Friday, October 3, 2008

Che - "My Lil Monsta" - 2005-2008

From the debut post of my blog, my beloved dog Che has always been an important part of Aunt Jemima's Revenge. He has been featured prominently in several blog posts, even maintaining his own talking points section and dog space page. During the majority of the posts written for this blog, Che was either curled at my feet, wolfing down a snack, or laying his big head on my lap and looking up at me with those brown eyes seeming to say, "you finished doing that, I want to play now." It never mattered if I was finished or not when he did that, I couldn't resist playing with him right then and there.

I first got Che when he was 9 weeks old. We clicked as a pair instantly. He was only 18 pounds of mischief then. I was so fearful to let him out of my sight that first night, that he slept on my chest, snoring much too loudly for such a little bitty thing. He would grow to become a very independent, protective, inquisitive, and sensitive 68 pound lil' monsta that could devour Popeye's biscuits with quickness and sound like he was inhaling an entire waterfall when drinking from his water bowl. Folks would remark how big Che was and I never, ever, saw him that way. He was always my baby, my big boy.

On Sunday, September 28, Che died. His young body let him down with an illness no one could fix, not even his owner, who so desperately wanted to do so. He never once complained, whined, or cried. His last days were spent hanging with me, with him diligently trying to do all the things we had always done together. He was a brave and tough dog. To turn the phrase, he wasn't "man's best friend", but this woman's best friend. Over the last two years, my life has at times been extremely difficult and Che was all to often the only consistent and comforting part of my life.

I'd be a liar if I said I am not crushed about Che's death. I know that some people don't understand a pet owner's love for their animal and their sadness over their pet's death. I really don't give a damn. I loved Che and he loved me. And that's all that matters. I am angry abut Che's death as well, I feel something has been unfairly taken from me. I am grown enough to know that life isn't always fair, but that doesn't make me feel better. Many folks around me, my family, my friends, my blogging buddies, my colleagues, and my students have been extremely supportive during this difficult time and I really appreciate that.

As the days pass on, I will come to terms with my Che being gone. I will remember how he yelped when Barack Obama came on TV and how he growled when Hillary Clinton was on. Every once and while, I will watch an episode of Scooby Doo or Courage the Cowardly Dog, remember how intently he would watch those shows. I will never eat a Popeye's biscuit without thinking of him. And the wind chimes that are beginning to tinkle on my patio because the fall wind is rising, will always remind me of the bundle of tags that hung from Che's neck and how much I enjoyed hearing them jangle together when I came home from work, my dog coming to greet me.

I will laugh thinking about we fought over going outside to do his "business" when it was raining or snowing, Che hated both. I won't forget him clubbing upside the head the drunk man that accosted us on the street and insisted on trying to put Che in a headlock. I will always crack up at Che refusing to sit down in the car until one day I came to a sudden stop and he banged on the dashboard, turning off the cd player and the air conditioning all at the same time. He sat his big ass down in the car after that. And when it gets cold, I will remember how he would curl up in a tight ball and look up at me as if to say, "stop being cheap and turn the heat on!"

And as much as it hurts me right as this moment, I will remember with all of God's blessings that Che left my world the same way he came into it that very first day, being held closely in my arms. I would not have had it any other way.


Faith at Acts of Faith Blog October 3, 2008 at 4:55 AM  

Oh I am sorry for your loss Tracey. I haven't had any pets for some time but when I was 12 we lost both our dogs to some illness within 24 hours of each other. I was heartbroken. I hope you will be blessed with another pet when you're ready.

Anonymous,  October 3, 2008 at 6:13 AM  

sorry to hear of your loss. i never really understood why people got so upset over a pet dying until my cousin's chow died about a year ago. he wasn't even my dog, and i felt some kind of way. i miss that dog...for as mean as people say chow's can be, this was the most pleasant yet protective chow i have ever seen.

oregonsistah October 3, 2008 at 6:37 AM  

Prof Tracey: Sorry to hear about "che". I know how you feel. I lost my first dog to cancer when I was a teenager and mom cried for days. I even wrote a tribute to him and it is in student memorie book, and that was more than 30 years ago! Love is love. We just bought the grandbaby a dog and we are all in love with "snickers". I was looking at him the other day and wondered by God created dogs and their purpose for man/woman...

