From left: LooLuu, Willy and Ziggy
What I should be thinking about is all the things I still need to do to get ready to leave for my trip tomorrow. I should be doing my dishes, so that I do not have bugs when I return. I should be cleaning my floors so the place does not smell like piss when I get back. I should be packing, but I am not sure yet how much to pack for a trip like this. I should be getting my car washed because I want to put on its signage. I should be spending time with my dogs right now, because I love them and have never been away from them for more than 3 weeks.
The thing is…if I were spending time with them right now, I would be sleeping or lying in bed. My dogs are old, very old. Ziggy was born on 9/11, probably right when the twin towers went down. He was the first; I got him from a breeder with my friend Ryan Newman—who soon after passed. Ziggy was always nutty, he was known for attacking people when they left or said, “I love you.” As crazy as he was though, he was even sweeter, when he wanted to be. As a baby, he was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Always full of energy, he followed me wherever I went. Not only is he a great dog, he is also tough as hell. For three summers, he had such bad allergies that he needed anesthesia twice a week to clean the infections from his paws. For a dog his age, he is still fairly active and healthy, but he is an old man and nothing like he used to be. The attacking has stopped, but do not test him because he will still bite you if you piss him off. Honestly, my other two dogs would be happy no matter where they are, but Ziggy is going to miss me a lot. That dog loves me like nobody ever has.
I got LooLuu soon after, when I lived in Los Angeles. I was visiting San Diego on a “gay” trip with some friends and saw her in a store window as I was walking back to the hotel from the bathhouse, tripping on acid and ecstasy. It was love at first sight when I saw her, so I waited until the store opened and I bought her. I had already decided that I wanted Ziggy to have a friend/wife because I was not home as much as I should have been. They had 8 babies together of which my parents kept the first two brothers-Boris and Pete. Parents should never outlive their kids, but Boris and Pete both passed from cancer a few years ago. I know parents and pet owners are never supposed to have a favorite, but she will always be mine.
She is the bossiest, funniest, clumsiest, most determined and loving little thing you could ever want. Oh, and she hated her son Pete. About 5 years ago, she began to lose her sight. You could tell because her eyes became cloudy. We gave her eye drops but it did not help. Progressively it got worse while at the same time she was losing her hearing. Now she is mostly deaf and blind, however, she feels sounds and gets around by smell. It is amazing actually, because she can smell me eating crackers. She knows where her beds are but she walks into walls, and if you touch her to quickly she gets frightened. She still loves to flop over on her side and “swim” as she always has. She also still loves to eat! She also loves me, her tail wags when she feels me in the room. I cannot sleep with her anymore because she could hurt herself getting in and out of the bed. I loved sleeping with her; she would take up the whole bed and snore as loud as a 300 lb. man would. It is often depressing because she is like a stroke victim, a shell of who she once was.
When I got Willy, as his foster parent, his name was actually Champ. On the car ride home, I told him that he was starting a whole new life and we changed it to Wilbert. He was set to be put down later that afternoon, so I literally saved his life. He had such a horrible ear infection when I brought him home, his ear was dark red. I needed a friend to bear hug him just to get the drops in his ear and make it better. Willy was terrified of people when I brought him home. He would hide under the bed or a table and when I was not looking, he would go and socialize with the other dogs. I feel like they told him I was a good dude, or something, because eventually he came around and started being affectionate. Willy is bow legged with some kind of fasciitis, and when he runs it has always been diagonally. This or his propensity to mark territory is likely what made him end up in that shelter. However, that turned out to be a blessing for the both of us.
He has really blossomed over the years. You can tell how grateful he is for his new life, and he is sweet, gentle, loving, and just an amazing overall animal. I have never met an animal that every other animal liked. He literally does not have a mean bone in his body. He has become my best friend over the last year. He is always next to me and sleeps on the pillow either next to or above my head. At one point, he was the handicapped dog of the house, but now he is the most agile. Did I mention that he loves food? WILLY LOVES FOOD! This is good because, grandma and grandpa love to feed the dogs. My mom cooks them dinner every night; I taught her this, but she will argue she taught me. No matter how much Willy loves me; his favorite place in the world is at my parents. In fact, I am sure that within 45 minutes of the car ride beginning, he will know exactly where he is going and be very excited.
Sometimes I wonder what life experiences I missed because of my dogs. I wonder if I might have done more international traveling. I always wanted to be a “rolling stone,” but the dogs kept me somewhat grounded. Truth told, I probably would have ended up dead or in prison without them. In their own ways, they have all saved my life. Willy is the best thing I ever did as a drug addicted fuck up. Before he came into my life, thinking of the Loo & Zig once prevented me from suicide. My mom says that their children, Pete and Boris, were the best gift she ever received.
The heartache of losing one of them is inevitable. It might even happen this summer. I realize that at their age, and with the various medical issues they have all had over the years, I am going to lose each of them sooner rather than later. Maybe even this summer…If that happens, I told my parents not to tell me. I feel like if one of them does go this summer, it might be a blessing for me because I will not have to deal with the emotions in the moment. My heart will break, but I will not know because I will be on this awesome summer adventure. What is most important though is that my parents love those dogs as much as I do. Literally, they are considered family, and my parents will arguably take better care of them than I do. That reminds me, I should be home spending time with them right now.
Until next time….
Goal is to be on the road in less than 12 hours…