“What we have once enjoyed we can never lose; All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.“Helen Keller
I ask your indulgence today as I jot down some memories of our girl, Luna. After three days of frantic searching, I found her lifeless body on the side of the road Sunday. She startled at some bottle rockets (Family mistakenly thought she was inside), bolted, and was hit by a car.
Luna came to us three years ago, a six-month old bundle of nerves and anxiety. My ex and I were traveling around the country while I did my travel nursing thing. Around Christmastime in 2018 I was working a gig in Savannah, GA. Dobby had been our travel buddy for about a year by then, and it worked out so well that I gave Herm (my ex) Luna as a Christmas gift.
A Dubious Beginning
Luna was supposed to be a show dog, but apparently didn’t have the temperament for it. When I went to the handler’s house to pick her up that Sunday, the cause of her issues were glaringly apparent. My money was taken, papers were shoved at me, and a cowering little beauty was roughly removed from a cage and thrust into my arms. The handler then abruptly turned on her heels and went inside. Thus began Luna’s new life.
Upon arrival to the camper, Luna nipped both Herm and me out of uncontrollable fear. She became pretty comfortable with Herm after a couple days, but I was unable to get near her for three full weeks. I absolutely terrified her, and it broke my heart. But given enough sweet talk and treats, Luna eventually came around and began trusting me also.
Dobby and Luna were the perfect road trip companions for a couple of older people traveling in a camper. We enjoyed exploring our new digs with them. They never threw up and never had accidents, although Luna did go through a “chew up ALL of Mom’s blankets and sheets” phase.
Dobby and Luna got along splendidly and were inseparable, often snuggling together in the dog sling in the back seat as we drove, drove, drove.
I knew that when I hung up my traveling shoes and came home permanently, Luna would have some challenges. She was very intimidated by people and loud noises, and overwhelmed by the other animals. She began hiding in the bedroom whenever family came to the camper.
Everyone was so patient and understanding with her. It became a family goal to help Luna overcome her traumas and fears and live a happy life. Luna was surrounded with love and gentle encouragement, and was never pushed beyond her level of comfort. With time, she came to trust us, and her beautiful, loving nature blossomed. She started standing up to our canine bully, Molly. Her playful side emerged, and she would find great joy in stealing Dobby’s toys, dropping them elsewhere, and then walking away. Her full-body contortions and stealthy, surprise nostril kisses on my arrival home from work erased any stress I’d bring home with me. And the last thunderstorm she experienced found her calm and unconcerned instead of frantic, trembling, and panting.
Luna was finally living her best life. I take comfort in knowing until her last moments, she was surrounded by love and security. The events leading to her death were completely unintentional and accidental, but devastating to all of us nonetheless.
After three days of searching, calling out, and flooding local Facebook pages, coming home from work on the 4th I had an impulse to take the longer back road home. I knew I was going to find Luna on that drive. I kept visualizing seeing a frightened, bedraggled rat terrier wandering around and the joyous homecoming that would await us.
But unfortunately, this was not to be. As soon as I saw the white body in the ditch, my powers of denial went into overdrive.
Pulling the truck over: Don’t worry. It could be any animal. It’s probably not Luna.
Walking the 100 feet: See? It’s darker than Luna. Yeah, it’s about her size, but it’s not her.
By the time I got there I was begging that body not to be Luna. Not until I was finally able to see the brown markings on her face…then I knew. As painful as it was to find her like that, I am thankful that her death appeared to be instant. And we are not still trolling back roads, calling her name, always wondering.
So for now, Luna, play and run with your new friends. Keep chasing those chickens out of the gardens. Listen in when we remember you fondly. In time, we will all be together again. Until then, you remain alive in our hearts and our memories. Thank you for Be-ing with us!