Thursday, July 16, 2015

In Loving Memory of Brandi! My dog, my best friend...

It was early in the summer of 2004 when our precious little pup came into our lives. I had been in and out of the hospital at the time due to complications with my first transplanted heart. My mom thought that having a dog in our lives would bring about some positive vibes and help keep my spirits up. After four years of feeling so healthy, I got very careless with taking my anti-rejection meds. This reckless behavior led to seven long months in the hospital and eventually my second heart transplant.

I knew I had messed up big time when I started having heart palpitations sometime during the end of May '04. My health declined rapidly in the weeks to follow. Every time I thought I was progressing, something would happen to land me right back in the hospital. It was torture. However, my family and I refused to give in to the belief that this was a problem that could not be fixed with a boost in steroid doses or some other form of treatment. Claude and I had plans to move into Hoboken that fall and despite my not feeling so well we moved forward with our apartment hunting. This helped me take my mind off things. I couldn't wait to finally be out on my own and living with my best friend, my brother! We both also really wanted a dog and figured it would be a good idea to get one while still living at home in order to give him/her proper house training. We had wanted a dog all our lives, but our parents had concerns that the responsibilities of owning a pet would eventually fall back on them. Being that they both worked serious jobs this was not an option. Our nanny and housekeeper Therese, did not like dogs very much, and she insisted that taking care of one was not part of her job description. However, now that Claude and I were older and prepared to move out on our own, my mother agreed to the decision. 

She was only six weeks old when we got her and we knew instantly that she had to be ours from the second we laid eyes on her. I didn't see any other dog in the room but her.

"Do you want to play with her?" asked an employee who picked up on my interest.

Claude and I sat in the tiny cubicle with the soon to be the newest member of our family for what seemed like an eternity. She was so sweet, so innocent, and absolutely adorable. She loved Claude instantly and had him smiling from ear to ear. Seeing the joy that tiny animal brought to her sons left no room for my mother to even second guess her choice. I still couldn't even believe it was really happening. My excitement only grew as I walked our new puppy out to the car on the leash; an excited pep in every one of her tiny steps. I swear it's as if she knew she was going home. Isabelle was scared of her at first,  which Claude and I found to be hysterical, but after just a few minutes she couldn't help but fall in love as well. Therese, was not happy about this situation at all. She was upset that no one had informed her of such a serious decision and was also worried that all responsibilities would eventually fall on her. However, I did my very best to reassure her that the decision to get a dog was a spontaneous one, and that Claude and I would take on the entire workload. We all sat together, and one by one took turns hugging her and playing with her on the kitchen floor. My mother never wanted a dog, and so I was particularly shocked to see her rolling on the floor bonding with our new pup. I later found out that she was just scared to love something so much knowing that one day she would have to eventually let go. My mother was fully aware that loss is a part of life, however the notion to knowingly introduce that into her life was a difficult concept for her to grasp. 

"What should we name her guys?" asked Claude. "I think Mom should name her since she got her, haha."

"Let's call her BRANDI!" said my mom without hesitation.

My siblings and I stared at one another in confusion in regards to my mother's immediate response. It was a pretty name so we liked it. It was only years later that we found out during a dinner conversation that BRANDI'S fawn like colors reminded my mom of the little deer she had seen in the famous Disney movie called, "BAMBI". However, my mother grew up in Jamaica so, hence the confusion, lol.

Since that day BRANDI instantly became a part of our family. I never owned a pet of that magnitude prior to her and so I was unaware of the vast impact she would have on my life. BRANDI was so much more than a "just a dog". She was a powerful life-force, she was an unconditionally loving face at the door, she was a nurturer through sickness and health, she was our BEST FRIEND! I spent 7 months in the hospital waiting for my second transplant the year we got her, and during one of my weakest moments my family surprised me by bringing BRANDI to visit me. Seeing her cute little face reminded me that I had things waiting for me out in the world to LIVE for. Seeing her gave me just one more reason to FIGHT! 

There were countless times I would come home from the hospital, and she would lay at my side watching over me for days on end. I loved her so much that I had no concern for "germs", and I would let her sleep with me every night. Even though she couldn't talk, her presence alone said enough. She was a companion, and she could change the worst of my moods. I still think about her all the time, and I laugh at all the crazy shit she put me through. I know without a doubt that we gave her a beautiful life but she also did the same for us. She brought us together as a family and reminded us of the true innocence that still remains in life. I miss her a lot but I am happy for the time that we had together. I'll always talk about her. I'll always remember her, and for as long as I am ALIVE...her spirit will be too!

We love you BRANDI! I'll see you on the rainbow bridge someday...

 RIP <3 7/16/14 <3

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