My dearest, sweetest Josey,
When I tell people about losing you, I have to say “My dog died”. But how do I make them understand that I haven’t just lost a dog? I’ve lost a best friend, a sister, a protector, a confidant, a daughter, a nanny. I will NEVER be able to find anyone or anything that I can say that about. You were amazing and we are beyond devastated that you had to leave us.
From the moment we locked eyes on either side of your kennel run door, I’ve loved you. You’d been found tied up outside the shelter. I thank whoever did that for not just turning you loose in the streets or worse. You hadn’t been reacting well to children so your cage card read “kids 14 & over only”. Allie was with me at 2 years old & I was pregnant with Emily. When you looked at me and pled with me to get you out of there, I sat down by you and cried. There was no way I was leaving you. After a meeting with the shelter behaviorist and some food aggression testing, etc., you were adopted and we were on our way back to our apartment that didn’t allow dogs. No worries – we moved. My family was beside themselves – how dare I bring a Pit Bull into my home with small children? Little did they know that this big, scary Pit Bull would be the most loving, loyal member of the family that I could have ever hoped for.
For 14 years, my precious girl, you stood by us. You slept with me every night. You were by my side during a difficult divorce and made it easier to be by myself with the girls in the house. You’ve snuggled on the couch countless times with the girls just offering a loving, solid presence that we knew we could always count on. When we adopted Jackson, this teeny baby Cockapoo that you could’ve had for a snack, you accepted him right away and night one, he fell asleep on top of you. You have lived in a house of chaos with countless foster cats and kittens in and out, the girls’ friends coming and going; you took everything in stride.
You, my sweet girl, are a champion for your breed. You have shown that, unless you’ve been cursed with such poor breeding or mistreatment that you’re too far gone, every dog deserves a chance. You are one of the very lucky ones. The unlucky are languishing in concrete kennel runs until they have so much kennel stress, or get so ill, or the shelter is just completely out of space, that their time runs out. They become one of the millions that didn’t get a break. If I hadn’t made the decision to visit some pups at the CT Humane Society that day (with no intentions of adopting) – well, I can’t even imagine. You were meant to be ours and you’ve made me an advocate for your breed; that is your legacy. And to all the homeless animals out there, especially the Pit Bull type dogs, you are meant to live your life with a family that loves you and cares for you until you take your last breath. My wish is that people see that you are one of the best family dog breeds out there. Small children can climb all over you and you don’t freak out and turn and snap. You are a fun, active breed but not crazy or super high strung. Yes, you’re strong-willed terriers, but with the right training of where to direct your energy, you have so much potential. As I know Josey has always been, you are grateful for having been given a chance and you show your family every day with your unwavering love.
In the past few days, those same eyes that pled with me to get you of that shelter asked me to set you free once again. They said you were tired and hurting. I thank you for hanging in there as long as you could. It wasn’t long enough; it never is. There is a little solace knowing you are at peace now, free of the painful arthritis, and most likely cancer, that was afflicting you. I remember your days of racing after tennis balls and enjoying long walks. I hope you are doing that again. I hope that you and Barkley (my Cockapoo from my childhood) found each other and are sharing stories and having a blast together.
When I’ve healed from this crushing loss, I will go to a shelter and adopt a Pit Bull whose time has just about run out. I will not be replacing you, because you are irreplaceable, but will be saving a life in your honor. I know you’d want me to do that. I love you my sweet, sweet Josey girl more than words could ever say, forever and always.