wisdomteachesme October 3, 2008 at 8:00 AM  

hello sister,
i know all about losing a beloved pet.
i have always had a dog or 2 at times, since 10th grade of high school.
well. we had one when i was smaller but being that my mother was raising 3 children by herself the dog was a bit too much for her to handle.

i rejoice with you in che's life and the happiness that he brought to your world!
in Jesus' name--glory be to God for His love of you and che-and that che is not sufferring from his illness any longer.

i have had quite a few dogs to die in my arms or to come home from work and find them dead.
it is a sadness that words will not explain.
so i know what you 'feel'!

hopefully, you will be restored and a new puppy will come along to keep you company to love you as you give it the love it needs to thrive in this ever changing world.

be well and know that God has a plan for every thing that happens..
much love

haphazardmusings October 3, 2008 at 8:46 AM  

I'm so very sorry for your loss. I lost three very dear pets last year and the pain is so very real. Che was obviously loved and well-cared for, and he was blessed to have you in his life.

Claudia October 3, 2008 at 9:32 AM  

Professor Tracey, I am so sorry to hear about Che. Although I have only been following your blog since the summer, I could instantly tell from your posts and the adorable pictures how much you loved him. This post is a beautiful and moving tribute. Stay strong. My thoughts are with you.

page October 3, 2008 at 10:07 AM  

Bless you in your time of loss....

BLKSeaGoat October 3, 2008 at 10:18 AM  


I am so glad you decided to write a post about Che.

You are in my prayers and I will call you later this evening.

Have a good Friday.

Anonymous,  October 3, 2008 at 10:38 AM  

Reading about Che, I couldn't help but cry. I know exactly how you feel right now. I'm so sorry for your loss. People who don't have pets/don't like animals have no grasp of how an animal can wind its way around your heart, how your spirits run together, how their pleasures become yours, how their pain breaks your heart. My dog died five years ago this month. Her name was Jade. I held her in my arms, too, as the vet gave her the injection. I'll never forget her. I still miss her ... and I share my life with cats now. Tiger and Sambuca, who are curled up on the couch beside me as I surf the blogs. My prayers are with you. You'll never forget the sadness, but eventually your heart will heal. Hugs & Kisses.

Shurl October 3, 2008 at 10:39 AM  

What a great and moving tribute to your Che. Thanks for sharing.

LostGirl#1 October 3, 2008 at 10:39 AM  

Oh sh*t, Prof T - I'm tearing up. I'm sorry you lost your baby. I love my fur-baby, so I know what you mean about the love for a pet.

Jazine October 3, 2008 at 10:39 AM  

Professor Tracey,

I am so sorry about the premature passing of Che. I grew quite fond of him during this crazy presidential campaign. Your post on Che says: Who the hell is Sarah Palin?, was so cute and funny.

I have pets of my own, and you're right,there are some people who don't understand the attachment animal owners have for their pets. They are apart of the family.

Che was taken away all too soon but he knew he was loved.


All-Mi-T [Thought Crime] Rawdawgbuffalo October 3, 2008 at 11:21 AM  

folk i lost my hal wolf/rot two years ago was 17 i feel ya.

Anonymous,  October 3, 2008 at 11:34 AM  

Professor Tracey, sorry for your loss. When I was a little girl, my family had a "family dog". Skippy had been with my mom, aunts, and grandparents and lived until I was about 2 years old. I can remember how my mom and aunts cried for days. To this day, when I look at pictures, my heart gets a little warm feeling. Our next family dog was a German Shepherd. Sheba didn't die; some bastard stole was like a family member being kidnapped.

Thanks for posting. Sharing your memories of Che brought a tear and chuckle to my day.

Rest in Peace, Che!

Kristin October 3, 2008 at 11:56 AM  

PT I am sorry to hear of Che's passing. When we purchased our dog my husband made sure that I understood that Scooter (a toy dog) would probably pass in a few years. It is very difficult to become attached then to lose a love one. Take care.

Gloria October 3, 2008 at 12:01 PM  

Sorry for your lost Prof Tracey!

God Bless.

Luv Che's Dogspace page. What a beautiful way to remember him by. This has got to be the cutest thing that I've ever seen!

Shady_Grady October 3, 2008 at 12:33 PM  

Really sorry to hear this. This was a powerful tribute.

notburnttoast October 3, 2008 at 12:54 PM  

So sorry for your loss. I have been there. Pets are family and they leave a void when they go - especially when they leave too soon.

