(This post is extremely important for me to keep a hold of. I wrote this the night before I took Rhea to the vet to end her suffering and this post means a lot to me)
This is the story of a dog. A dog who started out as a horrible animal that had me thinking “What the hell have I gotten myself into?!” mere hours after adopting her.
I have partial complex seizure disorder and the dog I had been training as a service dog mysteriously died at the young age of 2. I suspect my abusive boyfriend at the time had something to do with her death, only I was too afraid of him and what he had threatened to do to my family to do anything about it.
A few months after her death, I was having seizures with more frequency and decided that I seriously needed a new service dog. I absolutely did not want another dog, the death of Trakker left me utterly heart broken, but I went in search of a new dog anyway. My friend came along with me and we were off to the Colorado Humane Society. I saw HER in the kennel and we took her out to interact with us one on one. She was 4 or 5 years old and extremely sweet. She seemed to be begging us to get her out of that hell hole. As I was still mourning for Trakker, I was hesitant to adopt the first dog I had seen. My friend and I left the shelter and started to drive an hour north to Denver to look at the dogs at another shelter. On the way up, I kept talking about HER on the way up there until finally My friend asked me if I would like to turn around and just go get her. And so we did.
I needed something at Lowes so I took My friend home and took the new dog with me. They had changed their policy on allowing pets inside and so I rolled down the windows and left her in the car as I would only be in there for a few minutes. When I came back out, there was a man outside my car holding his arm and I could tell it was bleeding. I called the cops and when they came they asked the guy what he was doing to get bit by the dog and he told them he was just reaching inside my car. Turns out he was trying to steal my car’s stereo!!
We got home and I let her get to know the apartment. I left to go somewhere and left her loose. When I came back, she had completely destroyed all the blinds in the apartment and had eaten an entire unopened pack of cigarettes! Off to the vet we went and on the way home, I bought a kennel. When I went to work the next day I made sure she was comfortable in it and when I came home it was to an angry neighbor at my door. According to him she had howled the entire 6 hours I was gone. I didn’t believe him so I set up a video camera the next day to prove him wrong. Yeah, I had to eat crow that day as the tape showed 6 hours if her howling nonstop!!!
I convinced my manager to let me bring her to work with me (it wasn’t that hard as I worked at Petsmart) and we began her training by enrolling her in my trainer friend Steve’s basic class. As I got to know her better through the class, I noticed that she didn’t know how to even play with toys! Steve suggested we put her in one of his puppy classes to teach her how to be a real dog and she thrived there. It didn’t take long for her to master the highest level of training class available. There had been a huge change in the dog I had adopted a year ago at that point.
Oh, I have so many great memories of this amazing animal, it would take me years to tell you about all of them! Do I choose the ones where she has literally saved my life? Helped me leave an abusive relationship where if I had stayed, we probably wouldn’t still be alive today? I have memories of her where she taught me about life, living on my own, courage, bravery, friendship, heartbreak…. You name it, this dog has given it to me… She was there when I met the love of my life (and tried to eat him when he came home from work and tried to go to bed haha), loss of friendship, gaining friendships, the birth of my first child. I can’t even begin to pay her back for all of those things.
I only hope that I am strong enough to stay with her tomorrow as she takes her last breath and the greatest dog who ever lived is gone from this earth. Thank you Rhea for helping make me the person I am today. You will be sorely missed but at least you won’t have to suffer any longer.
Lowe, Hunter, Mollee, Trakker, and Merlin, please look after my girl for me. I’ll see you all again someday.
All my love…..