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Rest in Peace, My Love

Rest in Peace, My Love
Tuck Mayo

My soulmate died last week. And with her passing, not only did a piece of my heart go with her, but an entire chapter of my life was suddenly and forcibly closed. Still reeling in shock, I have finally sat myself down so that I can spill my thoughts and write a farewell that may or may not be good enough for her.

How We Met

It was the summer after I turned sixteen, and I was living in the backwoods in a two bedroom mobile home with my bestie, her three siblings, their very young/fun mom and a random creepy 30-something dude who lived in a shanty on the side of the house. My pal and I would spend our days finding cigarette butts in in the Dairy Queen parking lot and talking about traveling the world together or becoming strippers. I had been shifted from town to town over the last two years thanks to my fickle mama and my unreliable pappy, and when my buddies mom met me, she decided to actively try and adopt me. My own mega jealous mom residing in the midwest was not enjoying the prospect of being presumed a “bad mother” and the two of them would get into screaming matches over the telephone. I felt special. My mom would call her a trailer trash whore, and fake mom would tell her that I was now her child, and that her abandoning ass would never see me again. They would then pick apart each others looks without ever having even seen a picture. “No man in his right mind would ever fuck your skanky old ass” or “You broke betch, I bet your dog don’t even like you” could be heard pouring out of their mouths. Classaganza.

Previously, I’d been living with my kind-of-douchey brother in his ramshackle trailer. My dad had casually dropped me off with him after deciding that “it would be a great place for me to grow up”. A few months after getting shit-faced with my brother, he smacked me hard across the face one night. Even though I didn’t actually care, that was the excuse I gave for moving out. The real reason I left was because ever since I was a wee young lad, I had been begging anyone who would listen for a dog of my very own. Every year it was shoved immediately into the #1 slot on my christmas list. And every year I would end up with some sort of scented lotion and clothes that I would rather die than wear. When I lived with kind-of-douche, I actually brought a dog home one time. I named him Smokey and I almost loved him. But he was my dog for less than 24 hours before brotherman made me give him back. It was around that time that I realized I had no choice. I had to get the hell out. And my best friends house was the only possible option because of the following…

1. They would let me have one.

2. They conveniently had a preggo dog on hand.

After two-ish months and four hours of waiting around the trailer, their mangy looking dog Shania Twain  gave birth to ten fresh-faced mutt puppies, and I finally got to pick my girl out from the heap. Admittedly I chose her sister first, until two hours later when I noticed that Shady’s coloring was the most striking hue of golden-brown. I pulled an immediate flip flop and traded in Sady for Shady. I was ecstatic! I couldn’t get enough of this teeny ball of brown country dog and spent every moment I could literally just creepily staring at her (I really have ever only dabbled in school). My wannabe family was broke-as-shit, so I’d sneak Shady into the garage and feed her tiny bits of stolen kibble while I would feed myself tiny bits of stolen bologna. I would whisper over and over into her ear that I loved her. Shady would also hang out with me in the creepy dudes shanty, wagging her tiny tail furiously and watching me sit awkwardly on his lap while he begged me to move to a state that allowed underage marriage while going up my shirt.

It was a bit rough-times during those days. All the pups but Shady died of a dog disease called parvo, which is usually passed on through the dirt on the ground. Since we were so fucking poor, there was no way we could afford to take them all to the vet. Instead we just watched as each puppy dropped one by one like flies. Horrified we kept making the eight year old brother bury them, but we would always have to redo it since he was so young and could never dig deep enough. Luckily for me, I had a generous and jealous mother that paid to keep Shady in the vets office for  two weeks while she tried to seduce me into moving back home. I will forever be grateful to my mom for doing that, and saving Shady’s life. She made me trade a visit home in exchange for the vet bill. This was in hopes of wooing me with See’s candy and promises of a better life, but once there we began arguing as usual and she actually shipped me back on an early flight.

To top off the trauma of this dog family, Shania Twain herself came to a very untimely end. We were watching Billy Ray Cyrus singing that embarrassing Achey Breaky Heart song on the tv one night when we heard something. It was a very loud and distinctive thump right outside our front door. Tormented little brother (who p.s. now resides in prison) opened it and began screaming in a high pitched child’s scream that sent us all running over. It was Shania Twains head cut clean off, with no hint of her body in sight. I stood there in terror as my friends all decided that it must have been “wolves”. I’d like to take this moment to beg to differ. Mostly due to the fact that we lived a mile from the KKK and they happened to be the only Mexican family in this extremely racist and hillbilly town. Nobody liked me and my fake family much around those parts, but I had always thought it’s because we were known as the slutty, poor girls.

