It was hard for his heart to hold so much wonderfulness, and so much of his crazy kind of love. RIP Sebastian
Eleven years ago, when the time came to adopt a dog, I did a good amount of research. I remember the books pointing out all of the characteristics of a dog "well-suited" for adoption.
1. Make sure he gives you eye contact
2. When they let him out of the kennel, he should be curious, but beware the signs of nervousness
3. The dog should be happy, willing to walk on a leash
So I visited all the shelters, looking for little Mr. or Mrs. Perfect.
I'll never forget walking into the South Central Animal Shelter. Each dog kennel stuffed with dogs as if they were sardines, most of them pit bulls. But one kennel was stuffed with the little dogs, with maybe one or two timid but larger breeds thrown in.
And there he was...shy, timid and a loner...wanting nothing all to do with the other dogs.
1. Couldn't look anyone in eye, actually turned his head when you'd look is direction.
2. Was so shaky and nervous, he pee'd on my shoe the moment he exited the kennel.
3. He was terrified and wouldn't let us put a leash on him.
Perfectly imperfect, sickly, untrained, miserable. It was love at first sight.
And after the doctors got him healthy, he quickly became our little partner in crime. Trips to Joshua Tree, camping in Big Sur, and trips to his favorite dog beaches. I'm sure his favorite memory was the drive to Alaska where he stayed with me for a year to hike snowy mountains, run from moose and dig his nose into pebble beaches scrounging for fish.
Of course if I followed the advice of professionals I would've had a trainable dog, one that didn't snap after asking for some affection, or that wouldn't run the opposite direction after calling him. But then, I wouldn't have had the puppy my mom would lovingly call "a spitting image of you, Jessica," with his abundance of energy, fearless attitude and ...refined palate. Well, refined until we moved to DTLA and he developed a panache for grabbing anything on the street, that might be food-related.
That's the Sebastian I want to remember, the fiesty and fun little guy who loved road trips, watching basketball games and who's favorite past time was laying in the sun. I hope to soon forget the Sebastian who couldn't walk six feet without panting, who couldn't sleep because it was uncomfortable for him to lay down with a heart his size and who couldn't stand the sun. And I'll definitely forget those congested coughs that lasted as long as his energy let them. And thank goodness for an amazing vet who made this last road trip of his as peaceful as possible for all of us, the good memories are richer because of it.
The kid had a great life. I wasn't always the greatest mom, my life is nuts...if he were alive he would tell you all about it, in his own words. But he was loved, and more importantly, he brought a lively kind of love into mine, into ours.
Thank you Sebastian, for letting this crazy lady into your life, and for bringing something resembling motherhood, into mine.