Tag Archive | Dottie

Goodbye to my girl

I have written and re-written this post many times in my head. It is so difficult that it has taken me 7 months to finally gather my thoughts and take the words from my head and type them in this blog.

Dottie on a hike by robert rodriguez

Dottie on a hike by robert rodriguez

I have many posts about Dottie in my Anne K. in L.A. blog (most of which have been archived here as well). Dottie was a major part of my life in L.A. and my life with Rob.

I have the misfortune of losing her not once, but twice.

Losing Dottie was one of the most painful parts of my divorce. As I stated previously, who would have custody of Dottie was a major point of contention in my divorce with Rob.

photos by rob rodriguez

As a small concession, Rob agreed that I could see Dottie as much as I wanted when I was in the Los Angeles area. The last time I saw her was in September 2010. It was emotionally draining. I felt so much guilt for leaving her behind and for not fighting harder to keep her. I cried for days after I returned to Virginia. As a result, I could not bring myself to visit L.A. again.

As the time passed, Rob and I both moved on with our lives and into relationships with other people. I went on my adventures with D and Myles. I contemplated visiting L.A. to see Dottie, but wasn’t sure I was emotionally ready. Rob kept me informed of Dottie’s adventures. In semi-regular intervals, he’d send me photos of her.

I missed Dottie desperately, but was repeatedly reminded by my best friend that Dottie was loved, cared for and by all accounts happy. If she wasn’t with me, I couldn’t ask for more than that.

Dottie joins me for a run

Dottie joins me for a run – August 2010

In late March of this year, I received a call that no one ever wants to receive. Rob called to tell me that Dottie was suddenly seriously ill and they suspected she had cancer. She required emergency surgery on her liver and spleen. The vet diagnosed her with hemangiosarcoma, a very aggressive form of cancer. Even with surgery, Dottie was given only a few months to live.

I was devastated.

When I walked out the door on that last visit in September 2010 and Dottie woefully watched me walk down the driveway, I suspected I might never see her again. I had hoped that I was wrong. I hurriedly made plans to visit, to see my girl. I was told on many occasions that I should postpone my visit because Dottie was improving. I got the distinct impression that I was being given the runaround. Despite the five years I spent with Dottie, I was not given the opportunity to visit her. I will deeply regret not fighting to see her.

I wanted the opportunity to tell Dottie I loved her and even though momma had been away, momma hadn’t forgotten her. I wanted to run my hands through her fur and rub her belly. I wanted to care for her as I had countless other times she gotten sick or injured.  I wanted to plant kisses all over her and snuggle with her one last time.

I never got that chance.

On Saturday May 5, 2012, my beloved pitbull Dottie Dots succumbed to canine cancer.

I did not know of Dottie’s passing until I saw a friend’s post on instagram the following Tuesday. It was the worse way to find out that a dog I loved and had been such an important part of my life had died.

It was a cruel blow especially since I had made arrangements with a tech-savvy friend to meet with Rob to allow me to Skype or Facetime with Dottie should she take another turn for the worse. I never received a call. To add insult to injury, I had to call Rob repeatedly to get confirmation of Dottie’s death.

Rob made a weak apology. To make up for his mistake, he sent me some of Dottie’s ashes.

Even though I didn’t get to say “goodbye”, I would like to believe that Dottie knew that I loved her deeply and that I didn’t abandon her, that she was always “Momma’s Girl” and that she knew that I left a piece of my heart with her in California.

As much Dottie’s passing hurt on many levels, I will focus on the good.

Dottie - January 2005

I will never forget that she was the best part of my life in L.A…

that I was very lucky to have her in my life for 5 years…

how she used to do her happy dance whenever I came home from work, no matter the hour…

how I always felt safe with her by my side….

how she was always so happy to see our family and friends like my brother Nate, our friends Lu and Ben and countless others…

how she was the perfect “heater” on a cold winter’s night…

how she was the perfect companion at the office on weekends when I had to work…

how she could never have enough balls in the house…

how she used to scare the living daylights out of our UPS delivery man…

how she loved the water and the snow…

how she slept on my chest those first few weeks that we had her…

how she taught me that pitbulls were just as lovable as any other dog.

Dottie & Me - Spring 2005

So until we meet again, sweet Dottie Dots, I will see you in my dreams….

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I love my Dottie Dots

August 26-Sept 2, 2010 {Los Angeles, CA}

Self-portrait taken with iPhone

The one part of my L.A. trip that I was really looking forward to was time with Dottie. As “amicable” as the divorce has been, custody of Dottie was a major point of contention. We argued about it for while. Initially, we agreed that I would take Dottie. I even made arrangements to fly Dottie to Virginia.  In the end, Rob threatened not to sign our divorce papers if I didn’t let him keep Dottie. It became a question of my freedom or the dog. It was a tough decision to make.  It broke my heart and reaffirmed that leaving Rob was the best idea.

Like Rob, I hadn’t seen Dottie in 6 months. I rushed through the door and was so overjoyed to see her. She wouldn’t come near me. Dottie was mad at me. If people think that dogs don’t have feelings, they aren’t paying attention. No matter how I tried to bribe her with treats and gifts, Dottie would barely let me pet her. I cried. My lovable pitbull didn’t want to have anything to do with me.

