Elle, there are moments in our lifetime that our resolve and emotions are tested at times of great loss. When we lose someone in our lives that we love, it takes great strength and courage to make it through and recognize the time you have on this Earth is precious. I hope you only have to experience this a few times in your long, fruitful life. Yesterday we lost our family member, our boston terrier Major. Words cannot describe my grief. He was our first “baby.”
Your dad and I got him at a farm in Granbury, TX in 2008. We had been looking for a dog for a while and I remember us finding a sign and driving towards this farm. There were about 20 dachshund and boston terrier puppies running around with their parents. They were are all so adorable. There was this one little guy with one black spot on his head and eye that peered out from his siblings. He was unique, yet friendly and cautious enough for us to take notice amongst all the black and white puppies. He came to us and then scampered under a crate where he watched me with his apple-shaped head. The lady told me that it was unusual to have a boston with those markings and it meant he was smart. I’m sure she was pulling my leg, but she didn’t need to sell him. Eventually he came out to me and played with us…he was our dog. We took him home that day and named him Major. Your dad says it was because of his ranking in the house. I say it was after one of my favorite UT QBs and how his head was shaped like an apple.
We lived in Fort Worth where I worked as a consultant and your dad was getting his MBA at TCU. We rented this quaint little home where we built a dog ramp and door through the living room window so we could train him. We also took him to training school as a family to teach him some basics. Was there any doubt he graduated at the top of his class? He was a smart puppy. He also was very loving, as when I was on the road during the week, he would lay in your dad’s lap while he studied and kept him company. Some nights, he would whine and your dad would have to put his foot in the crate next to the bed, sleeping with one foot off of the bed so Major would not cry. He was your dad’s first experience with a “crying infant at night.”
Elle, I have cried more hours than I have not in the last 12. We came home(actually Julia’s house since we’re in the middle of moving) from breakfast and you fell asleep in the car. As always, Major came out to greet us. You were asleep, so I carried you into the house and was trying to get ready for a conference call for work. In all my haste to get you down to nap and get on my call, I didn’t notice he wasn’t around…until it was too late. It started raining and when I noticed he wasn’t running around and when I went to call for him, I didn’t see his joker-like smile or hear his collar. I went outside to look for him and it was raining. I called for him. I hoped someone took him inside and called your dad whose number was on his collar. I called your dad and he said no one had. Once the rain subsided, I got into the car and as I went to put you in the car, I was horrified to see Major’s back legs sticking out of the backseat. Instead of following us into the house again when we went in, Major slipped into the car. Rigor had already set in. I tried to get him out, but it was too late. Tears started immediately as I checked to see if there was anything I could do. Heatstroke had taken him and he was gone. I sat on the front porch and cried for hours as I waited for your dad and auntie Julia to come home.
I cannot tell you the guilt that hit me at that moment as well as the utter feeling of loss and sadness I had for our puppy. Why didn’t I just double check the car? Why didn’t I think to call him in again? What kind of person am I to accidentally lock my poor puppy in a car in Texas? I then start thinking about how you ask for Major at bed every night and call our “Mabor!” so he can sleep on the floor next to you and how when your dad gets home you ask for his “lees” to go for a walk and you always make sure you have your hat and his ball. Then we leave and put him in his crate at home, how you always want to give him a “teet” for being a good boy. He was a good boy. I am so saddened by the fact you have lost a childhood friend…really a sibling and playmate. He let you do almost anything to him and was patient with you even if it was annoying…like a good older brother should. He never bit you or showed you any aggression even though you “took his place” in the house as top dog at birth. He loved you…and I was careless and now he’s gone.
We buried him in the backyard of your auntie Julia’s house because that’s where we are while we are moving out of our home and looking for a new one. Your yeye, ngoai, aunt Julia, uncle Johnny, mom and dad were there. We put him on his bed, with his favorite toys and you put in a tennis ball. We said our good byes and you said “nigh-night” to our friend as I told you that that was where he was going to sleep from now on. You blew him kisses and as we put dirt over his body, you also put some on top of him too to keep him warm. Afterwards, your ye ye got some incense and we performed a little Buddhist ritual for him…just like we would do with any other family member. Ye ye says it’s so his spirit will be free. I hope that’s so. I apologized profusely to Major and begged him to forgive me for being so absent-minded. I only hope he does…as it will take me time to do so myself. Your dad tells me with being pregnant with your brother, taking care of you, working, and moving that I had a lot on my mind and that people make mistakes everyday, but I’m not quite sure I will recover completely from this one.
I don’t know what to do or say at this point except to tell you how sorry I am Elle. I don’t know if you’ll remember Major when you get older, but at this juncture of your life, he was very much a part of your every day. I know I will never forget this little guy and his joker-smile, endless fervor for fetching, loving personality, and overall greatness as a pet and family member. I have tons of little videos of you and him having a blast. From you CRACKING UP at his kisses from a very young age, to you waking up and saying good morning to him. Just like in this post: http://elleparker.tumblr.com/post/8212714138/major-you-have-a-friend-in-a-three-year-old It makes me so sad to think that won’t happen every morning. I keep hoping to hear his collar or see his smile. I even would tolerate one of his licking fits or throw the ball 100 times for him, but now we have memories…great ones of a fantastic dog.
Like I said at the beginning of this, loss is something we all have to deal with at some point of our lives. Major’s passing was too sudden and early. Those are always the most difficult…especially when guilt is involved. Time will get us through this and his memory will live on. Elle, I hope you and your brother will have a dog just as great as he is. It will probably take a while for your mom to be ready for another dog, but you two will eventually get one and we will tell that one about Major and how he has some big paws to live up to and love that dog as much as Major. Until then, we will watch videos on my phone as you laugh at yourself and I will probably shed a few tears.
Rest in peace, dear friend. Major, I’m so sorry and hope you knew how much we appreciated and loved you. As you would say, Elle “Good dog. Good Mabor. Wuv you. Nigh-Night.”