I’m pretty sure that Guinness came to me from a puppy mill even though there was talk of American Kennel Association papers or other such nonsense. While I was talking to the girl desperately trying to sell him to me, he dumped my purse, chewed the strap off of it, and ate some of my favorite lipstick. His giant paws then slapped at me as this Golden Retriever puppy made Wookie sounds, and I handed my credit card over to the girl. I had always wanted a Golden Wookie, and he entered my life at the perfect time.
Nearly 13 years ago when Guinness came into my life, I had taken an unexpected and sad turn. Actually, I was also angry too. I went from a vibrant and successful woman to somebody who was struggling to get up from the couch. I was on my own for the moment, and the only thing I could think to do was fill my life with something stat. From Day One, Guinness was the most loyal and wildest companion that I had ever known. Guinness was to me like Chewbacca was to Han.
I’m not going to lie. I still wanted to stay on the couch even after I brought Guinness home, but he would not let me. He ran through the house with toilet paper; peed on the carpet as I watched from my sadness perch; dragged my workout clothes from the laundry and chewed them up; and found his barely used leash tucked in a corner and smacked my head with it. At one point I was sleeping, and he chewed some of my hair off and drank the rest of my wine from a poorly placed glass. It was time to get up and take my Wookie for a walk and live my life again.
So walk we did, even though he would sit down halfway through the walk when he decided he was done, and I would have to negotiate for hours to get him home. I took him everywhere, and I focused on teaching him some manners, an impossible task. If I cried, he licked my face, and I found new determination to fix my life. I graduated with my MBA, made new friends, and fixed the things that were broken. My life was full again, and it was all because of this ridiculous ball of fur that did not bark but made rumbling Wookie noises all day long.
Guinness was there when my first baby was born over a year later. He was there when two more were born. I gave him less focus and love as I adjusted to motherhood, but he never left my side. He was gentle to my babies, and he looked on as if he understood what I needed to do. He was accepting of other furry creatures as they entered our household too. His loyalty played out in the form of acceptance, and he settled down and into our hearts. And as my babies grew, they fell deeply in love with this gentle, lazy giant that did not mind being crawled over, slept on or chased relentlessly.
So on Day 65, nearly 13 years later from when I purchased my Wookie, I knew that I had to show the greatest act of loyalty to Guinness despite the fact that my heart was breaking into a million pieces. My incredibly loyal husband who also held great love for this Wookie, had taken the helm while I was out of town trying to do everything he could to get our pup back to a place of health, but there was no turning back of the freaking clock. We had to accept that it was time for the last trip to the vet. Sitting in an exam room with my daughter and me, Guinness made one last Wookie grumble, his face in my hands with the sweetest look from the sweetest dog ever. He exited my life with more quietly than he entered it, but I’m sure he did so because he knew that was the best for me and the family. He always knew what was best for us.
Over these wonderful years, I came to realize that Wookie dogs are forever companions. They leave a unique mark on our life because of their fierce loyalty. They don’t give up on us, and we should never give up on them even when it means facing a decision to end their suffering. If I close my eyes now, I see Guinness running around on a field of toilet paper, wearing a garbage lid on his head as we often found him, and making loud and glorious Wookie sounds. He was not just important to me. This family has lost a dear member, and he will always be a part of our fabric through memories that endure time. My Goodness, My Guinness! You were awesome.