The Loyal One

We came off the plane and walked into the arms of family where hugs and kisses abounded. My mom smiled at my belly which had now taken on the shape of a basketball, and then we began our walk to the car with luggage in tow. Of course, even though it was almost 10:00 in the evening on December 23rd, the most important topic of conversation was where we would eat.

We decided on one of my favorite Mexican restaurants. We had a great Mexican restaurant in Oklahoma (and the cheese dip actually came with the meal!), but they made chilaquiles with egg, and I missed the dish made with chicken. So, of course, I ordered my chilaquiles, and we requested plenty of cheese dip. I was happy, sitting with my family whom I hadn’t seen in months, sharing good food, and rejoicing together for the little boy who would join our family in March.

I was happy until that night. It came fast and hard, and I found myself with pain in my ribs, the same pain I got as a child that normally ended in my throwing up. And throw up, I did. Soon after the pain, I was gripping the toilet seat as I vomited out my dinner while trying to hold my baby in. I found the feeling strange, as my basketball hung below as I held onto the porcelain stand.

All through the night I visited the bathroom, and, come morning, we had a decision to make. It was Christmas Eve, and we were supposed to open presents with Matt’s family in the morning and then head on from there to his aunt’s house to visit with his mom’s side of the family. I was in no shape to go, but I couldn’t ask Matt to stay–we lived so far away now, and he hadn’t seen his extended family in quite some time. Of course, I wanted to ask Matt to stay, but I couldn’t.

That day as I lay on my parents’ couch I felt so depressed. I was sick and without my husband on Christmas Eve. I had so looked forward to seeing everyone and hearing the ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ as I showed off my belly. Part of the fun of pregnancy is having that moment as the center of attention, and since we lived in Oklahoma now, I didn’t get to share the excitement with family of carrying my first baby.

Instead I got to lay on the couch. I didn’t have the pregnancy glow or look cute–instead, I looked pale and disgusting. The day wore on, and Matt still hadn’t come home. The only steady company I had was Tabasco.

Tabasco is my dad’s crazy dog. He doesn’t look like a dog; he’s more akin to an orange hyena. My sister and her husband rescued this dog and decided to give it to my dad as a present. They snuck him downstairs in my parents’ basement, and, when they made frequent trips down the stairs with pitchers of water, they told Dad that they had bought him a plant for his birthday. Imagine his surprise when he was, instead, presented with a dog who was afraid of men and had a skin disease. Happy Birthday, Dad.

Basco stayed with my family and by my side on that Christmas Eve. It was as if he intuitively knew he had to protect me, and he thrust my arm in the air so he could nuzzle underneath it. I don’t remember much about that Christmas Eve except that Matt was gone, but Tabasco lay at my side. I can’t recall if I watched TV or continued to throw up or just slept the day away, but I remember that ugly dog under my arm.

Basco has never been my favorite pet. He snaps at people he doesn’t know out of fear, and he’s always skiddish. Obviously, the poor dog was abused, and I just want to give him some Prozac to relax. But craziness and all, I can’t help but have a warm spot in my heart for him. He was my loyal friend on a day when I felt like total crap. And I can’t help but love someone or something that doesn’t mind nuzzling with me when I have vomit breath.


Image courtesy of Mark Watson

Post inspired by Mama Kat’s writing prompt, “Food Poisoning–Yuck!” I don’t know if I had food poisoning or a 24-hour virus, but the end result is pretty much the same.

Mama’s Losin’ It

14 thoughts on “The Loyal One

  1. Oh that sounds like no fun at all. I was sick like that once, but I wasn't pregnant AND sick AND away from home AND near family that I couldn't visit AND alone while my husband went to visit. (as he should have, it still just sucks.) At least you had the dog!


    1. That event happened almost six years ago, but it's funny how I still remember Basco's actions. He definitely was the silver lining on that dark cloud!


  2. I love how God designed animals, especially dogs, to have a sense of loyalty and companionship. I'm also always amazed at how we develop a picture in out mind of what a specific encounter will look like, just to have it snatched away and live in a reality that we never would have expected.

    Do you think God likes throwing the strong willed curve balls?

    Great post, my heart was breaking for you…


    1. Thanks, Floyd. Yes, I'm learning to not plan those pictures in my mind with so much detail. Those curve balls tend to come frequently!


  3. FINALLY!!! Tobasco got some well earned recognition.. Now if only you guys would give some recognition and some resemblance of love to Oscar the Min Pin, it would make me very happy. Loyal?
    Absolutely… but only to Mom. He obeys me, comes to me when he wants food, which is always.
    He doesn't listen to Mom, Lisa or anyone; let him off the leash and he is gone. But let me put my arm around Mom or try to kiss her and he growls at me (even tried to bite me on the leg when I went by her
    while she was eating. If he had been around when you were sick, I'm sure he would have stayed by
    you……… even if it was only to have a snack of your vomit.



    1. Ugh, Dad. That was gross. Oscar would have stayed by me, but he still would've demanded the attention reserved just for him. I swear, that dog is going to be requesting pedicures soon.


    1. They sure do! People who say that animals don't have emotion and just operate on instinct obviously don't have pets!


    1. Yes, Basco is still alive. Honestly, I'm not even sure how old he is since my sister rescued him. I'd love to read the story about your grandmother's dog someday! 🙂


  4. I've grown to love Tobasco. He scared me when Lisa brought him home but though the years, he has become "family." Next to Katy, Scout and Oscar he is my favorite canine.


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