My Love Letter to Ramone

Ramone and GoGo are dog rescuesGoGo and Ramone

Two Sundays ago, I took Ramone and GoGo back to the VCA Animal Hospital in Big Bear, where we live.  “Back,” because a couple of days earlier, I had brought my babies in for their annual physicals.  Dr. D discovered a growth on Ramone’s left front shoulder that he didn’t like, and wanted to remove it.  AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.  Hence, back to the hospital on Sunday for surgery.  The Doc and staff said it would take a few hours, and that we may as well go out and enjoy the day.  They’d call when he was “ready.”  I elected to stay in the waiting room.  GoGo sat on the vinyl-covered sofa with me, alternately sleeping and whimpering.  She and her adopted brother are very sensitive when something is up with the other.  While waiting for my baby boy to come out of surgery, I wrote something which I may include in the final draft of Been There, Done That….

(if you don’t currently have a dog, or have never had a dog, than you may as well just stop reading right here.  ‘Cause if you don’t already think I’m a sick puppy, you will think I’m a very sick puppy after reading this.  Pun intended).

 It’s Just Part of Life:  My Love Letter to Ramone

Ramone the pitbull is a dog lovers dreamMy life with Ramone, just the 5 short and yet oh-so-long years  –many lifetimes it seems– that I’ve had him (minus of course, that the 6 months he was missing) encapsulate ALL that I AM, EVERYTHING I’ve ever felt, cared about in life, and aspire to be.

Here comes the cop-out of all cop-outs.  There is no way, in a million, billion, trillion years, that I have the ability, the skill, the eloquence, to hack out on a keyboard how and what I feel about MY BOY.

So, I’ll just do my best, k?

I saved Ramone and he saved me right back.

Spiritual teacher.  Protégé.  Confidante. He is all that and more to me.  As I hope I am to him.  As I am sure that I am when he looks into my eyes.

If any part of Been There, Done That ends up exposing my shortcomings as a writer, this is it.  Where ya just can’t find the words…just have to go extemporaneous…give in to stream-of-consciousness.  To tell you what’s on my heart.

Pit-bull rescue and dog loverI write about love a lot and think of it even more.  I’ve yet to find the words to truly convey what love means to me, how it feels, and I probably never will.  If I could, then I’d be able to put down , here and now, the totally complete, all encompassing, feelings I have for Ramone.

Yes, I love him.  And I realized recently, that I am also in love with him.  He is my baby, my boy, my best pal.  My side-kick, my wing man, by brother-in-arms.  HE is my SOUL MATE.

As I’ve written elsewhere in these memoirs, at one and one half years old, Ramone was missing for 6 months.  In the pieces I’ve been able to put together since, he spent that time on the streets.  He came back to me skinny, his face dinged up, exhausted.  I imagine what it must have been like for my baby.  HATE IT.

 Through Ramone, I experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

Up until last year, before moving to Big Bear, If I’d left him alone for an hour, when I came home, he’d be laying on his belly on the sofa, ears pinned back, eyes saucer-wide.  Looking like he’d done something really bad.  To deserve to be left home alone.  I think that he must have been thinking  “ I’ve been abandoned, left alone, again.”  It truly breaks my heart and NOTHING MADE ME SADDER. I don’t leave him (or GoGo) alone anymore.

When we are driving together, each time we pull into the driveway at home, Ramone goes absolutely nuts with joy.  Jumping up and down, smiling/”laughing”/licking my face.  I think that he must be thinking “I have a home.  I have a home!”  When I experience this, my heart soars and NOTHING MAKES ME HAPPIER.

The two worst experiences, the most gut-wrenching, I’ve had over the past two years, are the two times Ramone was attacked, by much larger dogs, each who had locked their killer jaws onto the side of his head.  In the time between their initial attack, where I leap in without fear or thought of consequence, to the time he’s been freed, time stops and my own life flashes before my eyes.

Outside of that, there are nothing but good, happy, ecstatic experiences:

—Ramone sleeping on my lap, content and exhausted, on a long road trip up the Highway 1.

—Besides himself with joy as he tears across the sand and plunges into the water’s edge.

—Ramone making out with drunk, pretty girls at bars and at concerts.  They are ALL pretty to Ramone. (yes, really.  On the making out  with girls” thing, and on the concerts.  Ramone has seen Rod Stewart, Ziggy Marley, Motley Crue, Electirc Daisy Carnival  and a bunch of others I can’t think of right now).

—Ramone “starring” in the sizzle reel we shot for my pitbull rescue show, “Bullys’ Angels.”  And  stealing every scene he’s in.

—Ramone eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet.  Every day.  I don’t.

—I love that Ramone had health insurance a year before I did.  Wouldn’t trade that for nothin’

—writing Been There, Done That,  night after night, with Ramone at my side.  He is my co-author.

Pretty much all of the love I have in my heart, my mind, my life is directed toward Ramone (and now of course, GoGo).  At rare times, like when he and we –MY FAMILY– are at the beach, and we see a big loving family…fathers, sons, daughters, wives, parents…I marvel at how pathetic that is.

And most of the time, it’s just okay.

 Today, Thursday morning, Dr. D called with the results of Ramone’s biopsy.  BENIGN! 

Rick Bassman, dog lover, snaps a shot of his pitbulls Postscript:

As I sit home alone – again – writing, riding a scotch-on-the-rocks high, I turn and look over my right shoulder where my boy is sleeping on the couch.  (GoGo has already gone up to bed). And I’m overwhelmed.  He is curled up in his leopard skin blanket, his tongue sticking out of his snout, which oh-so-perfectly complements the image of the vicious pit bull.  I’m kidding, obviously; actually, he looks like a total dork.  And I love it.  He’s snoring softly, which I will hear again –and love even more – when he clambers up onto my bed in the middle of the thud, plops down with a thud, and smashes his head up against mine.  Which means his nose practically ends up in my ear.  LOVE IT.