Another day to celebrate Mom!

I wish people would say things to my face instead of running their mouths behind my back. Toughen up and be real. Intimidated much? Then do not say anything in the first place, and certainly DO NOT act as though you want to be my friend otherwise. That is unbecoming of people our age. C’mon now.

Mama taught me early on to stay away from the likes of you. Gente podrida. No te llegan a los talones y no valen la pena.

Mother knows best. She is the reason I am writing again tonight.

I wanted to write yesterday, but the weather won me over. It was a gorgeous day – clear, sunny, and warm, with skies such a sweet blue, I understand why Bryce Avary croons as he does. I spent the majority of the day indoors, unfortunately. From the moment I stepped into my work at 7:15 am until the moment I stepped out at 5:15 pm – not a single second was spent outdoors. It was too hectic, but such is the field of medicine. It is what we signed up for.

When I was able to leave, I went straight home. I changed out of my filthy scrubs, grabbed my pup’s leash, and headed right back out the door with him. I took him out on a mini-hike along the creek and wooded area that lie between our apartments and the animal shelter. Wooden crates strategically placed in the shallowest parts of the creek serve as crossing stones for us adventurous city dwellers. I learned that Pup is not apprehensive about being in water (yay!) and that having him fully vaccinated was definitely in our best interest (since he decided to have himself a drink). We splashed a bit, he sat and allowed me to take photos, I was able to soak up some rays, and all felt well.

We were out for at least an hour, until we started losing the sun. I repeat, I emphasize: I am thrilled that Daylight Saving Time is upon us! More light! More adventure! Happiness!!!

Back home afterwards: dinner, packing, shower, bed. No time for writing about…

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!

Hence me wanting to write about Mom. The woman who has empowered me since I can remember.

The woman who bragged about her first-grader who learned to read and write in both Spanish and English. The woman who set me up to be a brainiac by enlisting me in my schools’ math and science teams. She displayed my trophies (and those of my brother) all in the living room, and dusted them carefully as needed. She saved all the certificates and awards we ever received. Where are our high school diplomas and college degrees? Her house, of course, because in a sense, she earned them. They belong to her, too.

When I was a teenager, she would go on and on about how unique and creative I was because I would piece together one-of-a-kind outfits from thrift store finds. Did she annoy people when she talked about how I could pull off any outfit and how I wore clothes well, like a model? When people complimented my hairstyle back in my college years, she enjoyed telling them that I saved money by cutting it myself. If I ever post a photo of myself on Facebook, Mom always comments that I am gorgeous, even if I am purposely making an awful face in the photo, a habit I picked up from Dad.

Years ago, I let her know that I will never have children because I don’t want to. She responded by praising me for knowing myself well enough to recognize that motherhood is not for me. She commended me for not bringing a child into the world if I am not going to be 100% devoted to my role as a parent. She said there were already many children who looked up to me and loved me, kids to influence, and there would be more (she was right). She instructed me to live my life and be happy.

When I came out as an atheist, she quickly claimed that I am a better person than most people who call themselves Christian. She encouraged me to be myself and to continue on helping others, especially the little critters I love so much.

I informed her I was going vegan… she had seen it coming and took it as a challenge to learn new recipes and modify her dishes she already knew I loved. She researched what to be wary of, found replacements for common ingredients, and obviously bragged about my willpower to stick to such a limited diet. She even started shopping at Whole Foods. My sweet little frugal Mexican mom!

To this day, although I have done it for over a decade, she loves telling folks that I save animals for a living and do much more for them outside of work. She tells that it shows I have a huge heart. She says that with immense pride, I can tell.

She loves that I am passionate about social justice and civil rights. She reminds me of this often. She asks me who she should vote for and why… adorbs!  She admires my sense of adventure, my youthful spirit, and my unrelenting humor, all traits she acknowledges I inherited from Dad and not herself. She is happy I have them regardless.

I did pick up plenty from her, mind you. My compassion and empathy, my want to help others: gifts from Mom. I still do not feel that I am as selfless as she is, and doubt that I ever will be. My goodness, that woman does not know how to say no to pleas for help, even when she should! I continue to strive to be as nurturing as she is, and to be as great a friend. People love my mom. She is adored and respected.

I admit I am stubborn like she is. Perhaps I should not be proud of this, but I get it from my mama so fuck it! Oh, my potty mouth. Yup. Got that from her as well.

Β‘Daisy, cabrona!

In short, she is the woman I admired first and she is the woman I admire most. I grew up with a wonderful role model right in my home! Now, here I am about to take on a new phase in life, and I am undaunted. How could I be with her in my corner, her hugs and words of encouragement readily available to me? Her protective nature ready to strike if need be?

Do not mess with us chingonas. ❀

Happy belated Women’s Day, ladies. Much, much love.

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Bye, buddy.

The day arrived.

Of course it would, it was a given, one thing I could always be certain of. This day would come. I am fortunate and thankful that it took sixteen years. Still, that does not make the pain any easier to withstand. As many years as I got, it could never be enough. No finite amount of time could be sufficient.

I had to say goodbye to the love of my life, my buddy, my constant companion, my sweet boy, Canelo Dog.

In all honesty, I always feared that the time leading up to the decision would be awful, that I would be unsure and hesitant, that I would be too damn emotional to think clearly and do what was right. Oh, but that pup. I mean, he was simply perfect, right through the end! One look at him that morning and I knew. There was no doubt in my mind that our time together had come to its end.

