In memoriam of the man
We said our farewells yesterday. Sully was off all morning, and my wife called me after speaking to the vet, and he said that it was probably time to say goodbye. I left work early and went home. He was on the couch. His head popped up, and he slowly rose and trotted over to say hello. He had a few pieces of bologna, and we got hopeful, so we took him for a walk around the block. It was beautiful. Sully loved going for walks, and I wish we’d done it more. He sniffed around, and tried to pee every 15 feet or so, but it was apparent that he really wasn’t fully himself. When we returned home, I spoke to the vet, and he let me know that what I was hoping to happen would not come to pass. He would not get better, even for a little while. This would get worse, much worse. We didn’t want him to have to experience the pain. We wanted him to go with dignity. We made the call. The kids said goodbye, and we went in.
When the time came, he knew he was loved. My wife held his body and kissed him, while I held his head and looked him in the eyes, telling him how much I love him and how wonderful he is. I thanked him for his love and for letting us be a part of his beautiful life. I watched him go, and completely broke down…
Going home was tough. I drove through never-ending tears and sobbing, and had to remove the crate from the dogs’ area once we got there. Finally, I hung his collar on the cast I made of his paw the night before. For the rest of the night, we were assaulted by bouts of sobbing, crying, and screaming. He was our amazing Sully man. He was “the blanket”. Here are some highlights of his beautiful life.
Sully joined us as a foster. We were part of a pitbull rescue, and there was another dog on death row that we were gonna foster and save. When we called to pick that dog up, we were told that it was too late, but there’s another in the same position. We drove to Harlem that night and rescued him…and he returned the favor. The first time he came out of his crate, after being at our home, he walked over to my wife (she was sitting on the floor) and stepped right into her lap and curled up. This was the beginning of our realization that we’d rescued the most beautiful, kind, and loving little soul on the planet. I remember that we had to put this super smelly sauce on his food because of how bad his kennel cough was.
Sully used to get “the crazies”, and when he did you could see the white around his eyes. He’d look at me and bark, a deep baritone woof. When he got the crazies, he’d run around like any other dog. The only difference is that he didn’t really control his body. One time, he ran at a section of the couch, jumped at it sideways, hit the top part of the couch and flipped it over. Once he rolled off, the weight of the footrest of the couch caused it to right itself, and he had the nerve to look at ME like I was the one who did it. Also, during the crazies, he would spin in circles from the excitement. This was extra fun, since he didn’t watch his surroundings, and would constantly crash into the furniture, sometimes toppling chairs or slamming the table.
Sully liked chewing branches. No, not sticks, branches. I remember when I was cutting up the logs from an old split rail fence. I had the 12 foot sections, and while I was trying to cut up one end with a chainsaw, Sully was biting and dragging the other end. He would also do this if I ever tried to drag around a large branch in the yard, biting one end, and trying like hell to drag it around and chew it. Most dogs chew sticks. Sully was more of a branch guy.
He also had specific marking grounds, certain places in the yard where he would always go and pee. Unfortunately for me, he’d always pee on my damn fireplace outside! I’ve had two, and he made it a point to “bless” both of them….repeatedly. What made matters worse, was that he’d pee for like 10 freaking minutes. Sully was extremely well housebroken, and never had an accident unless he was sick, no matter how long he was left alone. Then, he’d have to go outside and lose half his weight…
He got his name, Sullivan, because when we picked him up, his previous owner who gave him up listed his name as saloman, or something like that. We figured we’d try to keep the name close while remaining literate, so Sully Man was coined. He got his other nickname, blanket, a bit later on. He would jump on our bed and curl up, and when we walked by looking for him, he’d just look up and stay perfectly still, as if to say “nobody here but us blankets”. One specific time, he jumped on the couch. We keep throw blankets folded on top of the couch. He reached up, grabbed some blankets with his mouth, and pulled them down over himself. They he’d lay down and remain “invisible among the blankets”. Once again, nobody here but us blankets.
Another reason for his name, he’d lay on you like a blanket. Sully was a very gentle and affectionate dog. He’d lay in your lap, and just be a silent loving warmth, which added a completeness to comfort and life. He was 70 lbs of lap dog, and would not take no for an answer. Even when I was sitting on the couch trying to work on my laptop, he’d try to crawl in my lap and stomp on my computer. Trying to push him off was like trying to push a large bag of water off of yourself. Push one side, the other slips past. It was a dance that I will miss forever. Once he was on you, however, he’d enable his alter ego…Fambian, or furry ambien. It was near impossible to not fall asleep and remain that way when Sully was curled up with you. Better than any sleep aid, and far more addicting.
Only 2 things were bad about Sully, his gas and his breath. He could clear a room faster than if I stripped off my clothes and started doing naked yoga. He was also one of those dangerous pit bulls, since he was a pit bull/black lab mix. His tail was a lethal weapon, like getting whacked with a baton. We were forced to put any breakable Christmas ornaments on the top of the tree, because Sully’s tail would home run them across the room. I’ve had welts on my leg from him, and I’ll miss them too.
Sully was also not one of those dogs who’d catch food in mid air. Instead, he’d just stare at you while the food landed on his head, occasionally looking puzzled as if he smelled the food on his head and wondered what sorcery I had conjured to accomplish such a feat.
Then there were the car rides. Sully would fight to get in the car, and once there, he’d whine the ENTIRE RIDE! First he’d whine about the window not being open enough, so he couldn’t hang half his freaking body out of the car. Then, he’d whine that he wasn’t in my lap. Sometimes, he’d jump into the front seat and crawl across the console to put his head in my lap for scratchies, repeatedly knocking the car into neutral while I drove. This made evasive maneuvers just a normal part of driving Mr. Man.
Finally, there was his love. Sully loved everyone. If someone came to the house, and he didn’t know them, he’d instantly make a friend. Everyone who met him, loved him. When people expressed fear of the breed, or of dogs in general, we’d introduce them to Sully and he’d work his healing magic on their hearts. My mother would ask to have him stay with her when my father would go away fishing for a week out of the year. They’d curl up and watch old movies together. Our close friend’s daughter met him, and told her mom “I want a Sully”. Quite a few of our friends expressed how much they would love to take Sully home with them. We are incredibly thankful that we were blessed with sharing those 5 years with Sully. He made our world brighter, overflowing with love, and more complete. We will miss you always, Sully Man, and will love you forever!