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Last week, Sean and I had our morning coffee on the balcony and watched as the Enterprise shuttle was pulled down the Hudson on a tug boat. It’s on its way to the Intrepid and I can’t wait to see it up close at the museum!

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A Sad, Sad Day in Katanaland

My mother called me on Saturday, a choked sound brushing over her vocal chords. The second she said “Hello,” I could tell something was wrong. Is it dad? Bridget? Bo?…

“Bo is fine,” she said.

Anytime something is wrong and the bearor of bad news says, ’so and so is fine,” you always know they’re the person who’s not. You immediately know that the person who is “fine” is the one who is suffering the most. My mind started racing. Was it a car crash? Cancer? Did he get arrested…he is, afterall, the Katana with the shortest fuse.

“Weejes passed away.” Weejes is our dog. Well, was our dog, I suppose. He was a birthday present from my sister, Bridget to my brother, Bo when I was 15ish. He was a white boxer/bulldog mix, the runt of the litter, and retarded. Literally. The veterinarian said that he was the equivalent to a child who had Downs.

My family always had a tendency to adopt the stupidest or the ugliest dog. They tug at our heartstrings a little more than the adorable puppies peeking with large, wet eyes out from behind the kennel bars. We know the cute puppies will be adopted within an hour. But that ugly, mangey albino puppy with patches of fur missing, an eye that focused constantly on the wall beside you, and a case of worms so severe that his little belly was swollen to the floor, would never get adopted. Unless of course, a Katana laid eyes upon him. Luckily for Weejes, my sister did just that. My sister was his savior.

“You sure you want this one?” The kennel worker asked her. “He may not live to see the morning.”

“More than sure,” Bridget nodded.

“It’s your money, lady. We don’t give refunds, though.”

Bo had been wanting a dog to keep his other Boxer, Mojo, company. He was living with us and my parents cringed at the thought of having yet another dog running around on their newly tiled kitchen and pristine hard-wood floors. But they saw the joy Mojo brought not only to Bo, but to all of us. And so, though reluctant, they agreed.

The first few weeks we had him, he could fit into the palms of my hands. I would cradle him in my arms at night and sneak him to my bedroom to fall asleep with him, only to wake up terrified at the thought that I may have accidentally crush his tiny body in my sleep. While I was supposed to be doing my algebra homework, he would curl up on my chest and fall asleep to the beating of my heart. Bo named him Weejes after my sister, since she was the one who brought him into our lives. (The name Weejes is derived from Bridgets nickname which started as Beejes, but then transformed into Weejes. My brother is an interesting character. Who knows where he comes up with this shit)

Weejes was a good dog. A loyal dog. As I said, he was mentally retarded, so we would have to teach him the basic commands, like sit, only to discover that 5 minutes later, he had no recollection of ever learning the command. We called him our “Little Man” because he was the miniature version of Mojo, his bigger brother. And when he was happy, his body would curve into a U shape and his butt would wiggle while walking sideways towards you. It was “The Little Man Dance,” and it was reserved for very special occasions, such as when you had been gone all day and returned home with a treat you had picked up from the store.

For some reason, he was terrified of stairs. It took years, literally, for us to teach him that the stairs going from the porch down to the yard were in fact NOT going to turn into a giant puppy-eating monster and swallow him whole. We had to carry him up and down whenever he needed to go out, which was fine, until his 5 lb puppy frame turned into 10 lbs. Then 20. Then 50. Then 60.

He was around 5 years old when he died. He had a brain tumor that we never even knew about and on Saturday, he had a seizure. It was sudden, which makes it all the harder to accept that Weejes is gone. To anyone who understands this feeling, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you have felt the pain that I currently feel. And to those who don’t understand, perhaps it’s better that way. But then again, that also means that you’ve never experienced a 60lb dog knocking you down at the knees just so he can better lick your face. You’ve never had an animal constantly anticipating your arrival and whimper and cry each time you left. And while I know that this lump will take a while to disappear, and that the ache will eventually fade, I know the pain is good. In some ways, my dog deserves a few tears shed over his death for the many years of happiness and the numerous laughs he provided.

Weejes—Christmas this year will not be the same without you trying to steal the candy canes off of the tree. It will not be the same without you nosing through the wrapped cordial cherries Dad gives us every year. And it will not be the same when the whole family settles down to watch a movie with you not there to cuddle with us by the fire.

You were a good dog, Little Man. And you will be missed.

4 Responses to “A Sad, Sad Day in Katanaland”

  1. Ello Says:

    I’m sorry about Weejes. It’s so hard to lose a member of the family.

  2. Colleen_Katana Says:

    Thank you, Ello. It’s definitely not easy, but I just keep reminding myself that it was better to have had him in our lives and say goodbye than to never know his love at all. A similar thought process as Better to have loved and lost, I suppose.

  3. DC Says:

    Ms. Katana,
    I’m really sorry to hear about Weejees. I remember last year when Emily lost her kitty Millington around this time, the holidays seem to magnify their absence.

    Weejees sounds like an incredible friend. Thanks for sharing some great memories of him.

  4. Colleen_Katana Says:

    Thank you DC. It’s definitely not an easy thing, and I remember when Millington passed how crushed Emily was. Christmas will be tough, but his memory will live on…

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