His name is Lucky Antonio Arredondo. He responds to Lucky Lucks, Pappas, Dude, Buddy, Louigie, and “You’re the most handsome dog in the whole entire universe.”
I still can’t refer to him in the past.
I grew up in a tiny subsidized government apartment not suitable for doggies. So I had to do all the things that lead me to become a semi-real person in the real world where I could finally have what felt like a lifetime companion. And that was my Lucky Lucks the Cutest Pup in the Whole Entire Universe, as I’ve referred to him from our day one.
Since I can remember I’ve always struggled understanding the nonverbal world that seemed incredibly unfamiliar. My mom did an amazing job at teaching me how to communicate my thoughts and emotions verbally and effectively.
But Lucky taught me how to see the unfamiliar through an array of expressions and affection that required zero words.
I understood that unconditional love meant a tail constantly wagging as I neared him. That although I am allergic to dog’s hair and protein, his licks were always comforting during moments of grief even if my skin would later itch. I understood what all of his different barks meant – when he was hungry, had to go potty, sleepy, happy, and even his cries when he was in pain.
And he knew me more than I’ve ever known myself. I don’t necessarily realize I am sad or anxious when or after an event happens. I usually find out later when I haven’t eaten all day, or slept, or am oversleeping, or when my heart rate is around 130-bpm. But Lucky always knew how I was feeling even if I couldn’t process things momentarily.
This is so difficult to say because I have to use the word “was.” He was my constant companion who provided unconditional love and continuous support.
Lucky lived 9 lives with me and on his last, where dogabetes eventually decided it’d be the end of all things, we had to say goodbye.
I got to carry him one last time as a baby, just like he always liked me holding him. I told him he’ll always be the most handsome dog of all the dogs. That in doggy heaven dogabetes is nonexistent. He’ll get to eat all the treats, dig all the holes, and escape from all the backyards. That only good exist. That Tia Liz would be there to lead the way. And that it’s all going to be okay.
And I gave him so many kisses. Once in my arms, without a bark, without a sigh, just from the look on his eyes, I knew he knew it was going to be okay. Mommy was there and life will always be okay when mommy is there.
We were incredibly fortunate to have so many loved ones with us. We got to FaceTime with my nieces and nephew. And talk to aunts and uncles. My loving parents supported us and made me laugh.
Our vet was the kindest person who made saying goodbye not only be the morally right thing to do, but made us feel comfortable and in some odd way at peace.
Last year Lucks and I had to learn a new normal. I suppose that’s a continuous lesson to be learned. The following days will be a mixture of emotions that will come in waves because that’s how the grieving process is. And I now have to rely on the humans in my life for the unconditional love and support my Lucky Lucks constantly provided.
So thank you to all of you that got to know and love my Lucky Lucks. As cliche as it is to say, he will never ever be forgotten.