The edge of pain will leave at some point (can't tell u when) and will be replaced by the warmth of all the great memories.

Take it from me - do not be afraid to go through the grieving process.

God bless

Black American Princess October 3, 2008 at 6:11 PM  

I'm so very very sorry for the loss of your adorable friend Che! What a beautiful tribute, I always enjoy looking at the cute pictures you have of him on here. I know there's nothing I can say that will ease your pain, just picture Che up in heaven running around and playing happily in a beautiful field. That's what I do whenever I feel sad about the loss of our beloved dog Shabba.

Stay strong and God bless...

Tami October 3, 2008 at 6:37 PM  

Oh, Tracey. I'm sorry for your loss. As someone with several pets, I know they are family and are missed when they go.

the_shulammite October 3, 2008 at 7:50 PM  

Prof. T,

Even though I am not a pet lover, I do understand love and loss. The love you had for your pet Che comes through in this tribute, and my heart goes out to you in your grieving.

Thanks for sharing. May God welcome Che in doggie heaven and also comfort your heart.

LorMarie October 3, 2008 at 8:25 PM  

I'm very sorry for your loss. Pets truly are special.

cocoa kitty October 3, 2008 at 8:35 PM  

aww I'm so sorry to read about your loss. I am afraid of all animals, so I've never had a pet, but I certainly feel a sense of your pain from your post.

I never leave comments but I must take the time to say I love your blog. I view it several times a week.

aimay October 3, 2008 at 9:29 PM  

Pof. Tracy, I am so sorry to hear about Che. Listening to/ reading all of your Che anecdotes over the past year or so has definitely contributed to my understanding of so-called "attack" or "fighting" dogs... really, they are loving creatures, like all other breeds. Maybe even superior to some breeds in terms of temperment!

So thank you Che!

Unknown October 3, 2008 at 10:36 PM  

Professor Tracey, I've always lurked and never left a comment until now. I'm so sorry for your loss. I own 6 dogs, they are the loves of my life. I know what it is like to lose a beloved companion. I lost the first dog I ever owned a little over four years ago. My heart is still a little broken, I mourn her til this day--but I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to experience truly unconditional love. I knew something was up when your page hadn't changed in several days, but I didn't expect this. Godspeed Che, You'll be missed. Tracey, keep your head up. And get another dog. When I lost my dog, I didn't think I'd ever get another, because she was irreplacable. Low and behold, now I have six dogs-four of them adoptees that needed a good home. They bring me such joy, and I learn so much about life and how to enjoy its simplicity from them. Anyway, I know I sound like the crazy dog lady, but just wanted you to know someone else knows how you are feeling and you're not alone.

Unknown October 3, 2008 at 10:46 PM  

Prof. Tracey, so sorry for your loss. I knew something was up when the blog didn't change for a few days, but never expected this. I'm in tears, I know what you are going through. I lost the first dog I ever owned a little over four years ago. She was 16. A long life for a little terrier. I miss her til this day. I have a little shrine for her in the back yard and I still go outside to speak to her every morning. There is nothing like the unconditional love of a dog. I feel you on the Popeye's. My dog would have convulsions over McDonald's french fries. :)
I now own six dogs. Four are adoptees. If you are thinking of getting another dog, please consider adoption. There are so many that need a good home.
Rest in peace, Che.

? October 4, 2008 at 12:22 AM  

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss, best wishes.

elle October 4, 2008 at 12:23 AM  

Professor Tracey, I'm so sorry for your loss. I know you really loved him.

tryexcellence October 4, 2008 at 3:13 PM  

Prof Tracey,
It was truly a joy coming to your blog to read your posts, and to see pictures of Che. He appeared to be a kind and loyal dog to you and I share the sentiments of the other posters when I say I am deeply sorry for your loss.

Miriam October 4, 2008 at 3:34 PM  

I am so sorry to hear this news. I could tell Che was very special.

