On June 8th, 2020, three months after the rise of the global pandemic, my life took a drastic turn for the worst.
Okay, wait... I am getting ahead of myself. Let's take it back to the beginning.
*insert rewind noise & flashing lights here*
I was probably ten or eleven years old when my dad was invited to a crawfish boil at one of his coworkers' house. Unbeknownst to me, they had two Great Danes, one of which was 5 months old, that I ended up falling in absolute love with. They let me walk their pup around the block and at that moment I just knew I had to have one.
It wasn't until my freshman year of college that my childhood cocker spaniel passed away, but I knew our other dog needed a companion and it just HAD to be a Great Dane!
To make a long story short, my mom and I wound up at a breeders house one afternoon about six or seven months later and brought home our first Dane, Opal!
Fierce, outgoing, independent and attention-seeking are just a few words I would use to describe our girl! Unfortunately for me, she spent the majority of her first two years with my parents who fell absolutely in love with her. So, when I decided to move to Florida after college on a whim in 2018, they were too attached to let me bring her with me...
I only stayed in Florida for a short time and when my time there was coming to an end, I knew I wanted to get a dog that I could call 100% my own. So what did I do? Hopped back on the breeders website and put down a deposit on another Dane who was scheduled to crash on my couch a week after I returned home!
You know how they say, "its better to ask for forgiveness than it is permission"??? Welllllllllp... that is how it has always worked with my dad so I knew I had to get creative if he was going to let me bring yet another dog in his house that wasn't discussed with him first...
That is another long story so I will save it for another time, but Dymond instantly became part of the family (after some profanities that came from my father - OOPS!).
I don't have any children (yet), but Dymond was the closest thing to that. And to all you moms out there who get your panties in a wad when people compare their animals to kids - just relax.
The bond that we shared was unlike any other. He was my best friend, shoulder to cry on, work dude, hiking partner, cuddle monster, my everywhere buddy, and most of all, home. Dymond was best friends with my roommates cat, Peanut, probably because the laser pointer was a shared-interest of theirs. He loved sweet potatoes and peanut butter, and he taught me the importance of always stopping to smell the flowers. Every. Single. One.
He spent most of his days home at my apartment during the week while I was at work, but I always came home and promised him that I was working my you-know-what off to get him a big house with a yard he absolutely deserved. He couldn't have cared less, but I promised him anyway.
On top of having a full-time job, I was also in nursing school at the time. Because of COVID, we were in school online and finals were right around the corner. I was sitting in my room studying for Anatomy and Physiology one afternoon when my roommate (who was also in school with me) and her boyfriend insisted we deserved a much-needed study break.
Dymond LOVED to swim, so of course we decided to go to our local state park to enjoy the lake before going back to sitting in front of our computers all night. We were at a secluded place in the water for about 3 minutes when a park ranger came over and told us that the beach we were at was 'closed' and told us to drive to another location.
The location she sent us to was PACKED with people (go figure), but we drove all the way there so we decided we might as well just suck it up and stay. We moved all of our stuff back to the beach in a small area amongst the hundreds of people and Dymond and I started walking to the water.
It was in that split second, on June 8th, 2020 that my life flipped upside down.
As we were walking to the water I saw another dog, dragging his leash, running towards us. I let go of Dymond's leash, too because they were circling around each other and doing the butt-sniff thing. Everything was okay until it wasn't.
In a split second, the dog immediately latched onto the base of Dymond's tail and he started letting out screams that still haunt me to this day. It seemed as if that moment lasted a lifetime... The other dog was biting him, me, I was trying to shove my hands in his mouth to get him to let go, my roommate ran over and started smacking the dog on the head, and FINALLY he unlatched his jaw...
The owner and the dog fled towards the parking lot with my roommates boyfriend on his heels, and Dymond and I sat there frozen on the beach with hundreds of eyes watching.
The owner and his dog fled the scene, side swiping the car parked next to him on the way out. The police never could uncover any information about the owner and I was left with no closure and tens of thousands of dollars in vet bills.
The week carried on, and on, and on. Finals were impossible to study for and Dymond wasn't making any improvements despite an extensive surgery and an entire cabinet full of medications.
My roommate and the cats took turns watching Dymond while I was at work but he spent the end of the week back in the ICU due to severe edema and elevated bilirubin levels. By Saturday the 13th, his infection got the best of him and I was forced to make the hardest decision of my life. The doctors did everything they could for him but it still wasn't enough. I had the option to try and freeze some of his cells to aid in his recovery, but they advised against me spending my entire life's savings due to the slim possibility of it even working and recommend humane euthanasia.
My boyfriend and I drove back to the hospital, tears in our eyes, where I was met face to face with him for the very last time. He kissed my nose as he wobbled into the room and I could tell he felt immediately relieved to see me again. I told him how much I loved him and rubbed his sweet face as he passed peacefully in my lap.
It has almost been two years since that tragic accident, and it still hurts my heart just as bad. The worst realization is that he's almost been gone longer than he had even been on this earth...
So, my store is named after him in his honor! This business is a stepping stone on the way to getting him the backyard I had always promised, and best believe I still think about it every single day.
I remember looking into his eyes one night and saying, "Dymond, I don't know what I would do without you," and it kills me to say that I am currently living in that reality. In addition to stopping and smelling all of the flowers I see, I am usually always greeted by a butterfly (another thing he used to attract), almost every time I go outside. Call it what you will, but I find comfort in thinking he is sending me subtle messages every now and again to let me know he is always with me.
Dymond, my sweet angel boy, this is for you. May everyone hear your story, feel our pain, and make a change. May everyone love a bit harder, stop and smell the roses, and enjoy the moments a little bit longer. And last but not least, may no one forget your name and the legacy you left behind. I hope heaven is still treating you to the finest peanut butter and I hope you have another kitty friend, you deserve it more than anyone I'll ever know. It was an absolute honor to be your mama, until we meet again 🤍🦋🐾