Serena Freewomyn

A Doggy Tribute

Filed By Serena Freewomyn | March 14, 2008 7:26 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: pets

Queers love their dogs. And honestly, queers love their pets in general. A few months ago, Nina asked if pets are worth the money and the response from Bilerico readers was unequivocally yes.

Today I got the phone call I had been dreading all week. And when my aunt's number came up on the caller ID, I was reluctant to pick up the phone, because I knew why she was calling. Our dog Binks had to be put down this morning. This is the second dog I have lost, and it never gets any easier.

noname.jpgBinks was a full-bred Rottweiler that we rescued when he was young. The family who had him before us was keeping him on a choke chain and didn't feed him properly because they were trying to make him an aggressive dog. Rotties are not naturally aggressive - it's assholes who turn them that way. Binks understandably had behavior issues when we first got him because of the way he was treated. But with patience and a lot of hard work, he became one of the sweetest dogs I have ever met.

I'll never forget the first time I took Binks to obedience school. The trainer had already met Binks when she came to our home for some private lessons. She knew he was a smart boy, but she wasn't prepared for how quickly he would excel. He could learn 3-4 tricks per week and was always proud to show off when we went to school on Saturday mornings. Shannon, the instructor, was so impressed with him that she had us take an advanced class for free. Binks fell in love with a small Whippet in his class. He would run over to her each week and she would just cower with her tail between her legs. He would bark at her to try to get her attention, as if he was saying, "hey! I want to play!" That romance was doomed, but he never stopped trying.

When I was living in Long Beach, Binks came to visit me and we went to the dog beach. He played in the waves for hours until he was too tired to stand up anymore. Binks loved his ball. If I was too busy to throw it for him, he would play catch with himself. Binks also loved going for car rides, especially if he got to go through the drive through for a cheeseburger. But most of all, Binks loved to cuddle. He never caught onto the fact that he was a big boy. He would just plop all 125 pounds into my lap as soon as I sat down on the couch.

A few year ago, Binks started developing a limp in his front left leg. Since Binks was a natural performer, we all thought that he was just hamming it up. That was until we took him to the vet for his check up. Binks had bone cancer. The vet told us that we should just keep an eye on him and if it ever got to the point that he couldn't walk because he was in too much pain, we would need to put him down. For the last few weeks, Binks had been limping quite a bit and it was hard for him to get up and down the stairs of the apartment to go potty. Maria, my aunt, had been giving him pain medicine to help him get through the night without crying and last night she decided that Binks had suffered enough. This morning she took him to the vet and did the worst thing that any dog lover will have to do.

l_9203e222dea5f2affc39d6cc16019a85.jpgDogs are amazing animals and I have been so blessed to have Binks in my life. When I had to drive my sweet Cocker Spaniel, Hercules, to the vet for him to be put down, it was the worst experience I have ever had. Hercules was one of those dogs who loved everyone, and everyone loved him. After four years, I still miss him. I just hope that he and Binks are happy up in doggy heaven now that they're back together again. (Yes, I know this is about as logical as believing in the tooth fairy. But indulge me, folks. I'm a little sad today.)

I think the most fitting tribute that I can give either of my friends is to leave it open to our readers to post a love note to their four-legged friends. If you love your pooch or kitty, tell us why. I think they deserve the shout out.

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Now you have done it, you made me cry.

Even tough old trannies get emotional about their pets and other peoples. I must say that I am saddened by your loss, and understand what you are going through. Our pets are not just pets, they are family, like four legged furry children ( or two legged feathery, if you love birds, or no legged finny if you love fish, so on and so forth.).

About 4 years ago, my dear friend Percival passed on. I was devestated at the time. He had been pretty much my only companion for about 9 or so years. He was one of the good things to come from the breakup between me and my girlfriend. She got the house and her two cats Moladwi and Toladwi, and I got Percival. he was an orange and white english short hair, with a cut off crooked tail That he had lost before we found him. I would love to say he had the sweetest disposition, but that would be a lie. He would come to me when I would get home, make sure I gave him some love and affection, then go off and sleep somewhere. He wanted affection on his terms, and woe be those who disturbed him when he didn't want to be disturbed.

I still mourn for him.

I finally, in December of 2006 or so, deicded I was ready to love again, so I went down to the animal shelter and adopted Isolde. She is a three year old long haired tortise shell, with the loveliest long bushy tail that I have ever seen on any cat.

She is the complete opposite of Percival in many ways. She is a very loving and affectionate cat, snuggling up to me when I am laying in bed, always ready and wanting to be touched and stroked. She is as playful as a kitten or maybe two. Even when we play 'rough' she never uses her claws. She will nip at my hand, but not scratch. She is the reason I am still alive today.

When I lost my job, the first thoughts I had was it was time to kill myself. Thinking of Isolde though, I wondered who would care for her, and what would it do to her?

When I came home from Montreal and surgery, she would not leave my side and stayed cuddled near me for weeks. She followed me everywhere I went in the apartment, and if I went out to the store, she would be waiting by the door when I came home.

How could I leave someone who loved me so much?

Our animal companions are much more than just a pet or a possesion, they are a part of our family, and their loss can be just hard as losing any other loved one.

Again, my condolences for your loss.

Diddly, thank you for sharing. Isolde sounds like my Cassidy (she's in my contributor picture). She loves to sleep on the pillow next to my head, and I cannot go to sleep at night without her sitting on my chest, kneading her bread dough.

Our pets ARE our family. And we mourn their loss as much as anyone else in our family who passes on. I'm glad you have Isolde. She sounds like a good companion.

Please accept my sincere expression of sympathy.