When my mom finally worked her manipulation-magic and had me literally banished from this shitshow of a town, Shady and I were then shipped off to Rosarita, Mexico to enjoy a romantic stint with my ancient and highly eccentric pappy. My pop had moved to mexico when I was 8 years old because he “enjoyed the warm weather”. My mom told us that he was really just avoiding paying taxes. It was probably a nice mixture of both. Weeks quickly became months as Shades and I spent our days jamming to the one English music station on the radio. We would wander the streets of Mexico together to pass the time, inhaling pineapple popsicles and collecting hobo dogs as pals. People would stare at our motley crew as we meandered about. My long blonde hair and the sheer quantity of odd-looking hounds were rather a bizarre sight. We often collected five or six dogs, and they followed us everywhere. It was always a bit depressing when I couldn’t let them into the dingy apartment building I was living in, but at least they got an adventure and a shit ton of affection from me.

How We Became Soulmates

My pop couldn’t quite get it together enough to put me in school, so I would just daydream about being famous, or a becoming a Montana horse ranch owner. He was a sweet man, but didn’t know how to care for a kid and would leave me alone for days at a time. He would give me a twenty for food and I would buy plain cheese pizza and cheap mexican candy and gorge until I was sick. I also would watch that gay as hell Angelina Jolie movie, Firefox, on repeat. Actually, to be more specific, I really just watched the scene where Legs kissed the plain faced prudish girl, over and over. I would tell myself that it was “just a cool movie about teens who took charge”. But really I was feeling turned on imagining I was the prude babe while simultaneously denying to myself that I was a Mega-LESBO. My high school years were incredibly isolating for me, with Shady being pretty much my only friend for what seemed like an eternity. We were incredibly close, and I rarely left her at home.

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  1. This is so sweet and powerful. Thanks for writing it! This should be a film.


  2. this is so beautiful. thanks so much for sharing yourself and your soul mate with the internet <3

  3. Katie Liederman

    so so good.

  4. This makes me think back to my own dear lost friend, my old kitty that passed away a few years back. And it brings back the same feelings that re-reading this must make you. Thanks for sharing, it’s a really beautiful story.

  5. Brian Smith

    Tuck, You truly are an amazing person. Can’t wait to see you on the 17th.


  6. Sage

    It’s too early on a Sunday morning to be crying. Ah, Tuck. This is such a beautiful, incredible homage to an amazing companion and I am so sorry for the loss of your best friend. I can only hope if and when you are ready, you might consider in her honor rescuing another dog in need and giving that animal a lifetime of complete love the way you did with Shady. She was an amazing dog who got lucky by meeting an amazing guy and getting to spend the rest of her life with him. I am so sorry for your loss. I know how deeply that hurts.

  7. Sophie

    Dear Tuck,
    Please believe me when I say I deeply understand your pain and your grief. It’s visceral and seemingly has no limits. But I also know you would not give up even a nanosecond of time spent with your beautiful soulmate, Shady, to not feel this pain right now. My soulmate was also my first dog, a yellow lab, and not one day goes by when thoughts of her don’t clutch at my heart. The visceral pain will stay with you for a while, the feelings of loss and emptiness a while longer. But I promise you, there will come a day when you can speak about her without weeping.
    Goddess bless for sharing such a moving, heart-warming and beautiful story of love.

  8. hilary

    This is so beautifully written. Sometimes I feel like no one understands how much I love my dog–and reading this makes me feel less lonely in that experience. Also, thank you for preparing me for what is to come. Betty-Lou is 11 and, while she’s still healthy, I am afraid of life without her. Reading this helps me acknowledge my fear of the future and it also reminds me that even when she’s gone, she’s still with me. I mean, I didn’t know about Shady until she was gone…and your story about you and her affects me deeply…so she’s still here in some way. Thank you for showing me how even with loss there is life and new growth and gifts and beauty. Your words remind me to appreciate every day I still have with Betty-Lou and they also help me feel less afraid for life with out her. Thank you.

  9. Sang-gye

    Thank you.

  10. Kace

    This is absolutely amazing. Thanks so much for sharing.

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