She was six months and I was sixteen years when we were kidnapped. Taking her out for a late night walk, we were suddenly and abruptly shoved into the back of a beaten up yellow taxi cab. I barely protested it because in my immediate thoughts, I decided to just casually open the other door the moment I was fully in. My brilliant plan was to basically hop in, and then hop right back out and fucking RUN. Unfortunately, once the car door slammed behind us, I realized that he had rigged the locks, and we were stuck. I was never able to describe to the police what he looked like. His face was always just an angry blur to me. His eyes stood out though. They were furious and crazy and frantic and his pupils were so dilated that his eyes looked almost entirely black. The other thing I remembered was there there were “101 dalmation” stickers plastered all over the dashboard. I kept telling myself that this would be a good clue, and tried to memorize every dusty and peeled part of them.
He drove for over an hour, hand leaned back and pressing my head down in the seat while he shouted threats in a language I couldn’t understand much of. I was in a state of panic, and kept trying to think of ways to flee. I could see blurry street lights as we flew far from the town of Rosarita, and then only darkness as he drove up the country roads. After what seemed like an eternity we slowed to a stop and he yanked me up front with him. He pulled my clothes off and started groping me while I sobbed hysterically. After a few minutes I noticed that the lock in the front wasn’t rigged. I suddenly screamed so loudly that he actually backed away for an instant, jumped out, and started speeding down the road with Shady flying even faster a bit ahead of me.
My legs weren’t quick enough and within minutes my head was being slammed over and over into the gravel rocks that coated the ground. To this day, I am still in awe on how it is possible for my head to have taken that much abuse, and to still be standing. I felt nauseous as he started dragging me kicking and screaming back into the car. Once in, I began shouting in desperation for Shady after he slammed the door shut. Even in my beaten state, all I could think about was if I didn’t get her back, I’d never find her again. He turned the key and started the motor and I felt like my mind was literally going to explode. Some magical force must have been watching over me that night. Almost out of nowhere Shady had decided to come back to us, and thank fucking god, he let me bring her back into the cab.
He began driving around again, this time pressing my face harder into the dirty leather seats for fear that I would escape again. I was so scared that my heart was racing a mile a minute. I started imagining getting locked away in a cage for the rest of my life, being taken out only to get violated in terrifying ways. I knew that most people that are kidnapped never get away, and this fact had my body tensed up in such an extreme way that I felt like a piece of petrified wood. I literally couldn’t stop trembling intensely the entire time, to the point where I thought my bones would vibrate out of my skin. It’s insane what our bodies go through, and the reactions they have to fear. We finally arrived at a strange looking one room shack, and after he took a lengthy leak while holding my throat with his huge hands, he led both Shady and I inside. The room was decorated in such a fashion that I can only and forever describe it as a “Love Shack”. Bright red comforter on a rickety old cot, pink curtains, a tiny, flickering red lightbulb and dirt floors. I knew once we were in there that this place was specifically designed for raping young women.
I was in the Love Shack for over six hours. At first I was worried about losing my virginity to rape. After a bit, my innocent and childish fears wisened up and I started to worry about being killed. I kept glancing all around me looking for ways to escape. I made a million plans that never went to fruition. I remembered a ghost story told by a schoolmate that involved someone saying “I love Jesus” three times in order to live. I began saying that over and over again, out loud, in hopes that it would save my life. He kept telling me to shut up, but I ignored him. I made promises to God, my dead grandmother, the Virgin Mary (I’m not even catholic) and pagan saints whose names I didn’t even know. I swore that I would be a perfect person if I could only live another day. I frantically cried and told him that my incredibly impoverished father was a wealthy man and would pay him. I also told him that I was only 12, because I knew that I looked much younger than my age.
He never raped me. I won’t go into detail why, after all those hours, he was unable to, as it’s a bit too graphic. Lets just say that his tiny coked-out dick will probably never work the same, and one should never underestimate the potential survival instincts and raw fury of a pissed off teenager. After I unleashed some serious CBT on him, he finally overtook me yet again. He started punching with heavy fists over and over on my head and face until it was swollen to almost twice its size. Laying in a daze, with blood draining slowly down from my left ear drum and into sticky red streaks in my hair, I stared into Shady’s eyes. I felt like the only way I was able to breathe right then was because she was with me. This tiny puppy was visibly upset and shaking, and I tried to comfort her. I told her it was going to be okay, over and over, in a then weak voice. After broken-dick-dude had tired himself out beating me, he lay next to me for a bit, his chest heaving from exertion.
