Merry Christmas from my Blu Hart

Debbie Jacob -
Debbie Jacob -

Debbie Jacob

THIS IS MY second Christmas without my beloved pit bull Rambo, my once-in-a-lifetime dog who took care of me in ways I never expected any human to do. He knew when I would be sick, even before I knew. He would force me to sit or lie down in my bed before a sudden fever would make me feel faint.

He nudged me toward my bed when it was time to sleep, woke me up from sleep when I had nightmares, and woke me up at 4 am because he knew I liked to work at that time. He went on all my evening errands with me and stayed in the car, with the windows cracked, so he could watch me from the front seat. He got me through all the difficult times in my life, and was my perfect covid19 pandemic company.

My Christmas tree has taken on a whole new meaning since Rambo’s passing. It symbolises all the joyful and peaceful holidays we spent together. In Rambo’s final days, when he was so sick he could barely move, he willed himself from his bed to lie down under the Christmas tree. He had never done this, so I asked myself, “What message is Rambo sending? Is he saying, “Remember me every Christmas? Be happy during the holidays? Find peace?”

I remember the year I had a tree with stuffed animals. Rambo took one off of the tree to sleep with him. He was such a sweet dog who defied the stereotypic image of a pit bull.

I felt sure I would never have another dog again. I knew – indeed I know – no dog can ever replace Rambo. We know we can never replace a loved one, but we find people – or animals– who help mend the holes in our hearts.

During the pandemic, I had visited some puppies, and fell in love with one who became available after Rambo died. It took Blu a while to get to me, but when she finally came home, I recalled she had been born on Christmas Day. She is three years old today. I remembered Rambo sniffing her on me whenever I came home after visiting Blu. I felt sure Rambo had given me a message to take care of her. She is a loving dog with many issues we are working through.

I feel like Rambo’s message on his last Christmas was, “Give back. I took care of you the best I could. Now it’s your turn to help some dogs who need it.”

And so I knew when I learned of Hart, a TT police dog, who had to retire at seven after going blind, that he too was a dog for me. Now, in the evening, I switch on the Christmas tree lights and think, “Who needs Rudolph when you have a dog named Hart like the fleet-footed red deer? Rambo, Blu and Hart remind me of the spirit of Christmas.

Sometimes I cry when I think of Rambo, but now the tears are for the beauty of the experience of having him. In the pain that comes from loss, we often think, “Should I have opened my heart and let this person or animal in?” No, we are not better off trying to protect ourselves from the pain that can come from unconditional love.

We are happier and wiser in the long run when we face those vulnerable moments because we open ourselves up to the endless possibilities of love. When we face the pain that comes from loss, and accept the process of grief, we are capable of mending in unimaginable ways. All of our emotions expand, and we experience life on a whole new level. Just know that the pain you feel will give way to immeasurable happiness again.

In the end, good memories sustain us and get us through the tough times. Peace comes from the unmistakable knowledge that we soared to another level of life because that person or animal was once by our side.

This Christmas Day, enjoy the peace that defines this holiday. Live in the moment. Venture back to happy memories and know that there will be more of them – even if there are pangs of unhappiness that sometimes surface. Never give up hope of finding something close to the perfect relationship you once had with a person or a pet.

What are the odds that after Rambo I would have discovered my Blu Hart?

Merry Christmas, everyone. Live with love, hope and happiness.


"Merry Christmas from my Blu Hart"

More in this section