a sad farewell to Rami


Many of you who have been scheduling with me for many years know my Rami, the high-on-life Labrador/German Shepherd who came to me nearly 12 years ago. He arrived in my life through an unusual set of circumstances, the first dog I had ever had, and proceeded to teach me all sorts of things I didn't realize I didn't know. 

I was formerly a self-proclaimed “cat person.” I wasn’t a fan of a dog’s insistence for attention, their smells, their need to get up close and personal, their potential for making me dirty. I appreciated the haughty attitude of a cat. It’s fastidiousness, aloofness, and independence. Then, one day a meth addict straight out of prison tried to break down my back door with a shovel. He didn’t succeed (my house was the only house he couldn’t get into out of 25 others he burglarized that summer before he was caught). The Sheriff suggested I get a dog. I mentioned this to a friend, with a “can you imagine me with a dog?” The next time I saw her she innocently handed me a little notice about these 11 identical black lab/shepherd puppies up in Felton. The following weekend I took a drive up there, “just to see them.” As I sat amidst this wild and active group of little fur babies, Rami was the one who kept nudging my leg. “Hey, it’s me… look here. I’m the one.”

And so he was. With frequent visits over the next few weeks until I could bring him home, Rami became the center of my thoughts, something that took me by surprise and never ended.

Some of you endured his insistent kisses, his paws on your belly, accidental stomps on your feet, exuberant body slamming, drools and slobber, snoring, and even occasional sudden barking in the midst of our peaceful sessions. He loved lying right in the middle of all the sessions, or on your feet, until about a year and a half before he died when he’d had enough, would simply nap upstairs alone, and on occasion wouldn’t even come to the door for the greeting.

On March 28th, 2019 he crossed the “Great Divide.” Saying goodbye to him was one of the worst heartbreaking days of my life, and the grief of letting him go has been intense. Our little companion animals have ways of getting into the very fragile places in our minds and hearts that humans aren’t capable of doing. Without my seeing it happening, Rami did this. Over the past nearly 12 years, he found all the defended parts of my heart and soul, inched his way through, and set up his permanent home there.

He has given me numerous signs that he is still here with me, including sending me two Motown love songs in the days after he left. In hindsight, I can see that he was a Motown kind of guy. He, this one little furry being, opened me up to greater love, compassion, service, tolerance, and understanding. He demonstrated loyalty in a way nobody had ever shown me. With each passing day, I’m getting it more and more that dogs are about love, real love, and if we let them they will open us up to the incredible beauty of it.

Rami was the most loving, joyful being I have ever known. One of life's biggest gifts. Many people have said, “Go get another one!!” But my relationship with Rami was special, and I have to give this loss the time it deserves. My feeling is, if I’m meant to have another dog, he or she will come my way, present itself as a sure thing. If this happens, I’ll know it’s right. Until then, I’m adjusting to having my mornings free for client sessions, and, in addition to listening to a little more Motown, I’ve been pondering some new writing projects and travel adventures.