I thought I was dead already. But with one of the most bizarre streaks of luck, he decided not to kill me. The cocaine and whatever else he was on may have also worn off at that point. He shoved both Shady and I back into his car and drove us home. In the car ride he kept saying in spanish “no sex, no sex”! I pretended to be happy and that everything was grand on my end, and just kept telling him in broken spanish that it was okay. I was afraid he would change his mind and take us back to the shack, or just outright murder us. He dropped my dog and I right back off at the exact same corner he had taken us. Beaten and bloodied, I somehow made my way back to my pops apartment. It was almost surreal, that night. Thinking I was going to lose my dog. Thinking I was going to lose my once sacred virginity. And then thinking I was going to die. And then I was just back in my living room almost like nothing had happened. Minus of course, my new fun minor hearing loss and the last of my barely-there innocence.
We caught Broken Dick Dude. My mom flew in and both parents and I drove the countryside for days until we found landmarks near the Love Shack that I recognized. The police were incompetent, but friendly, and locked him away for years. It turned out he had a young wife, and I felt sad for her. I saw her at the police station, and looked beaten down herself. She was very young and embarrassed. And don’t bother crying for me. Not only am I one of the toughest mother fuckers out there now, Shady and I became so close that night, that I walked away with the greatest love affair of my life. You don’t go through hell and back with someone and not develop a special connection. We will forever be bound by the pain, the happiness and the life we ended up sharing.
Our Life Together
Over the next fifteen years Shady meandered about with me, always walking by my side. She watched me as I became a jolly/sloppy alcoholic, and adapted easily by becoming a superior bar dog. She would follow me to each dive bar and let herself out to pee by waiting for someone to open the door. As I got drunker, she would walk around to random tables begging for food and affection(slut). One time, while romping free in SF, some cops tried to pick her up and my brilliant, escapist dog ran from them all the way home. They managed to drag her out of the warehouse I was living in, and took her to dog jail. Telling me I needed proof to bust my dog out of the pound, I brought a bizarre professional photograph taken of her with Santa Claus from the year before. It worked, and she was free once again to be my constant sidekick. I have no idea how she put up with me all those years, as I was so fucking wasted. I suppose her love and the pizza I drunkenly shared with her kept her loyal. I think in a way my party times must have been kind of exciting for her. Roaming around everywhere and constantly being fed stale tortilla chips and cheeseburgers isn’t actually that much of a bummer for a very social and insatiably hungry dog.
She watched me as I went through a sex change, and as encouragement, oddly began lifting her leg up to take a piss. Ten years on testosterone and I still can’t do that. She would run next to me as I raced in parks in the middle of the night and through the roads every day. Each girl I loved became her mama, and each girl that broke my heart suddenly got the cold shoulder from her. She’s been awkwardly on porn sets, modeled for both photographers and painters, had a lesbian romance with an old black lab. Shady stole the hearts of everyone that met her. She disapproved of my casual encounters, and would insert herself in between us on the bed. I would tell them that she “must really like them”, but I knew she was just being cheeky. We both shared stomachs of steel and would attempt to out eat each other quite frequently. Among her favorites were vanilla ice cream, pizza and salami. I was less selective.
Years ago she became an adopted mama to two very tiny kittens. One day I caught her carrying one of them by the scruff of its neck. I’d like you to just stop and think for a moment about just how strange it was to see a 55 pound dog walking past me with a cat in her mouth. It was fucking weird. Often, my mother’s bizarre pug would lay down and suckle on shadys non-lactating nipples for so many hours that nonconsensual viewers would begin to feel uncomfortable. A few years back, I woke up in the middle of the night to find that she had somehow ended up with a funky hat of mine on her head. My friends insist that this was a dream. I’d like to go ahead and insist right back that it was not a dream. I laid on the ground and kissed her face in the moonlight. It was both romantic and familial, and she was wearing a god damn hat.
After many years passed, we no longer even needed verbal signals between us. We were so in tune that somehow she knew exactly what I wanted her to do. She would put her paw on me when I cried, and jump around happily when I got excited. She watched me grow up from a wild teen girl, to a fucked up young boy and finally helped raise me into the man I am today. I am by far a better person because of my dog. I can’t write anymore about my experiences with her, as it’s been almost fifteen years and it would take an entire book. So I’ll sum up this story with a letter to her.
I miss you so much already, sweetheart. I keep walking down the street feeling numb and imagining that you are walking next to me. Your grey muzzled face is starting to get fuzzy in my head already, and it’s making my heart feel even more broken. I want you to know that I will never love another more than I have loved you. You were so wise with me. You were so calm and patient with me. You were always so happy your entire life, and this in turn made me so happy. I am honored to have called you my wife, my mama, my daughter and my best friend. I wish it hadn’t been so hard for us this last year, and I’m so sorry my love. I will never, ever forget the lessons you taught me with just a look in your sweetbrown eyes. And I want to thank you for giving me what I have always wanted, your unconditional love. You gave a broken child the tools to become a happy man with an open heart, and I am forever grateful. Please watch over me, and I’ll pray every day that we will be together again.
I love you,
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