Three years of me and Doug.

In late Summer of 2016, two very different versions of me existed. Both versions, were heartbroken to have just lost Jake.

Sad Tracey, otherwise known as the artist formally known as me, ached in ways I was unprepared for. Missing Jake (and Melvin) aside, the house was dog-less for the first time since I’d had dogs AND the house was empty. This version of me couldn’t bring myself to meet dogs because it was too soon, even though I knew the emptiness of the house might suffocate me. This version of me found comfort in dark places.

Desperate Tracey, otherwise known as survivor-mode-me, kept screaming inside of Sad Tracey’s head that fixing the empty house part would help. That getting a dog, despite every theory of when is ‘too soon’, was an easy solution to a very, very big problem.

Sad Tracey pulled most of the strings and screamed FU to thoughts of a dog, there would never be another dog in this house, not ever. The current heartbreak was too unbearable.

Desperate Tracey went rogue and adopted Doug.

That was three years ago. Today there is (thankfully) just one version of me. The me that has loved and lost and found more love. The me that joyfully hops through life with Doug, as Melvin and Jake love lives on in us both.

Doug came into this home six weeks after Jake died. He didn’t get the best version of me, which is funny in a way because Melvin joined my home as Max was dying and he didn’t get the best of me either. Dogs don’t always need the best of you, as long as the worst of you is still based in goodness and love.

Dearest Doug,

We started off in a complicated way. I fought loving you because it felt like a betrayal to Jake, and you were pretty intent on eating my feet, literally. You and I had to compromise  a lot for each other. I had to make room for you in my broken heart and you had to deal with some pretty intense mouthing urges. Both were high hurdles.

After three years, all of that is a bit of a blur now. When I walk in the house and I see you, my heart beats with pure joy. I love you fiercely. It seems like you have always been here and I pray that is how it feels for you too. There was another version of you at one time also, but that discarded dog has found a forever with me.

I look at you and think, you are so much like Melvin and Jake. I guess that has a lot to do with you each getting the same love from me. But you are also, very much, Doug. With your odd bursts of crazy, and your love of destruction. I think the disruptive parts of you, are what moved us both forward at the beginning. I think my love has calmed some of your anxiety. Prozac has helped too.

I see you bud. I know you, I know you better than you know you. My life is about you now and I wouldn’t have it any other way. You make me laugh. You destroy my things but you remind me, things are nothing compered to you being happy and safe. There is nothing that you can throw at me that I won’t see you through. 

Then there is your breed. You being a hippopotamus and all. I have had to verbally defend you to people who don’t even know you.  I have had to explain, it is not how they are raised, it is in fact, the here and the now of who YOU are. The same as it is the here and now of who I am. I vow to always share your wacky ways in hopes that it will educate those who don’t know, just how silly and loving hipppos can be.

In the next year, there will come a moment that I will have had you, for as long as I had Jake. And in the moment that follows that one, I will have had you longer. Time is funny, how it marches on. I can’t control how long I have with each of you, I can only choose to focus on maximum joy and love with the time we are given.

Too soon is a barrier that broken hearts put up for protection. The leap I took with you, is everything now. 

I love you with my whole heart. Three looks really beautiful on us. 

Love, your s(mother). xoxo


13 thoughts on “Three years of me and Doug.

  1. I have loved following your journey with Doug. Thank you for letting us be a part of it! I am adapting to my new norm of no dogs in the house and Desperate Patty is unhappy with it and contemplates kidnapping Swyatt. The other Patty is thrilled that Swy has flourished in Memphis and knows he is in the right place.

  2. Congrats on your 3 years! Time really does fly! Lucky for you both that you found each other, like you said, it suits you both so well. I can appreciate the need to have another dog, and I believe that if you can afford to, and have love to give, it is a win win situation, even though it may be hard after loss. I can still remember all the dogs at the pound who were waiting for their homes when I adopted Noel. If I ever won the lotto, more than a few would be living with me!

    • You are so right. I thought Jake would be my biggest bank breaker, but Doug needed new legs at age one. I’m so thankful for insurance on him. I always say that if I ever won lotto, I’d start an old dog sanctuary. ❤️

  3. Happy 3rd anniversary! I just love Doug, he’s an adorable hunk of a man :). We’re still settling into our new normal of being a one dog home. Toss in a total knee replacement surgery for me a week ago and we’re doing surprisingly ok. Our wild girlie girl has become my nanny dog and barely leaves my side. I think we both need each other right now. Also, I truly believe love lives on now. The last thing I saw before going under for surgery was an image of my boy, and me with my arm around him. I think it was his way of telling me he was ok and I’d be ok. Feeling less conflicted about our decision and I hope it really was him telling me it was ok.

    • This gave me all the feels. Your current nurse and your angel working together to look over you. I think you should know that no one knows what they are doing when it comes to making decisions at the end. But it’s important to remember, that the end was going to come. Making the decision was love at work. Melvin and Jake both had terminal cancers. I let them both go on good days, when struggle was minimal and joy was plentiful. They each had more time, but I loved them too much to wait for collapse or pain that couldn’t be treated well. I had to give them all the love in my heart, but a decision made with love is the only way to go. ❤️🌈❤️

  4. Happy 3 years together! I have to say, this line, “I can’t control how long I have with each of you, I can only choose to focus on maximum joy and love with the time we are given” is one that I’m really struggling with right now. But it’s so true. Focus on the joy!

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