Sometimes I just don’t believe the shit that happens.
My precious Thora turns 8 years old in one month. I’ve had her since she was 3 months old. My then-boyfriend found her running around Savannah looking for someone to play with. He was working on a movie, The Gift, in which Thora appears in the opening credits. My ex called me and asked me to come from Atlanta, where we were living, to Savannah to get our new dog who had disrupted the filming schedule one too many times with her barking.
Thora didn’t have a name for the first couple of weeks. But “thoro” means “gift” in Greek. Since she was our gift, and also in “The Gift,” there you go. Having only had hamsters and a chinchilla, I never felt connected to a pet in my life. That first night I got to Savannah in February of 2000, Thora lay in bed with me in some horrifying fleabag motel while my ex was filming overnight. She rolled over on her back and slept with all four legs spread out like a starfish. I thought, “Holy shit. She spreads her legs like me!” No, wait. That’s not what I thought. I thought, “I’m actually someone’s quasi-mom now. WHAT HAVE I DONE?”
Other than the time when she ate an inkjet cartridge on Christmas morning, other than the time when she grabbed the fabric skirt on the couch and went running across the room tearing it with her as she went, other than the time when she tried to dig out of our apartment and pulled up the rug and padding down to the concrete, other than the time she jumped out of the car on Buford Highway in Atlanta to chase a squirrel, other than the time she rolled in a septic field and smelled like shit for weeks, other than the time she killed my ex’s mom’s chickens (OMG don’t ask, please don’t ask,) I have loved this dog.
When she ran away from my ex’s house, I went on an all out rampage to get her back. I was living in Maryland at the time. I made a spreadsheet called Thora Come Home. I sat at work and made phone calls all day and placed ads in newspapers. The 3rd day the ad dropped, someone called to say “I think my neighbor has your dog.” I drove all night with my friend to go get her. No one was going to stop me.
When we pulled up in front of the lesbian’s house (look, that’s who rescued her, ok? and yesssss they have lesbians in red states) Thora walked outside, looked at me as if to say “Where have you been, bitch” jumped in the original Velvet, crawled in the backseat and went to sleep. I had brought all sorts of pictures to prove Thora was mine and I wasn’t just some lunatic driving from Maryland to Macon, Georgia to get a dog. But when they saw that they said, “Thas yer dog a’ight.”
So, present day. Thora has been having trouble walking all of a sudden. I took her to the vet for x-rays. I expected a torn ligament. I expected arthritis. I did not expect this.
“Did you know your dog has been shot?”
I actually said to the doctor, “SHUT THE FUCK UP!”
“Yes, quite a few times.”
I saw the x-ray. I saw 11 bullets. I brought the King of the Dog Park. He also saw the 11 bullets. We were stunned. I swear, I felt like fainting. Like everything just changed. In an instant. Who the fuck would shoot a dog? I called my ex, and we reconstructed a timeline of the last 8 years, and we have no idea. How does your dog get 11 wounds and you don’t notice blood? So did it happen before we got her? And if so, why didn’t she ever show any signs of injury before now? Did she get it in that time she was on the run, when she ended up at the lesbian’s house? I don’t know. I’ll never know. I’m just honestly – stunned. For years, I have wondered what Sammy and Thora’s lives were like before they came into mine. But in my wildest dreams, I never imagined they were abused or, worse, shot.
So now, my dear sweet Thora, I get it. I get why thunder scares you. I get why the slamming of the UPS truck door makes you jump. I get why the popping of the bubble wrap petrifies you so much you hide under the bed. Now it all makes sense. I often wish my dogs could talk. There’s so much I want to know that only they can tell me. Though, thoughts of gunshots and bullets…maybe I don’t want to know it all.
Loves you Thora Bean. You’ll always be my first baby. I’ll spend all my money and jack up my credit cards to make sure you get well.