Forewarning: I typically post short, humorous, light posts. This one is a little different.
You all remember Captain, right?
Captain was my dog before Zack and I started dating. (I mean, he still is my dog… I’ve just had him since before I met Zack.)
I was engaged and living with The Ex when I saw Captain’s picture on a pet adoption website. The puppy was adorable, and yet, something was a little off. One eye was larger than the other giving him a wonky, something-is-not-right-with-me look, thus no one seemed to want to adopt him. I immediately fell in love and decided he would be mine. I shot an email off to the shelter telling them how I thought he would make the perfect addition to my family. They wrote backing informing me that I could, indeed, adopt the little buggar. It was a 10 hour round trip in the sweltering heat of summer, but I didn’t care.
Once at the agreed upon meeting spot, I could barely contain my excitement. The shelter sent an older woman to deliver Captain to me. She handed the pup over, and my heart melted. I noticed his wonky eye was not actually so – it looked as if someone had drawn black eyeliner around one eye, thus resulting in the look of one being larger than the other. After the paperwork was signed I hopped in the car, Captain in my lap, and the first thing he did as my dog… was pee on me.
I had the next couple days off, and I was happy I did. He was so tiny, so fragile, so dependant on me. I can’t imagine the feeling of bringing home a child; it must be a hundred fold more. I grew accustom to Captain’s companionship. In the first several months he was sick often – throwing up, diarrhea, you name it. He eventually grew out of it, but there were many trips and phone calls to the vet in that time. A delicate puppy, he even had his own medicine when I took him in the car. Without it he would make himself so sick I had to take him to the vet for liquids. The poor guy has had more IV’s than me.
When my relationship with The Ex began to fall apart, I was accepting. In a way I always knew it would end. The part that tore me apart the most was the thought of losing my Captain. I lived in The Ex’s house. I had no idea where I would be living when things ended, and knew that I couldn’t drag along innocent Captain when I had no stable environment for him. I was also terrified to leave him with The Ex for fear he would be left home for 14 hours a day while The Ex was away at work. I made up my mind that I would ask if The Ex’s sister could adopt him. I knew he would have a good home and there would be plenty of love for him there. I knew it, yet I was torn apart inside. For days on end when I got home from work I crawled in bed with Captain and lay next to him, cuddling and crying. Typically when I got home from work all Captain would want to do is play, play, play, but he knew something was different. He lay there with me, just looking at me, kissing the tears from my cheeks.
Finally, the day came when the relationship came to an end. I didn’t even have to ask The Ex if his sister could adopt him – he just drove him out there. I never got to say goodbye.
I was busy nursing my wounds and picking up the pieces of my shattered life. I moved in with my parents and was moving forward and doing just fine – yet I couldn’t even say Captain’s name. In that aspect I was heart broken. I remember the night it all changed. I was with a friend and I broke down, telling her how much I missed him. She looked at me and said “Let’s go get your dog.” So the next day we did. I called my mom and told her. She told me that she was heart broken I had lost him, too, and thought it was a good idea I bring him home. “We’ll fence in our yard, or build him a pen – we’ll do something so he can be here,” she said.
Now that I have him back, I can’t imagine not having him.
In that delicate time after The Ex and I broke up, after bringing Captain home, I met Zack. We went on a camping trip. I was invited by Zack’s sister-in-law, a friend of mine. She called while already on the trip and asked me to come out and bring Captain with me. So I did. I needed to get away, clear my head, and have some fun. She told me her brother-in-law was coming out late, too, so I could meet up with him and catch a ride. I packed in record time and drove an hour and a half to meet him. I was about three blocks from the meeting spot when my car began to overheat. I can’t imagine the mess I looked when I pulled up next to Zack – makeup-less, tired, and not having eaten much since the breakup, I was chain smoking in a car billowing smoke from the engine. And I forgot to warn him I was bringing my dog.
I guess I just figured that I was about to embark on your typical camping trip, and didn’t really ask many details. I was surprised to find out that after my hour and a half drive I still had a three and a half hour trip in front of me. After the drive, we then had to load everything into canoes to get to the island – yes, island. Not only that, but there were twenty-five other people on this trip. Apparently I was crashing an organized camping trip that this group had been doing for years – they even had a cutesy name with T-shirts made up for everyone.
I felt like I had just walked into someone’s birthday party that I didn’t know and everyone turned to look at the stranger who didn’t even bring a present.
When we finally reached the island the first night everyone was asleep but Zack, Zack’s brother Nate, and their friend. We sat around the fire and drank beer before hitting the sack. Captain must have sensed a connection between Zack and myself before we even did. As we sat by the fire in our camping chairs, Captain walked up to me, looked at Zack, and… well, he peed on me. (I guess nothing has changed from when he was a puppy.) I’m pretty sure it was his way of saying “Look, buster, this is my mom. You watch yourself.”
The trip was everything I needed – the kind of trip where no one has any inkling of what time of day it is, or even cares for that matter. It’s blur of water, sun, and beer. Captain, however, did not have such a great trip. Never being around campfire before, he stumbled into some hot embers, burning his two back paws. Luckily I was near him when he did so and was able to snatch him up and set him into the icy-cold water from the lake. He had a sore eye the entire time we were there. I, as well as Zack, bless his heart, did my best to see if there was anything in his eye and to keep it moisturized with eye drops provided by one of the other campers. I found out when we got back from the trip the reason his eye was red and swollen was because there was a foxtail in it, so far back it couldn’t be seen. Talk about feeling like a horrible mother! To top it off, he was thrown down by a much larger dog. He walked away unscathed, but I know it didn’t do much for his fragile state. Both mother and fur-baby alike were a walking hot-mess at that time.
I was pretty sure that Captain would never want to go camping again. Luckily he has proven to be a lover of all things camping and getting his paws dirty, but at that time I was convinced he was done with camping. And I was convinced he was trying to tell us that on the way home when he locked all of us out of Zack’s truck, himself inside, while the truck was running. I almost had a heart attack – I hardly knew the guy, was obviously attracted to him, and my dog does this. I figured Zack would think I was too much of a mess for him. Lucky for me he didn’t.
I’ll never forget watching Zack with Captain on that trip. The way he looked out for him. The way he would pick him up and love on him. I remember seeing him walking Captain around the woods on his leash when he thought I didn’t know – I fell in love instantly. Watching the two of them grow even closer while Zack and I grow closer makes me even happier. There are times when it is obvious that Captain would rather lay next to Zack than me. I’ve been asked if this is something that bothers me, and it truly isn’t. My heart bursts with happiness when I see the bond the two of them have.
I love my boys.