Sad dog

Randy took Andy for a walk the other day down our alley. As he’s walking the dog, he hears a group of kids playing basketball and yelling out court instructions in their back yard.

Just like it once was in our driveway.

To Randy, it immediately inspired memories of how Charles would go out and shoot hoops. By the way, he was a terrible basketball player. Much better at baseball. But he loved to get a game of friends together and play.

So Andy is pulling at his leash and Randy just undoes the leash and lets him go. The dog is so excited. Andy bounds up  all happy-go-lucky to the players and smells each of them.

Then Andy comes back to Randy, ears back, looking completely dejected. They were not the people he expected. They weren’t Charles. Or Charles’ peeps.

I swear that dog thought Charles would be playing on that court when he heard that familiar sound.

When I walked in from my errand, the dog is on the couch still looking depressed. And as Randy told the story, we both cried. Our dog does remember Charles and he misses him. Still. I really had no idea. I wonder if there are other things that trigger his memory. Like it does us.

Fast forward two days later. Randy is at a gas station. This youngish looking man is by the light pole outside the gas station as Randy is pumping gas. He sees the young man go in and the cashier yell at him. The young man leaves. Apparently just short of enough money to get something cold to drink on a hot day.

Randy goes over to give him a couple of dollars. After all, that is somebody’s son.  It could have been Charles at one time.

Right before Randy gets over there, he notices the young man is crying so asks him if everything is OK. The young man says animal control took his dog away four days ago. He had been on the street with that dog for four years and he loved that animal. It was all he had that mattered. He was broken. And lonely. The one thing that meant something to him was taken. All Randy could say was, “I’m so sorry. I know how much a dog can mean to a person.”

The story that had me in tears as Randy told it. I know the dog might have a better home. Maybe he was undernourished. But he had managed to keep the dog alive all that time. I don’t know all the circumstances but there is something that doesn’t feel right about their taking that dog. I know that dog loved that young man, too. He’ll feel the hurt of separation.

It reminded me of how much Andy meant to Charles. It reminded me of how Charles begged in middle school and I didn’t get him a dog and how guilty I feel about that now.  He really needed a dog. I didn’t understand why but now I do. We did get him a dog at fifteen and our pup slept every night with Charles until Charles got sent away. Not plan A. Not something we ever wanted to do.

Dogs offer so much unconditional love. No matter how many drugs you do, how poor your circumstances, or how many times you fail yourself or others, your dog loves you and is there for you.

We could all learn something from that.

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my youngest son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Professional Speaker Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

6 thoughts on “Sad dog”

  1. Dear Anne,
    Dogs can help save the lives of people who are lonely or depressed.They are so perceptive and so loyal. I am sure Andy still misses Charles. When my husband Kevin died by suicide, our dog Ruby did not eat for three days. When I mention Kevin’s name, her ears still perk up. I have told you about the struggles we have had with my son, Brett. He lives in a rooming house in Chicago. But he walks two dogs everyday to earn money. Those two dogs love Brett and cheer him up every day. He knows they depend on him and they have helped relieve his depression. You and your husband are very kind and thoughtful people who help others everyday. Thank you.

  2. I’ve never had a pet like a dog though I have lived briefly with a cats. The kids had tons of hamsters over the years and I know I was very attached to them so I can only imagine Charles and Andy or anyone and their dog.

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