Anonymous,  October 4, 2008 at 3:43 PM  

Oooh! I'm so sorry, Prof. Tracey. My deepest condolences for your loss. RIP Che....

achoiceofweapons October 4, 2008 at 6:42 PM  

I own a cat and I would be devastated if she went. My condolences to you and I am going to be preemptively happy for you as you get your new puppy. Respectful time for Mourning of course. Be well

Tabatha Atwood October 4, 2008 at 7:31 PM  

oh i am so sorry- i will miss him on the blog- i loved the che only has one house- much love-

jojo October 4, 2008 at 8:34 PM  

Prof. Tracey I'm so sorry to here about the lose of your big boy. I so enjoyed the stories about Che. I know he will truly be missed.

focusedpurpose October 4, 2008 at 9:44 PM  

Professor Tracey-

i relate entirely. my maltese is my other son---only there are no rebellious teenaged years:-) i pray that you will find comfort as you come to a place of peace and acceptance. your memories are priceless.

your post made my eyes fill with tears at times and laugh out loud at others; how he learned to sit down in the car, hilarious.

i am sending you a cyber hug!

blessings sis,

Anonymous,  October 5, 2008 at 6:18 PM  

Im so sorry to read about your lost, and yes, I really do think all dogs go to heaven!

tasha212 October 5, 2008 at 6:31 PM  

Professor Tracey,

I am sorry to hear about Che. I know from reading your posts about him how much he was loved and how much he loved his owner. I wish you comfort and peace in this time of grief and sorrow. He will always live in your heart and you in his.

Peace and blessings,

Dirty Red October 5, 2008 at 7:21 PM  

I am sorry for your loss. I wish I could say I understand how it feels but I cannot. The only thing I can compare it to is losing your best friend. I definetly knows how that feels.
But keep your head up ma.

Dr. Tracey Salisbury October 6, 2008 at 1:19 AM  


I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your kinds words and support. It is greatly appreciated. Che would have loved all the attention with his spoiled self.

My heart is still very heavy, but I am feeling much better. I greatly appreciate the patience and understanding with the blog.

So, let's get back to having a little bit of fun here. I look forward to laughing, ranting, and debating with you all!

Sista GP October 6, 2008 at 7:07 PM  

sending my condolences to you

sista gp

Kathrin Ivanovic October 7, 2008 at 11:21 PM  

I am so sorry that you lost your baby. I am not sure what I would do without my little boy. The two of us have gone through some difficult times together.

My thoughts and prayers are with you!

Invisible Woman October 7, 2008 at 11:43 PM  

Wow--I know he was like your baby...I'm really sorry. I wish I could say something that would make it better, but I know only time can do that.

Much love--feel better.

keg October 8, 2008 at 12:07 AM  

I am so sorry for your loss. I too lost my dog several months ago to a sudden and debilitating illness so I am no stranger to the pain and heartbreak that you are feeling. Dogs understand us in a way that most humans never will, and losing them is like losing a part of yourself. But with that in mind you are right to focus on the good memories that you have of him because that is the only way- and it sounds like you have an abundance of happy memories of him. Everything does happen for a reason, even if that reason may not initially be an obvious one. My dog always had a fondness for intelligent pitbulls so just maybe they are up there together :)

The Scott October 10, 2008 at 1:45 PM  

Professor Tracy, my deepest condolences on the loss of your dearest Che. I was drawn to your blog just by the picture you so prominently displayed. I knew that we were of like minds just be his picture. I recently got a puppy and she is the light of me life. We lost our dog last year this time and it was hearbreaking. I understand how you feel. Please know that time will bring you some comfort but that the memory of Che is forever.

Don October 10, 2008 at 2:52 PM  

Wow, Professor Tracey....I didn't realize your loved pet had passed away. Shocking. And really sorry to hear. I can only imagine how much it hurts. I had to give my pit bull of five years away about two years ago and I still miss that dog. Truly man's best friend.

Again, sorry to hear.

Attorneymom October 17, 2008 at 4:48 PM  

I cannot believe I missed this post. Another blogger told me that Che had died and I could not believe it. Wow, Professor. I know how much you loved Che. My heart goes out to you in your time of grief.

RIP Che.

djmadmike October 19, 2008 at 11:28 AM  

very well written

Conservative Black Woman October 22, 2008 at 7:52 PM  

Prof. Tracey~My heart goes out to you and I am so sorry for your loss. I have 3 dogs and I can't imagine my life without them. Most people don't understand how strong the bond can be with a pet but I certainly understand. I'm sure you take consolation in the fact that you gave Che a wonderful life and he knew he was well loved. Peace to you my sister.

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