Some people consider their pets as their source of happiness. Their wagging tails and licks on their faces whenever they are having a bad day is enough to turn their mood upside down.
But what would happen if they die?
Robie de Guia, co-founder of Saint Roche Premium Dog Shampoo and Saint Roche Haven of Love: Home for the Abused and Abandoned Animals shared how they dealt with the death of their baby chow chow Raiyah and wrote an eye-opening message for non-dog lovers.
"Dear Non-Dog Lovers,
My name is Robie de Guia, I am the co-founder of Saint Roche Premium Dog Shampoo and Saint Roche Haven of Love: Home for the Abused and Abandoned Animals, and I am writing this letter to you today because I’ve kept quiet for a very long time, but now I’d like to address you and defend us dog lovers who treat our dogs like our owns babies.
Over time, we’ve been ridiculed, attacked, and got disapproving stares when we put our baby Raiyah in a stroller when we took her out to the mall, and more often when we put her in a highchair when we dined out with her.
I’ve even got a comment that treating our dog like our own baby disrespects the sacrament of motherhood.
Having said this, I’d like to tell you a story about 'love'.
Trish and I were together for almost 5 years, our relationship was very good and loving. I loved her dearly, and she loved me dearly. We met when we were both living in the province. She was living on her own.
A few months later, Trish and I decided to live together. (I hope my mom doesn’t read this because she will kill me – she’s very religious and very strict with her morality; though we have differences in opinion, I respect her so much for this as when I grew older I realized that values and principles are what makes a person who he is.)
When we moved in together, I was in a lucrative industry, I was a partner in a company that manufactures food supplement in capsule forms. I was doing well, had a decent car and owned a nice house, but a few years later, I’ve decided to enter a less promising industry with my good friend from school, Raj – the dog shampoo business. Yes, it was less promising, but it was something we were really passionate about as we were both dog lovers.
Anyway, since it was...well, dog shampoo, it doesn’t make much. I had to sell my house and all my shares from my previous company so Trish and I could survive a few years with little income. Having said this, Trish and I had to move to the city and rented a very small 28 square meter condominium unit since our office would be in Taguig.
When we were still living in the province, we would be out with our friends almost every night, but when we moved to the city it was just me, Trish, and our baby (a dog), Raiyah.
The change was difficult for us. Though we were together, we missed our friends, the regular night outs, and the big space in our previous house. Moving from a house to a cramped condo was stressful.
As for our work schedule, I had to leave home every day at 10 am and I would be back around 6 pm to 7 pm in the evening. Trish got a work from a US company that allows her to stay home. Her job is actually pretty cool. She finds missing people so her company can contact them and return the surplus money from the US government.
Anyway, because of this, Trish stayed home the whole day. She was always alone. Her source of happiness, her companion, her bestfriend who stayed with her 24/7 – Raiyah, a beautiful and a very loving chow-chow.
Everyday when I woke up, Trish was hugging Raiyah. We even had to remove our bed frame so that our mattress would be on the floor so Raiyah could climb up the bed anytime.
I work Mondays through Fridays and Trish was always excited for Saturdays because it was Raiyah's pasyal day. So even if I wanted a Saturday downtime (eat and sleep all day) I was always forced to go out. Trish honestly believed that Raiyah knew it was a Saturday because she’s excited as soon as she got up in the morning.
On Sundays, we made sure that Raiyah had an amazing breakfast. We would do grocery on Saturday night and bought Raiyah her favorite dish and gave it to her the next morning.
Everytime Trish and I went out for a quick vacation, she would always make sure that she buys Sleeky, Raiyah’s favorite treat as her pasalubong for Raiyah. When we went out of town, she would always tell me, "let’s come back and bring Raiyah next time."
Our vacations would always be cut short because she would always miss Raiyah. We never had an out-of-country trip.
I remember while I was on a business trip, Raiyah got sick and Trish rushed her to the vet clinic in Laguna at 11 pm. It was an hour drive, but she would go there every morning, call me on skype and ask me to talk so Raiyah can hear my voice. She said Raiyah needed to hear my voice so she could be strong and get better. She would make me talk and Raiyah would bark and Trish would be happy seeing energy in Raiyah.
I remember one time, Trish took Raiyah out to Nuvali to eat at early bird – a pet-friendly restaurant. She placed Raiyah’s stroller near our table so it's like she was in a highchair, but Raiyah didn’t like to eat out where people could see her so Trish had to spoon-feed her so she would eat. This was frowned upon by a lot of passers-by, but Trish didn’t care.
I remember one day we brought Raiyah to a beach, we were teaching her how to swim. Trish was hugging Raiyah and then suddenly a very big wave hit them and she lost her balance. Trish didn’t know how to swim and they were both drowning. Trish raised Raiyah and said, “save Raiyah”. I took Raiyah and brought her to the shore then went back for Trish. She drank a lot of water, but they both survived. (I hope Trish’s mom wouldn’t read this)
Even in times of danger, Trish would willingly offer her life to save Raiyah’s life.
This morning at 7:00, I received a call from Trish. We were broken-up already after a 5-year long relationship, but that’s a different story.
'Rob, can you come here? Raiyah passed away'. I rushed to the vet clinic and there I saw Trish hugging Raiyah, crying. After like 30 minutes, she moved back and started stroking Raiyah’s head. Then a few more minutes later she hugged her again and cried. She was holding onto her like a real mom to our baby Raiyah.
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She then kissed Raiyah on the face and hugged her again. She remained like this for more than two hours. I just stood there by her side, not saying anything. I know Trish too well, you don’t need to say anything. You just need to be there for her, be strong for her.
After a few more minutes later, Trish looked up to me and asked: “Where do we take her?”
“Do you want to bury her at the Haven of Love?” I replied.
She said yes, so I made a call and made the arrangements. I asked the caretaker to dig a grave as my baby had passed away and I would like to bury her there. He didn’t understand what I meant by “my baby” but he dug anyway.
On our way to the Haven of Love, we bought a sunflower to be planted on top of her grave. Trish made me promise to make sure that there would always be a sunflower on top of her grave, that when the sunflower dies, I should replace it with a new one.
When we arrived at the home, we placed Raiyah in the hole and before we covered her with soil, Trish went down and gave Raiyah a hug and a kiss and cried again, stayed there for a few minutes, then went out.
She then asked the caretaker to put stones around the grave, a cross and plant the flower facing the sun. She said her final goodbyes to Raiyah and prayed for her soul.
She then turned to me and said: “she was my source of happiness”.
Dear non-dog lovers, whenever you feel like ridiculing a dog lover, please remember this story."
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