A Personal Pause

 Well, here we are into 2021 and I’m going to be flat out honest, I had a hard time with this blog post. I probably should be talking about Pug Rescue of Korea and a few of the grants we awarded recently. However, I kept hitting road blocks and since this isn’t a “BlogBot” behind the scenes, I needed to pause from the business and talk about something personal.

In the last blog in October, I reflected on the dumpster fire that was 2020. COVID-19 came crashing down. Cancelled events, quarantine, businesses shutting down and the absolutely abominable loss of life.  And then there were the Pug losses. Cosmo!, the Mega E Pup was the kickoff for us, then Bella, Danielle’s best friend and her reason for becoming involved in rescue. This was a huge blow to us all. We miss that Sassy girl.

We hoped to get through the rest of the year unscathed. Why not? We made it ten months into the year, what else could go wrong?

I have learned to never ask that question again.

On November 14th, Jodi and I had a sudden and engulfing electrical fire which spread faster than we could have thought possible. Jodi was able to save Butkus and Kirby, as well as me, but she suffered second degree burns in the process and our home was destroyed. Much worse, two of our treasured pugs, Max and Anthony, were lost in the fire. This is a loss so devastating, I still can’t process it. We had Max since he was a puppy and Anthony, much like Danielle’s Bella, was responsible for us jumping into the rescue world. Max was a Velcro pug who delighted in giving kisses and getting rubs. He was devoted to his mommy but loved his daddy, too. Anthony was well known as the Mayor of Pug Town. He would roam events with his funny saunter and give drive by ankle kisses. He would fall asleep sitting up because he hated missing out on anything. Losing our babies would be horrible in any event, but it wasn’t their time and they took a huge piece of our hearts when they died.

Ever fall into a hole so large and so deep that almost no light can penetrate the darkness? That was us for a time. However, there was a light. A bright one. It was the enormous group of people who rushed to our side whether in spirit or in person, to make sure we were okay. Even when we weren’t much fun, even when the tears flowed freely, they were there.

We never would have gotten though it without our Squad. Let me tell you a little about them.

Many of us didn’t know each other before we got involved in rescue. Most of us came together out of the ashes of Curly Tail Pug Rescue and didn’t have a crap-ton in common at that time. We formed Pug Squad and after a shakedown year and some streamlining, we wound up with a smaller group, but one more focused. And along the way we became true friends.

A few weeks after the fire, Jodi and I secured a rental where we can hang our figurative hats until our home was rebuilt. An empty, unfurnished house. I don’t know if you’ve had to rebuild from scratch, but having to rebuy every household item from the ground up gets old quickly. The weekend after we moved in, our Squad shows up with “a few things for the house.”

A few things, did I say?

Two truckloads of items. Tables, chairs, appliances, silverware, and flatware…almost everything you can think of. They organized a collection and hundreds of people contributed. And they didn’t let us do anything. They set it all up and had lunch delivered.

It was a huge thing. We were in tears.

Did I say we were friends? I was wrong. We’re family.

Jodi’s burns have healed so much better than we expected and while the loss still hurts, we’re moving forward. We’re rebuilding and rededicating ourselves in Max and Anthony’s memory. Honestly, I didn’t intend for this first blog post of the year to be this self-indulgent. However, I couldn’t write about anything else until I had a chance to brag about my people.

To all of you out there who contributed and offered your help, who reached out, who comforted, who sent remembrances, good wishes and prayers, we thank you.

Most of all, thank you my Squad: Danielle, Marianne, Nikki, Shawna, Jennifer, Renee and especially my VEEP Nadine, who checked on me every day for weeks as I went from place to place while Jodi had to deal with her burns. Separated and alone, on my father-in-law’s couch with the two dogs, Nade texted and called daily until I was solid enough to function again. Just know Jodi and I love you all. You are the finest people I have ever known.

The next blog will be more traditional. I promise. May this year bring us greater peace and the ability to help even more Pugs.