He was ready. My perfect pup had to leave me.

I held him, and with tears streaming down my face and his soft face resting in my trembling hands, I said, “Okay.”

I told him that I understood and that it was okay, that he could go. I thanked him for being such a tremendous source of happiness, for always putting matters into perspective, for being my priority and making every damn mishap in my life seem trivial in comparison to him. I let him know that he was a good boy and that I loved him. I loved him more than anything.

I tried to assure him that I would be all right, although I knew that it would take a while for me to get there. And again, I repeated to him that I loved him.

It was a beautiful morning, almost as perfect as he was. The kind of morning that would have led to us taking longer walks than usual. Fuck, I already miss my walks with him.

Dammit.

A few days earlier, it had become pretty apparent that we were nearing the end, and so I group-messaged the five most important ladies in my life.

  • Mom (One of two people who let me keep Canelo; I was sixteen years old then)
  • My cousin, Ellie (aka Canelo’s wonderful petsitter)
  • My three closest, dearest, absolute best friends…
    Wizzo (bestie since elementary school)
    Cent (bestie for ten years, first friend I made when I moved back to Dallas, animal rescuer extraordinaire)
    MexiBestie (fellow member of the veterinary medicine field, knows well how these matters go)

They know me best, they knew my bond with Canelo best, the first three have known my boy since he was a puppy. All five would know the right things to say, they would be solid support. I could not keep news of such a life-changing event from them. I had to let them know. 

Their sweet responses did not fail me. Of course.

I decided to message them again that final morning,

We are saying goodbye today. I love you all so much!!!

I could feel their hearts breaking for me and I could feel their love. It was the push I needed to be brave. They were all I needed and even though they could not physically be there with me, I felt the comfort of their solace and sympathy. I will be forever grateful to them.

I am also grateful to the countless people who have taken the time to write sweet notes to me via Facebook and text messages. Since that day, I have been posting daily photos of my pup as a sort of tribute to him. So many friends have taken the time to write such sweet words of encouragement and console.

Some that have moved me the most:

What a beautiful relationship you both will ALWAYS have for each other. You raised the bar on how to love and care for our furbabies, especially as they grow older. Much love to you and Canelo Dog, Daisy. You’ve done absolutely everything right by him

Oh Daisy, I’m so sorry. Seeing your posts about your sweet old man loving his walks and celebrating yet another birthday warmed my heart. It hurts like hell when their soul finally outlives their body. Those memories you share though will be with you forever. πŸ’•

Oh Daisy I am so, SO sorry to hear this. Carlo (14 yo) and I have always looked up to you and Canelo Dog as the epitome of human/doggie bond. I’m hugging all of my crew but especially Carlo a little bit harder tonight. Hugs to you my friend.

So sorry for your heartache, so happy for his beautiful life. What a lucky guy to have been your dog.

What an amazing and wonderful life he had! I can only be so lucky to have my pups as long, and to have the amount of love for them that you have for Canelo. Truly a beautiful example of the human animal bond and what it means to love a dog.

When I think of well-loved dogs, I think of Canelo Dog.

Are my friends not incredible? How awesome that Canelo and I have inspired others! I had no idea, but I am happy for it. And I am glad that my love for him showed, that it was evident that he was my everything. What more could I ask for? I cried when I read those comments, but I smiled as well. Honest.

I also asked that friends make donations to the Humane Society of Dallas County in memory of Canelo Dog. I hope that they did. I hope it helps his legacy live on, through whatever critters the money ends up helping. Wouldn’t that be great? His life would continue to matter, just as it always has. It always will, though, regardless.

You know what else has brought me comfort? Work. I went back the following day because I felt the urge to be around dogs. I realized almost immediately after I lost him that for the first time in over twenty years, I do not have a dog. My heart broke a little more when my mind came to this awareness. I wanted nothing more than to hold and hug a dog, which is exactly what I was able to do at work. It is what I am planning to do again tomorrow. Thank you, job.

Ugh. Time to watch The Walking Dead and not care nearly as much about who dies as I would have before I lost my pup.

Thank you for reading. Hug your critters. Love them, be patient with them, forgive them. They’re animals and that is why we love them, right? Be grateful for all the moments with them. If you are feeling generous, donate to the Humane Society.

With love.

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The heartbreak from being a doggie mom

Yesterday, I started crying halfway through my morning walk with Canelo. You see, it was his fourteenth birthday. My sweet boy is older and as excited and proud as I was about wrapping up yet another happy and healthy year for him, it hit me that the older he gets, the less time I have left with him. The thought of life after Canelo absolutely terrifies me and shatters my heart.

He has been a constant in my life since I was just sixteen. This year, he was by my side when I hit thirty. He’s been by my side for the most volatile years of my life. I cannot imagine changing as much in the future as I did between 2000 and now. Canelo has been my companion through it all.

He let me squeeze him when I was overwhelmed by his cuteness, he allowed countless tears to fall on his little head every time I was distraught, he kept calm even when I came stumbling back home after drunken nights, he waited patiently for me when I got home late or could not take a study break, he snapped me out of funky moods just by perking his ears and wagging his tail, he has been my inspiration to work hard and be myself.

I will never be ready for these moments to end. I know that I will be utterly lost and feel insanely empty the first day that I wake up without him. I guess, for now, all I can do is try to make every day a great one for him and to enjoy his friendship and presence. I just love him so much.