Wyatt – March 2014 Photo by Amanda Keillor
Okay, so I need to have a moment to let it all out.
My dog died on Thursday. I know some of you aren’t “dog people”, and might not get this…but my dog, Wyatt, was probably the coolest dog to roam the planet.
I found Wyatt on a website for Boxer rescue in Georgia back in 2004. We decided to get another dog for our other dog, Murphy. Murphy had a lot of health problems, and couldn’t play with most dogs, so we wanted him to have a buddy.
Wyatt was rescued from the pound, just days before he was scheduled to be put down. He was in bad shape…he had mange, had been starved, and could barely stand up from lack of muscles in his hind legs. The rescue wasn’t sure they could save him, but he had a heart of gold and they didn’t give up on him. He was given the name Wyatt, after Wyatt Earp because it was “cowboy” month at the dog rescue. He was nursed back to health, and put up for adoption. The moment I saw him, I had to have him. He was so dang cute in that picture…his tongue hanging out with a happy grin on his face.
I filled out all the forms (12 pages), and waited to see if they’d accept us to adopt a dog. I was so nervous, and anxious. They finally called, and scheduled an appointment for us to meet, Wyatt, and to do a house inspection. The second he jumped out of the car and raced around the back yard like a lightning bolt, I fell in love. I had put a bowl of water out for the dogs…Wyatt was in dire need of a drink, and went head first into the bowl and splashed the water all over. It looked like a motor boat had started it’s engine. I remember looking at my husband, and thinking “oh my God”. He was adorable, and his tongue was still hanging out. It turned out that his tongue was a bit paralyzed, and he didn’t have full control over it.
Luckily, they said we could adopt my boy, Wyatt, and a week later he came to live with us. Murphy loved having a buddy, and Wyatt loved having a home where he was safe and loved. Those two were inseparable. They slept together, they ate together, they did everything together. They were happy, and so was I.
We ended up moving shortly after getting Wyatt to Virginia, and we had some medical issues with him too. He got bit by a Black Widow spider, and ended up losing a toe. He then slid into a doorway, and cranked his neck really good…ended up with an MRI, and lots of bed rest. Still, he was loving and just so glad to be taken care of so well.
Our next move sent Wyatt and Murphy to Switzerland. Wyatt was not a fan of flying, and I think he ended up having some major anxiety after the flights. I walked the boys through vineyards, and by the lake all the time. They enjoyed barking at the people passing our house, and laying in the sun. Unfortunately, Murphy passed away while living in Switzerland. Wyatt was pretty lost for a long time. He kept looking out the window, wondering when he was going to come home. But, he never did.
Not too long after Murphy’s passing, we moved to Belgium. Now, Wyatt was about 8 years old at this point, and pretty mellowed out…but he still enjoyed his walks without a doubt. He had gotten bloat right after moving and I thought I was going to lose him then, but he recovered and with another surgery to attach his stomach to his abdomen, he kept on going. After that trauma, something was different about him. He still had a sparkle in his eye, but he was just much more cautious. We walked the forest and had playdates with our puppy friends in the neighborhood. He was always so much slower than the other dogs, but he enjoyed playing with them for at least a little while.
We found out we were moving to Mexico when Wyatt was 10. And, I was so nervous at the thought of moving him across the world again. We decided to send him to my parent’s for the summer…flying during the summer isn’t a good idea for dogs, and especially not good for boxers. My dad fell in love with Wyatt. He walked him, and hung out with him every night. Wyatt never liked his ears touched, but my dad would play with them. I think Wyatt would have been happy to keep on living with my parent’s, but it was time to move on to Mexico.
I sent Wyatt to my husband in Mexico, and I followed a few days later. I think he liked the milder weather, except for the extreme thunderstorms. Wyatt hated thunder, and the poor dog probably endured more thunderstorms in one rainy season than he did in his entire life. Not to mention the Mexican love of fireworks…he hated those too. Panting and pacing…just waiting for whatever damn celebration was taking place!
My old boy aged a lot during his 8 months in Mexico. He really slowed down, didn’t eat very well, and looked a lot older. He still went for a walk nearly everyday. And, enjoyed being pampered by our maid. I think one thing that aged him a bit more was the introduction of our newest rescue dog, Chica. She’s a young little girl, and loves to play all the time. I think Wyatt could have cared less if she was in the house or not, but he tolerated her for the most part.
I knew that I wouldn’t leave Mexico with Wyatt by my side, but I didn’t think that I would lose him so suddenly. My little buddy was fighting a losing battle before my eyes, and I didn’t even know it. He hadn’t been feeling well for a few weeks, and I figured it was old age and arthritis. It turned out to be a tumor the size of a small watermelon and a day I’ll never forget. The look on his face as he laid waiting for our vet to come to the house said it all to me…It was like he was saying goodbye. We both knew whatever it was that was causing this pain was too big for us to overcome. I remember saying, “Just let go.”
That morning was the last time I saw my buddy. I knew he wasn’t coming back to me, but I couldn’t help but hope I was wrong. I kissed his face, said goodbye, but never stopped looking into his big brown eyes. I can only imagine how scared he must have been. Later that afternoon, Wyatt passed away on the operating table, and my heart broke to pieces.
I know he was a dog. But, he was more than a dog to me. He followed me around the world, and was my constant symbol of security. He was the sweetest dog, but looked as if he could kill you. He kept me company when I was alone, but reassured me that he would always be there.
I miss you, Wyatt.
Just a note…Please don’t think I don’t miss Murphy as well. He was my first fur baby, and will always hold a special place in my heart. Murphy had some definitely funny characteristics, including the love of birthday cake and baby wipes. He was hard to grieve for too.
It’s just that Wyatt has been there for all of my expat moves, and those have been some difficult times to get through when you don’t have any friends, etc. He was my constant friend.