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  • Good morning Hank, it's Tuesday

  • So, our dog, Willy, is probably near the end of his life,

  • and I don't want until he dies to eulogize him,

  • so, here goes

  • Fireball Wilson Roberts Green came home with us in 2008.

  • He was named for the alcoholic bulldog in James Crumbly's novel: "The Last Good Kiss,"

  • but we called him Willy because, as the vet put it, he's "Willy Willy Cute."

  • Because he is cute, I expected Willy to be a cuddly, furball, snuggly puppy

  • but Willy does not cuddle, or at least he didn't until the last few months.

  • He is a very strong-willed dog, at times exhaustingly so;

  • He does not want your pity and he does not want your baby talk.

  • Like, when our children were smaller,

  • He does want your food, especially bacon and peanut butter,

  • but not so much that he'll put up with your stupid human BS.

  • Like, when our children were smaller, they would run around the house holding dog treats trying to get Willy to chase them,

  • and he would for a while

  • but then he would stop and go over to his dog bed and wait for the kids to walk to HIM and feed HIM,

  • And then after eating the treats he would dash away, returning the world to it's normal order:

  • People running after him.

  • Speaking of kids, because Willy would not generally be classified as, like, a "sweet" dog,

  • We worried a lot about new additions to our family.

  • Like, how would Willy handle the sudden presense of a human child, and then two children,

  • taking up so much of the attention we had once lavished upon him.

  • Brilliantly, as it turned out.

  • Willy has always been extraordinarily gentle and patient with our kids even when they were babies,

  • There is nothing calm about the way Willy responds to anything except when it comes to kids.

  • And in turn, our children are fiercely loyal to him.

  • Any time Sarah or I say in conversation that we are a family of four,

  • the kids both shout back, "No! Five! You forget about Willy."

  • And I say, "Well, but four humans," and they say, "but five family members!"

  • and they're right. Willy is only a dog, and I recognize that, but he's our dog,

  • And we are, for at least a little while longer, a family of five.

  • When we first brought Willy home, I talked about him a lot on the internet

  • But over the years, as I began to value the private-ness of my private life more,

  • he became less of a fixture of my online life.

  • But he has been a constant in our family amid big changes,

  • And for me personally, even though his barking has ruined thousands of vlogbrothers takes,

  • his companionship has been a profound gift, especially in hard times.

  • One of the challenging things about my mental illness is how isolating it can be.

  • Like, my obsessive fears and worries seem, to other people, wildly irrational

  • because, I suppose, from an objective standpoint, they ARE wildly irrational.

  • And that can make those fears difficult to share, like nobody can really take my fear that

  • "X terrible thing" is about to happen seriously because they don't find my obsessive reasoning compelling.

  • But that doesn't help me, because I find my obsessive thoughts incredibly compelling

  • and then there's the problem of not even wanting to talk about "X" for fear that talking about it

  • will make "X" happen. Which is why I'm currently referring to it as "X."

  • And so you end up in this spiral of thought feeling very alone because people can love you,

  • and they can listen to you, but they cannot share this feeling because they know it to be irrational.

  • But Willy doesn't know. All he knows is that I'm scared.

  • I want to be careful not to anthropomorphize Willy. He is not a person, and I don't know what life is like for him

  • but I do believe, after ten years together, that he knows when I'm worried.

  • He knows when I am consumed by thoughts I cannot shake and in those moments he gravitates to me.

  • No cuddling! Of course, but he will lay at my feet or walk around in circles to tell me that it is time to play together.

  • He takes me seriously, in a way that no human can, and I'm grateful for that.

  • Willy is harder to take care of these days and weeks of interrupted sleep have piled up on all of us,

  • but still, I am grateful to him.

  • As the cancer advances and Willy becomes the quiet, chill, cuddly dog I thought I always wanted,

  • I'm grateful for the dog he is, and also for the stubborn, yappy, and loyal dog that he was.

  • You're a good dog Willy, and I love you.

  • Hank, I'll see you on Friday.

Good morning Hank, it's Tuesday

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B1 willy obsessive irrational grateful family cuddly

Ode to a Dog

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/03/30
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