Happy Barkday, Mr. F!

Dear Mr. Frodo, 

I still remember when I first saw you. You and your sister were in a playpen but you, my boy, caught my eye. You know why? Before we even approach you, you were already standing on your two hind legs and resting your two little paws against the playpen, barking at me incessantly, looking so happy. It’s as if you were saying, “Pick me, hooman! Pick me!”. 

And I was smitten. 

You were so curious on our drive home, looking out of the car window and can’t seem to get enough of what you’re seeing. Do you still remember what I told you then? 

“Look at the world, Mr. Frodo. Make it yours!”. 

You are a promise silently made and a promise kept.

When your Poppa and I just started dating, I jokingly told him that he should get me a pug if ever we reach our 3rd anniversary. This stemming from the fact that some people thought we wouldn’t last that long. He just shook his head at me, smiling without saying a word. I took it as silently telling me, “You wish!”. 

It didn’t help that after three years, he gifted me with a pug paper craft proudly saying he’s keeping his promise. I thought it was really funny, until he told me that he’s getting me you, for real. I still could not believe it until we were going rounds the pet shops already, looking for the perfect you. 

The morning after, you gave me a fright. You were so sick that I thought I’d lose you. Without taking a shower I took you to the vet and waited nervously for your checkup. The vet told us that you might not live for long and I almost cried. I talked to your previous owner and she assured me that you will live. That she will take you in for two weeks and give you back to me in perfect health. 

And she did.

It was a promise made and a promise kept. 

At that time, I wouldn’t have thought that you will be this mischievous little one who would go and ruin my stuff, sneeze straight on my face as if it’s the most delightful thing in the world, and make me fall and roll around the streets of Tomas Morato while trying to save you from being a roadkill. 

At that time, I wouldn’t have thought that I could trade sleep just so I can keep an eye on you when you’re sick. That I could trade night outs and partying just so we can spend more time together. That I could trade splurging on a meal just so I can buy your favorite snacks and toys. I wouldn’t have thought that I have this much capacity to love a squished faced, sneezy non-human. 

Mr. Frodo, you are one of our earlier relationship milestones and you’ve been with us through every other milestone thereafter. The good and the bad, the happy and not so happy. 

And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Happy 6th Barkday, Mr. F. We love you and you will always be our baby boy.

That’s a promise that we will always keep. 

Pug-Ibig Nga Naman…

Good morning, Sunday!

Making a quick post because I’m having major sepanx. I just sent off my pug, Mr. Frodo, to a week-long rendezvous aka sexy time.

It’s sad because this’ll be the first time in a while that he’ll be away from us both for this long. But I’m comforted by the fact that he’ll finally have some happy time with a lady love.

Also, that we’ll have a full week to ourselves to cleanup the house — a long overdue task — and have some quality time together.

Man! I sound like a mom sending my kid to summer camp!

Anyway, I hope Mr. Frodo becomes a dad soon. Can’t wait to see a tiny Mr. Frodo once again.

Mr. F, this is our early birthday gift for you. You’ll no longer die a virgin! Haha! 😜

Mr. Frodo and I

When I went home from the hospital, fresh from my miscarriage and D&C, I was expecting to come home to a dog who will console me. I have pictured it in my mind during our cab ride home: The moment I open the door, he would come up to me, look me in the eyes, and express the same kind of sadness that was overflowing from me. He would give a little howl, perhaps lick my face tenderly, and just stay with me while I drown in my thoughts. Similar to Marley with Jen Aniston’s character when she lost her baby in the movie, Marley and Me.

Marley and Me

But it did not happen. I did not have my Marley and Me moment.

Instead, I came home to the usual overly excited pug who acts like it’s the first and last time he’s seeing me. Since I don’t want my husband and brother to worry about me any more, I gave him the same response that I have each and everyday — greeted him excitedly, patted him, and played with him a little. But deep down I was thinking,

Does he not know? Is he not sad that Ezra is no longer with us? 

Where is my Marley moment? 

The problem with having a dog is we were conditioned to have this great expectations from them — that they would think like us, feel like us, and be like us. Blame the books and movies for giving us Hachiko, Lassie, and, yes, Marley. All of them knows how to console the movie characters on cue. They have full on empathy like a real family member. They will make you feel better, not act like nothing’s happened; like everything’s normal.

The day after, when Mr. Frodo and I were alone in the room, I talked to him. My sister told me that I should try talking to him because it may help with my recovery. So I did. I told him that I’m so sad that Ezra is gone. It feels like my heart has been crushed into pieces and all these tiny pieces are waiting to burst out of me. I told him that I wanted to cry all the time, even if there are no more tears. I told him about all the moments I have imagined Ezra and him would no longer have. But all he did was sneezed straight to my face, turned around, and walked away from me.

I ugly cried after that. I’ve felt like my best friend has abandoned me.

Does he not know? Is he not sad that Ezra is no longer with us? 

Where is my Marley moment? 

The next few days was full of resent for Mr. Frodo. I gave him the cold shoulder; I wouldn’t even look at him. When Cris asked me if there’s something wrong, I told him nagtatampo ako kay Frodo. He doesn’t even console me, I said. Cris, being the good cop that he is, told me that maybe he’s just not showing it. Or he doesn’t have a full understanding of what happened. Maybe he’s just happy to see us safe and well after being confined to the hospital.

I did not buy it. He’s supposed to know; he’s supposed to empathize. He’s man’s best friend, isn’t he?

Sunday came — my most dreaded day of the week. It was a Sunday, a week earlier, when I was first given a sign that I will lose one of my most precious. So that particular Sunday was very difficult for me. I again found myself crying my heart out with Cris consoling me. Let it out, he said. Just cry it out.

And then I felt him — his fur brushed my hand; I heard his ragged breathing going nearer and nearer. He sat in front of me and looked at me with those big black eyes while I was crying. All I can say at that moment was, “Frodo…”, but I know that he somewhat understood. When I was pacified, he stood on all fours, leaned in to me, and licked off the tears that ran down my face. This is it! This is my Marley moment!

But as per normal Frodo style, he sneezed on my face, turned around, and walked away.

That moment made me think: I think that in a way, dogs are like humans, too. They react differently to different scenarios. It’s not like a cookie cutter Marley world where you expect every dog to be as emphatic as you would want them to be… very much the same with humans…

And for me it’s OK.

During this whole ordeal, I learned a thing or two about the people around me — how they reacted to the news, how some consoled me, how some chose not to, how some whom I haven’t talked to in years could give you the kindest words, how some whom you’re expecting to offer even the briefest of “I’m sorry for your loss” could just brush it off and choose not to reach out, and how some would not even utter a single word and yet you know that they are crying with you.

And for me it’s OK.

I can’t blame those who choose not to reach out. Miscarriages still carry a stigma especially here in the Philippines. Most people would rather talk about the weather than know how you bled, how capsules were inserted in your vagina every 8 hours as part of your D&C process, how you last saw your still baby, and how your first consoling words came from a nurse who’s a complete stranger to you.

And the stigma does not stop at the people surrounding you. There’s also a great stigma about talking about your own grief. Most of the time, those who suffered miscarriages are shy, even afraid, to talk about their inner struggles. We are afraid to be branded as weak, overreacting, and hypersensitive. Mainly because of the incorrect notion that our loss is not the same as losing a child that was actually born. To some, a miscarriage is not something tangible so they expect you to get over it quickly.

But as one of my acquaintances who had a miscarriage herself said, talk to your friends who are willing to listen. 

I guess I have Mr. Frodo for that while I’m still mustering the courage to literally face my human friends. I would just have to endure all of his sneezes for now.  Mr Frodo and I