I’ve said that name in blinding frustration and in sheer affection. If you knew George you knew 2 things.
1. He was a complete pain in the ass.
2. He loved with every single hair on his body.
We got George just a few days before Gabe went to Afghanistan for the second time. I really wanted a puppy and we thought it would be a good distraction. We saw him in the shelter and were drawn to him right away. At first we were going to pass him by because we thought he was a big-dog puppy. When we saw that he was already a year we were hooked. Then only he would do. I don’t even remember looking at the other dogs.
We left him there to think and pray. We were convinced he’d be gone by the time we made it back. There was at least one other family who wanted him and when Gabe sent me to the car I just prayed that he would come home with us. I saw Gabe open the door and walk out… With our new little dog in tow! I was beyond thrilled! Sam was in the car (we wanted to make sure they would get along) and we all welcomed the little guy with excitement.
Our family has never been the same.
George initially bonded with Gabe (probably because he is the one who actually took him out of the shelter). It took George no time to show his true neurotic colors when Gabe left. When I got back from taking Gabe to the airport George had shredded our bedroom carpet into strips – down through the padding. He had also scratched at the door. This behavior really didn’t stop until Gabe got home. He went through several kennels and countless blankets/towels. He also made a habit of messing in his kennel (EW!) while I was at work so I would come home from my hour long commute (one way) after a long day to the huge, often overwhelming task of cleaning up after him.
Here is a list of the things George damaged or destroyed… Well, the things I can remember. ;)
- 3 smaller kennels (they looked like the Jaws of Life got to them)
- 1 large kennel (the full-proof kind… He chewed the little mini window so he could push the metal aside and escape)
- Blankets (if they were remotely near the kennel he would grab them and pull them in to eat them. yes, eat. I’m about 99% sure he digested some)
- Towels I put in his kennel for comfort
- At least 2 dog beds – also for comfort… Which I guess they brought since he was insane.
- Diaper Bag
- Glass from Coffee Table
I would get so mad at him. I would come home and just want to scream. It was so frustrating, but I had adopted him and frankly, I loved him. He was my dog. After Gabe left George bonded very quickly and very tightly to me. He never left my side and he was very dependent on me. As inconvenient as it was, I needed to be needed.
Samson is really a protector dog. He comforts when you’re sad, he helps when you’re in trouble, he warns you of impending doom (like a squirrel 20 yards from the house). He doesn’t really need you. In fact, Sam sort of makes it clear that he wants
you, but doesn’t need
you. I think if Samson were stuck in the woods all by himself he would get along just fine.
George would die in the woods. He would just sit by himself and shiver from fear until he starved. It sounds morbid, but that’s my Georgie!
George needed attention. He needed cuddles. He needed you to make him eat. He needed to see you and hear you and feel you every now and then. He was a needy dog. And as a wife without her husband, a mother’s heart without a child, being needed by someone was a blessing.
With all the trouble he brought came too many laughs to count and a warmth in just looking at his sweet face. Gabe and I would just snuggle with him and say to each other, “He’s so cute!” That never faded. He was an eternal puppy. I’ve never seen a dog like him and I don’t think we ever will again.
When Gabe told me that “we lost George” I was much more distraught than I thought I’d be. I know that sounds terrible, but he had prepared me for bad news and the thought crossed my mind; I was okay with it as a possibility. When it turned out to be the truth I was crushed. Not being there with him broke me further. I hate – I absolutely hate
– that in his last moments I wasn’t with the dog who spent every moment of his life trying to be with me. I felt like I let him down. I felt like he deserved so much more.
I experienced all the stages of grief within an hour and went back through them again several times. He was just a dog, but a dog is a remarkable thing. A dog loves you without expecting anything back. He is genuine and transparent with his emotions. A dog doesn’t try to manipulate you or tear you down. He doesn’t hold a grudge (for long) and he makes sure you know that you were missed whenever you come home. Dogs have a lot to teach us about how to love.
And dogs like George teach us in two ways: 1) by example, 2) by requiring so much to love him. In order to keep George we had to be very patient, we had to forgive all the shenanigans, we had to be kind and gentle when we wanted to throw things at him (because he would just pee if we didn’t speak softly when we were upset), we had to see his heart and understand his intentions… George wasn’t an easy dog, but he was exceptional.
Getting to be his masters was an honor. Gabe and I have learned from his death that we didn’t fully appreciate that. God took such care to create. He was deliberate and artistic.
George, it was an honor to love you.
“In a dog’s life, some plaster would fall, some cushions would open, some rugs would shred. Like any relationship, this one had its costs. They were costs we came to accept and balance against the joy and amusement and protection and companionship he gave us.”
― John Grogan, Marley & Me