It took a full 24 hours for Dottie to warm up to me. After that, she followed me like a caramel-and-white shadow. I could scarcely go to another room for more than 2 minutes without her searching for me. While Rob was at work, I spent every moment I could with her. We napped. I ran errands and brought her along. We went for runs. I dined al fresco with her happily seated underneath my table.

I was reminded of how much I loved having a big dog. Despite her intimidating appearance, Dottie is a 77 lbs. of cuddly love… unless you’re a cat or a small, fluffy dog. {Sorry, Myles} Having Dottie around always gave me a sense of safety. Whether we were out hiking or home alone, I knew that Dottie would always protect me. Her ferocious bark would frighten anybody, especially the poor UPS man. In the midst of the emotional turmoil that preceded my departure from L.A., Dottie’s presence comforted me. In my deepest depression, she was all smiles and always happy to be with me. They say that pets prolong our lives. I’m convinced that Dottie saved mine.

I relished my time with her. For a week, I had my girl back. I loved every minute of it. I had half a mind to buy her a plane ticket and smuggle her back to Virginia. However, I knew I’d be violating our divorce agreement. As much as I loved her, I didn’t want to get in trouble with the law. I know that she will be fine with Rob, but it still hurts to leave her behind. Like I’ve said before, staying with Rob means that Dottie will never be too far from her favorite hiking trails and playmates. It would be selfish of me to turn her world upside down any more than I already have.

On the night before I headed back to Virginia, I slept with my big girl curled next to me. I scarcely slept. I spent most of the night crying. Whenever I cried, Dottie would lick the tears off of my face. I vacillated between laughing and crying harder. It was a long night.

On the morning of my departure, I loaded my bags into my rental car. Dottie’s demeanor changed. She’s a smart dog. She knew what the bags meant. It meant that momma would be gone for a long time again. What Dottie doesn’t realize is that it really will be a very long time before momma comes back. I love my girl so very much, but every trip to L.A. is emotionally devastating. If I thought I cried the night before, I set a record for tear-shedding when I said my goodbyes to Dottie. I told her that I loved her and that even if I was if I was far away I would always love her. In my heart, I know she understood what I was saying. Thankfully, Rob took her to a friend’s house after that. I couldn’t bear to leave with her sitting anxiously at the door watching me go. It’s an image that I didn’t want emblazoned in my mind. Instead, I can still picture her happily trotting alongside Rob on her way for a ride in the car.

Impromptu Photo Shoot in Old Town Pasadena

photo by Robert Rodriguez

photo by Robert Rodriguez

photo by Robert Rodriguez

photo by Robert Rodriguez

I’m grateful for the five years that I had with Dottie. Having her in my life was the best part of my L.A. experience. I pray that Dottie will continue to have a happy life with Rob. Because I love her so much, I can’t ask for any more than that.

Last Hurrahs

I know I’m supposed to be recapping my cross-country road trip, but I want to do a little backtracking.
February 8-16, 2010
The last week that I spent in Los Angeles was emotional. As one might it expect, I was simultaneously ecstatic and upset about closing this chapter of my life. The plan was to spend the week taking care of paperwork, packing up the last of my things, spending time with those nearest and dearest to me, and purchasing craft supplies. Despite my planning, I did not do nearly as much as I set out to do. The week went by so fast. I feel like I blinked and suddenly it was time to head out on the road.
Here are some of the things I was able to squeeze into my visit.

  • I had some quality time with Dottie.
  • I hung out with my Aunt, Uncle, Cousins and Nieces.
    I’m happy to report that little Brooklyn is doing well despite her very early arrival last summer. My cousin Jasmine and Brooklyn’s dad moved into a gorgeous apartment in Laguna Beach. They’re within walking distance of the beach. {So jealous!}

    Brooklyn with her momma/my cousin Jasmine

    • Since I’m so food-obsessed, the rest of my activities were centered around food. I wanted to go to some of my favorite culinary establishments.

    Rob and I went to Little Tokyo to grab a bite to eat. Yes, you’re reading that correctly. Despite the divorce, Rob and I are still on good terms. Besides, I’ve never known that man to pass up on a meal. We had Ramen at Daikokuya.

    We grabbed dessert at Fugetsu-do.

    I had meals with various other friends.

    Carne Asada tacos from a Taco Truck on Figueroa St. in Highland Park

    Chile Rellenos from La Llamarada in Lincoln Heights

    Beef Stew with Handmade Noodles at Mandarin Noodle House in Monterey Park

    Steamed Dumplings from Mandarin Noodle House in Monterey Park

    Shrimp Cakes from Sanamuluang Cafe in Hollywood

    A few of us headed out to the over hyped, terribly crowded L.A. Street Food Fest. For those that follow me on Twitter, you already know how terribly this went. All I got to do was take a few pics. We didn’t get a single morsel to eat.

Instead we headed to Hodori in Koreatown and had Korean BBQ.

Galbi - Short Ribs

Jap Chae

What I did not capture are all the fantastic people who work at my fave eateries. I’ve been frequenting many of these establishments since I moved to L.A. Many of the servers already know what I’m going to order. {I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing.} I will really miss those unspoken relationships.

There you have it. That was my week in L.A. Somehow, it feels like I didn’t do it any justice or that I didn’t give L.A. the proper “goodbye”.  Then again, maybe this just means that I’m not completely done with this city. I learned a long time ago, not to swear off any city.