*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.