When we sometimes get at our lowest points, it is an pet we have that isn't homophobic or transphobic. They just love us unconditionally.

Recently I went through a period of emotional turmoil. and it was my three kitties who helped me through it.

It is so sad when we lose one of our animal friends, but when they are with us, they bring us so much love and joy without being judgmental. They just love us. If only people were so smart....

I, too, believe there is a place in Heaven for our pets. If there is a place in Heaven for us, how could we find eternal happiness without some of the important pets with whom we shared our lives?

Binks will be there waiting for you some day.

We have 4 dogs and 2 cats (although we skipped both the partridge and the pear tree).

Poor Fritz (he's in my user icon) is ancient. He's pushing 17 now. He has a huge cancerous tumor on one of his back legs and he's mostly blind and deaf. When I wake up in the mornings now, the entire pack thunders downstairs for a potty break and breakfast, but I always have to wake Fritz up now and carry him downstairs to go potty. He can make it up the stairs, but down is something entirely different - especially when he's just woken up and is still stiff. He's had some really rough days lately, so I don't doubt that I'll be doing a similar post by the end of April or so. :(

Losing my cat Rikki was the hardest for me. She died two years ago, but I still think about her all the time. She'd lived to 17 too, but didn't have any health problems. She died suddenly after we fostered a kitten that ended up having parvo (boy, that would have been nice to know!). The kitten died after a week. Rikki died a week later.

My deepest sympathy, Serena. We love them as much as they love us. At least Binks isn't limping anymore - he's running around like mad chasing Hercules. (And maybe that Whippet will think again about his romantic overtures now that there's no one to judge! LOL)

As I sit here, I am listening to the gentle snore of my 15 year old pit bull terrier, Sasha. She is sleeping on a bed underneath my desk that I only made for her last year. She can no longer get on my own bed....and she has slept at my feet for her entire life. Arthritis has almost crippled her into immobility. Nothing in the world could keep her from me. She would have clawed her way through the wooden door to my bedroom if it had been closed.

Sasha is amazing. She has dispelled any myths about pit bulls being vicious. She has never once bitten another animal, even when they attacked her. She would defend herself by knocking them down with her paws, and stand on top of them until they indicated submission. She was fearless without being mean.

When I lived in NYC, she was just a baby. My friends who owned and worked at bars and restaurants used to let Sasha come inside with me, and sit on the barstools. She would sit quietly next to me, and drink from a martini glass filled with water sitting on the bar. And accept love and tribute from all of the customers who knew her. Sometimes, she would have a bite while she was out on the town. She would be served a hamburger at the bar, cut into pieces on her own little plate. That continued until she was all grown up at 5 years old - the doggy age of 35, and then I moved out of the City. Sasha didn't mind. She always made new friends wherever she went.

Sasha and I were inseparable. She came to work with me every day. She would follow beside me wherever I went. The ladies who worked with me would always spoil her with affection, and feed her little tidbits and scraps from their lunch. When I sat at my desk to work, she would quietly lay down by my feet.

Sasha loved the water. Her favorite game was retrieving a stick from the stream behind the job. All I had to do was say "swimming". She would jump up and down with excitement, and stay at my side as I walked to the back by the stream. Once I had found a suitable twig to throw into the water, she would jump up and down at the water’s edge in anticipation. Once I threw the stick, she would dive headlong into the stream with a ferocity. She would retrieve the stick and bring it to me, waiting anxiously for me to throw it once again, even when the stream was swollen with rain. The swift current never hindered her.

When I lost my job, I bought a little sailboat. I sailed it from Jersey down to Florida and back, on the outside. It was Sasha’s little boat. She loved sailing, and the ocean. She loved it when the dolphins swam near the boat. She would look over the safety net at them intently – it was obvious she wanted to go in the water and play. I kept her on a safety line so that she couldn’t jump overboard. When the sea got rough, Sasha would get frightened, though. She would not stay in the little cabin. She insisted on being in the boat’s cockpit with me, either at my side or in my lap. It was difficult at times, controlling the rudder of my little boat and consoling her at the same time. I wouldn’t have done it any differently, though. Sasha kept me from worrying about myself, and it helped me to deal with my own fear.

Sasha barely lived through an obstruction in her intestine. I had to drive her to a special pet hospital in the middle of the night with an IV stuck in her right fore leg, so they could perform the surgery. I didn’t have the money to pay for her surgery; I had to get a loan to keep her alive. Somehow, she made it. She lost some of her liveliness though. By that time she was 12.

Slowly, other things became more obvious. She didn’t hear as well. She walked differently - her gait had changed. That was the beginning of the arthritis. Her vision seemed to get worse and worse. The lens on her eyes had shifted. Now, if I don’t guide her she will walk into walls, or fall off a curb. Her right rear leg doesn’t work as well as her left one and she tends to walk in small circles. Her hind legs give out on her sometimes…she collapses while she is walking. I pick up her and hold her until she is steady, and we go on. I feed her special dinners now, things that she loves. Fresh grilled chicken, sausage – whole portions of what I am having for dinner. She has to lay down to eat or drink half the time. I know she won’t be with me for very much longer. Still, she loves when I scratch behind her ears. She loves to lay down at my feet, and have me rub her belly. She is my best friend. I can’t imagine life without her.

Shakay, thank you for your comment. I really like your idea of heaven. Heaven without dogs? That's like heaven without maccaroni & cheese.

Bil, I love that you guys have such a menagerie. I wish I could meet them all, especially Fritz.

Jeren, Sasha sounds like such a cool dog. I like the idea of a dog who is a bar fly AND a skipper! You should post a picture for us.