Dooby

*Note: my apologies up front for this long, raw, post. I had to get it out. You may hate me after reading this.

When Rooferman and I first got together, I gave him a dog. My gay friend’s hairdresser told me about a pit bull that a single mom was being forced to get rid of. She was going through a horrible divorce, had 2 kids and was working 2 jobs. She didn’t have time to take care of him, but she loved him so much she didn’t want to just send him to the pound.

Rooferman had mentioned that he wanted a pit bull if he ever got another dog, so I told my gay friend I we should take a trip down to New Mexico and check out the dog.

It was the middle of winter. We walked up to a shoddy-looking trailer, where an exhausted 20-something woman invited us in. Two kids were hanging off what looked like a miniature white horse. The dog stood about thigh-high, and had the biggest head I had ever seen. His jowls drooped in pink curtains, and he had chestnut patches splotched over his white skin. His eyes were calm and kind, as if he didn’t even feel the little rug-rats tugging on his ears.

The single mom bent down and hugged her dog when we said we would take him. As she stood up, we could see tears in her eyes. She loved this dog. We assured her we would take good care of him. He immediately refused to sit in the backseat of my car. Instead, he situated all 80 lbs on my lap, and farted the entire way home.

Rooferman was delighted when I presented him with this monster of a dog. Being good Stoners, we decided to name him “Dooby”, though most of the time we just called him “Doob” or the “Doobster.” He was a tank. The most lovable, happy, mellow tank in the world.

Of course, a lot of things happened between the day I brought Dooby home, and what eventually led up to the following events. We moved 4 times in the next 6 months. We got engaged.  I quit my job. We lived out of our car. We moved to New Orleans. We got pregnant. My gay friend got arrested. We moved into Rooferman’s parent’s house. He got another pit bull. We moved into a spider-infested cabin where LB eventually joined us.

I don’t really want to go into the depths of the misery I was living in after I had LB. My student loans had defaulted. Collection agencies were calling me. I was living off WIC and my daughter was living off my breast milk. Our propane was shut off. I never saw any money after I became solely dependent on Rooferman.

Then Dooby got hurt. One day he started limping, and eventually it got to the point where he was snapping at people, getting into fights with other dogs. It was obvious he was in awful pain, and it was causing him to react violently. We knew it had to be his ACL.

Our dog needed surgery, and I was completely helpless. I had spent every penny of my own money. I had no car. I had no job. I had an infant on Medicaid. I didn’t know what to do.

At this point, Rooferman had started to show his true colors. He was angry most of the time, and the stresses of our life had sent him into chronic physical and emotional shut-down. He would spend hours locked in our room, alternated with hours in the bathroom. Sometimes he just wouldn’t come home at all. He consumed copious amounts of weed to kill the pain. I don’t think he could bear to see the condition of our little family.

After Dooby had bit our neighbor’s dog and drew enough blood to require stitches, Rooferman said these fateful words to me:

“Take him to the pound, or I’m shooting him.”

I retaliated. How could he ask me to do this? I screamed and cried, refusing to take him to the pound where they would most certainly euthanize him. He was a 80-pound pit bull with a torn ACL, what good Samaritan was going to adopt that? While Rooferman was at work, I frantically called vets, asking for payment plans on surgeries. I dreaded the sound of a diesel engine, which meant Rooferman had returned home.

Maybe I was still in love with him at that point. Maybe I really didn’t think he would do it. Maybe I wanted to see what type of man I really was living with. Maybe I was in basic survival mode, and couldn’t think of anything other than making sure my baby was ok. Or maybe I should have blocked the door as Rooferman led Dooby outside. Maybe I was just a coward.

I never saw our dog again.

I feel sick as I’m typing this story. I feel disgust, regret, anger, guilt, pain and grief when I think about what happened to Dooby. I think about the single mom who hugged him the day he became part of our family. I think about the long, lonely days taking care of LB, with only my dog to keep me company. I think of choice Rooferman presented me that day, and how it killed just a little bit more of my faith in him.

I’ve tried to forget a lot of what happened during my relationship with LB’s dad, but sometimes it all comes crashing back. I probably wouldn’t have written this at all, except last night I had a dream about Dooby.

