Friday, February 25, 2011
Tragedy struck this week and we lost the smallest and scruffiest member of our little family…
11 years ago my ex-girlfriend dragged me to the Atlanta Humane Society to kill some time before a movie. I knew she wanted another dog but considering how much I disliked living with her current pooch, I was vehemently against bringing in another mongrel.
About 10 minutes into me poo-pooing every little puppy she pointed out, she suddenly went over to one of the cages on the wall, grabbed something black out of it and forced it upon me. I begrudgingly reached out and pulled the shaking thing towards me and said “I don’t even know what this thing is, but it is coming home with us!”. She was a two-time loser at the pound being brought in, adopted and then brought back again. I was smitten. I named her Gertrude.
She was a strange looking and acting dog to say the least. Her head was 3 times the size of her body, she was in severe need of canine braces, her hair was something straight from the mind of Dr. Seuss and she refused to be held or even pet. It wasn’t until my ex became my ex and was moving out that we found all the items that had mysteriously disappeared over the past couple of months. A razor, a spoon, pieces of paper, hair rubber bands, tissues…they all came flying out of the bottom of the box spring where Gertie had made a slit and stuffed her treasures. I think she was just a foster kid who had been dumped before, so this time she was collecting what she could for possible trades once back in the slammer.
Once when staying with my mother she decided to take her chances on finding her way home and was picked up by a lady on the on-ramp to the interstate. Having lived with my mother for 18 years, I couldn’t blame her.
We moved in with a friend where Gert became best buds with a cat named Pooty who used to climb on her back to reach the treats on a second shelf. A year later and we moved in with the bestie and the very first night she decided to head out the open door to troll the streets of the Highlands. She narrowly escaped becoming the dog of an Alabama queen that night, but fate always kept us together.
By this time she had finally grown into her head and became more and more affectionate. Each morning when the sun came through my bedroom window, she’d sit on the pillow next to my head and stare a hole in me until I’d wake up and raise the covers so she could scurry under and nestle down at my feet and sleep until I dragged her out of bed. She’d wait patiently at the door until the wee hours of the morning when Pablo and I would return home from the bars, holding out for the chance of getting a bite of whatever fast food we had picked up on our way home at 3am. She was a huge fan of a Krystal.
At 2 years old she happily welcomed her second mother and reluctantly put up with her new sister, Maggie. Thankfully Maggs never gave up trying to win her over and eventually they became constant playmates. Jules taught her how to fetch a ball and how to actually listen and mind. Together we settled into a domestic life of stability and more love than we knew what to do with.
She was a rotten dog who’d bark at a leaf falling in a 10 mile radius or just nothing at all, she would roll around in anything disgusting she found outside, loved eating cat poop and would stop 103 times on a walk to mark her territory. She was also smart as a whip and would learn any trick you threw at her if it meant a treat was coming.
Leaving Gert behind when we left to travel was harder than I could have imagined and I cried hysterically the entire ride from Athens to Atlanta and randomly throughout the years whenever I thought of how much I missed her little Fraggle butt. We were beyond grateful for our wonderful friends who took care of her while we were gone and loved her as their own.
Losing her this week was losing a chunk of my heart- a very scruffy, monkey-like piece of my heart.
She was the best Gert she could be, which wasn’t very good, but she was ours and we loved her more than life.
You will be forever missed, Monkey. Forever.
Rest in peace, sweet girl...