He was very brave, trying to stay with us for as long as he could.  He was the very first dog who lived with me for over a decade.  Given that I take only rescue dogs and they all, including Sunny, were well past puppy-hood by the time they joined me, this was quite a feat.  We're guessing that he was around 13.

Sunny was a very difficult dog when he came to me.  He was very frightened, but instead of cowering like every other dog I had ever adopted, he was quite aggressive in his fear, biting me again and again, and also many dogs in his time.   It was far more than once that I was advised that I should put him down immediately, but I refused.  I knew that there had to be a good dog inside of him somewhere.  I've never met a bad dog.  It took years before I became aware that his behavior was not of aggression but of fear.  Once I realized it, everything changed between us for the better.

Sunny ended up being a very gentle soul.  He  helped Ian as an infant and toddler learn to play with and love dogs, gently putting up with his ministrations of love which included fingers in his eyes, ears, and mouth, and also grooming, moaning and yipping in delight.  He put up with Cosmos, who was quite difficult to live with if you were trying to compete for love and time, and then recently Lucy, who came to us from the South Central Pound as a puppy and drove him crazy with play.  He put up with living in a Condo when, as a large dog, he would have liked nothing better than to have had a large home to live in.  Thankfully, we were able to provide that home for him in his last 8 months.  He thoroughly enjoyed it.

He was something to be feared in his frightened youth, and thanks to his antics, when my Condominium Complex was over-ridden with Section 8 hoodlums and criminals (after the rebuild from the '94 earthquake, most of the condos were quickly rented out to the city to stem the losses by the owners and they were almost universally occupied by criminals), while I was reviled and threatened by my neighbors because I held a position on the Board of Directors and was tasked to help bring the situation under control, I was never attacked, my home was never broken into, I was always safe because Sunny was at my side.

He was by my side in sickness and in health, at my highest weights, during my weight loss, and during my greatest life transition of all.  He was never demanding when I was so sick I was near death myself, instead just laying quietly in the room that I occupied, keeping me company.  He walked many miles with me as I started my weight loss journey, and never complained when I became so sick that I could no longer take him out.  He put up with me dressing him up for my own and others amusement, most recently appearing at my wedding reception as a bunch of grapes.  He loved all of it.

I'm going to miss my boy terribly.   I knew that he was not going to live far into the transition into my new life, but he was something of my old life that was singularly mine, even as he loved Eric and worshiped him long before we were engaged.   I'm sorry that he did not get to live with my family as a young dog.  I'm sorry that the children did not get to experience his playfulness and gentle nature.   I'm sorry because I feel like one of the last pieces of me as a single individual has left me.

But Sunny was old.  He was suffering.  It was time. 

Even as I am in a terrible emotional state and I'm not sure how quickly I'm going to be able to act on it, I know that somewhere, there is already another dog who is waiting for us, for a new lease on life.  In a week or so, we will start our search, and I'm sure it won't be long before we are able to give somebody a second chance at life.  This next dog will be very lucky.  It will not be coming into just my home.  It will be coming into our home, into a large house with a large yard with two parents and lots of siblings to play with.  And Lucy too.   And a cat to torment it.  Hopefully, Ralph - the cat - will not be too angry at this new development.


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