 I dreamed I saw a white dog laying on the side of the road. I stopped the car I was driving and got out. The dog was beaten, bruised, bloody, barely alive. I called Animal Control. I saw that Rooferman’s name was on his name tag. Animal Control arrived and I said I wanted to make a report against Rooferman for cruelty to animals. The guy from Animal Control looked at my dog and shook his head. “He doesn’t look that bad,” he said. He picked Dooby up and threw him in the back of his truck. Then he drove off, and I ran after him, screaming and crying for him to bring my dog back.

I don’t know why I had this dream, or what it means, but I’ve been upset all day about it. I guess that’s why I’m blogging, because I can’t get it off my mind. I don’t know if its because I’m on this Deja Vu/Memory research kick, but ironically, I’m reading this parenting book about dealing with your unresolved issues before you pass them on to your kids. Maybe my brain is telling me I’m obviously not over this.

I don’t know what to say to you, Dooby. I’m sorry I let this happen to you. I wish your life wasn’t cut short the way it was. I miss you, and I loved you very much. I hope you are in a better place.

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25 thoughts on “Dooby

  1. Your ex was a bad person. You can’t take responsibility for what he did. Yes, it would have been good if you had been in a better place in your life and could have done things differently. Yes, you can regret it and wish you could have a “do-over.”
    But that’s life. We all learn from our mistake and the mistakes we see other make. Forgive yourself.

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  2. Rest in Peace Dooby, if Grady had known, we would have adopted you. Don’t worry about things that are in the past and can’t change, Hanna. Focus on now and remember what you’ve learned.

    “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift… that’s why we called it the present.”

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  3. Regrets will kill you.

    You were doing the best you could and you are in a much better place now.

    Your brutal honesty is so welcome to those of us beating us up over our past sins.

    Yesterday has past, tomorrow hasn’t happened yet, worry about today.

    I’m sure in his heart that dog knew you loved him.

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  4. OK, I’m bawling. Dooby will be waiting for you at the rainbow bridge. I certain of it. (((hugs)))

    I just gave you an award because I love your blog so much. You can find it on my newest post.

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  5. “I’ve tried to forget a lot of what happened during my relationship with LB’s dad, but sometimes it all comes crashing back.”

    I know, oh do I know. I’m so sorry you had this dream. I hate how some dreams can be so powerful that they affect your waking life. You didn’t do anything wrong and I don’t hate you! My ex’s dog who spent many lonely days and nights with me recently passed away. I balled like a little baby when I learned of her passing, she had become a dear friend. Dooby knew you loved him, dogs are special in that sense.

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  6. Hugs to you, Hanna! I do think that you’re right about the universe testing us (and of course I don’t mind you using me as an example!) I’ve also been overwhelmed by thoughts of the past recently but as others have mentioned, no good comes from beating ourselves up over things that we can’t change. Dooby knew that you loved him just as LB knows that you love her and are doing the best you can for her. Hang in there!

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  7. I think you’re at a place now where you’re strong enough to deal with these memories. They still happen to me from time to time. The first encounter can cause some serious emotional flashbacks, but I do believe that they are part of the healing process and that they occur when we can find a way to accept them as part of our past.

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  8. Wow this is pretty heavy and yet you have such compassion and hoe in this post too…Dooby knew where you were and even though may not be with you in physical form is still with you in spirit. May you find peace with Dooby…much love, G

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  9. My stepdad did the same thing to my mother’s cat when we were little. He did it on the back porch in the middle of winter. You can imagine what that porch looked like. And how hard it was to clean up. This world is full of bad people who do awful things, and it’s not your fault. And no one could ever hate you for not knowing what to do about your dog while also trying to keep your new baby alive and well. ((hugs))

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  10. You make the best decisiosn you can based on the information you have at the time. Period. I feel for you, I really do, but you can’t change it, and you are not the same person you were then. Rooferman clearly is, though.

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  11. Aw, your post made me cry. Doobie is most definitely in a good place. We all do the best we can at any given point in time. It was another lifetime ago. Love you lots!

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  12. such a sad story.. but you mustn’t blame yourself. that rooferman is a heartless bastard, and he’ll get his karma one way or another. dooby dog is in a better place, and he knows you loved him. you did the best you could under the circumstances.

    i feel your pain. someone ran over my cat last year, and it happened because i let her out of the house (she was an indoor cat) and then left her out there all day to fend for herself. i couldn’t take care of her properly, and take care of myself and the baby as a single mother, it was all too much. i still blame myself for her death, and it’s too painful to think about. one day i’ll blog about it too.

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