Almost 12 years ago, I was brutally date raped. It came out of nowhere. My first instinct, even after all these years, is to blame myself. At the time, I was a Nurse…a strong single Mother. To say I was blindsided by what happened only hits the tip of the iceberg. My entire world, my entire being was rocked to the core. I would love to say I am over it but, that would be a lie. I am not who I was 12 years ago. I am shell of that strong, confident person. I have done the therapy, talked about it, exercised, but, the one thing that helped me most find a tiny sliver of me was my rescue dog, Amia.
After the rape, i was terrorized by the thought that he might come back and kill me or my children. He was a Detective and former special forces so, having me out there knowing what he did was a threat to all he held dear. This man had a lot to lose. I didn’t report it because he was a cop and I was terrified he would get away with it and hurt me or my children. That’s the way things were then. I couldn’t take the risk. I remember walking out to go to my car each morning for my early shift wondering if this would be the day. I didn’t plan to fight back because as sick as it sounds, part of me wanted the noise in my head to be silenced. After a few months of this morning terror, I began to relax a little but, that didn’t do much to calm my racing thoughts and out of control fear that were with me constantly.
I decided to get a dog for protection. One morning, I answered an advertisement for a free Husky/Malamute mix that was scheduled to be put to sleep. I arranged to meet Amia that morning. She was beautiful but aloof and to be honest I was more than a little afraid of her. She was 85 pounds of muscle and fur and gave no indication whatsoever what was on her mind. She had a calmness that was terrifying. She wasn’t cuddly and never once wagged her tail.
To this day, I have no idea why but, I told the girl I would take her. She was delivered to my house a week later and she took some getting used to. I bought a kennel for her which she promptly escaped from, she tore through garbage, ate an entire tube of toothpaste and didn’t show much of a personality.
I was wondering what I did but, was determined to win her over. Little by little Amia became my dog and I became her trusted master. Over the years, a tiny hand signal would become a command to her. She watched every move I made and knew ever mannerism and exactly what it meant. I rarely had to speak to her. We both knew what the other wanted. We became a part of each other. She was always by my side, It was truly beautiful.
This past winter, it became apparent that age was getting the best of her. She had trouble sitting and standing and I knew what was coming. He hips were going and I could see the pain in her beautiful blue eyes. We could no longer go one our long walks, which she loved. I spend a lot of time laying with her and cuddling. I talked to her softly and she licked my face as if she was the one comforting me.
Last Friday morning, I woke up. I had slept longer than most nights and was surprised she didn’t immediately stand up when I moved around in bed. I got out of bed , sure that she would get up and do her little dance she did each morning when she knew I was going to take her outside. She just sat there with a pained look in her eyes, a look that sent a shock wave straight through my heart. She could no longer stand up. Her demeanor was one of such sadness mingled with pain. She knew it was bad. I knew then what I had to do. that moment had finally come. I could not let my sweet baby girl suffer.
Both my adult children came with me to the veterinarian with us without me even asking them to. The Veterinarian examined her and agreed that it would be best for her to end treatment and allow her to go peacefully. They laid blankets on the floor and I layed down with her. She licked my face over and over as if to comfort me. I held her beautiful face in my hands and told her over and over that it was ok because Mommy was right there with her and she believed me just like she always did, I kissed her a million times. She was calm and happy just like she always was when I was right there with her.
When it was time and she was given the medicine we were looking into each others eyes. I held her gaze to the very end……talking to her quietly and holding her. She knew I was there and she knew my love enveloped her.
When I came home, I cried for 3 days. I still cry a few times a day but, not as often. I still think she is here. I forget that she is gone. I had no idea what a lifeline she was for me. I only now realize how much she helped me get through the worst time in my life and what an incredible bond that created between us.
My son sent me a text later that night.
The best thing to do is recognize how beautiful sadness is, The opportunity to have something so beautiful makes the sadness well worth it. I love you Mom.
Amia will forever be a part of me. I have never loved a dog like that. I saved her life and gave her the gift of 12 more amazing years and she saved my life and gave me a lifetime of the memory of the unconditional love and devotion she gave to me.
I will never forget that and am eternally grateful that I took the chance on loving her.
We saved each other’s lives.
It just hurts so bad.