Back in 1981 I was a 2-pack-a-day smoker when I found myself in an emergency room having an asthma attack. My doctor said he would treat me only if I gave up the cigarettes. If I didn’t, he would get me another doctor ASAP. On the spur of the moment I said, “OK, I quit.” Dr. Shapiro then reached into my purse, grabbed my cigarettes and threw them in the trash. I haven’t had a cigarette since that day. Quitting wasn’t easy — I used aversion and avoidance. I avoided situations, people and places that triggered an urge to smoke. And every time I saw a cigarette, an ashtray or someone smoking, I pictured that object overflowing with vomit. To this day that image will give me the heaves!
In order to watch TV without smoking, I started crocheting an afghan. As time passed, that afghan got longer and longer. Finally, it was done — and so was the urge to smoke.
Fast-forward to February 2004 when we heard about a woman who wanted to give away a Chocolate Lab, but we had to be interviewed first. After an hour of me chatting with her and Jerry playing with the dog, she abruptly said, “If you want him, he’s yours, but you must take him right now before I start crying.” With that we walked out the door, Bo jumped into the car, and we now owned our seventh in a series of dogs. Two hours later we left the house for dinner with friends. I thought we should put Bo in the garage since we didn’t know how he would be by himself in the house, but Jerry said to give him an old blanket and he’d be fine. The No-Smoke Afghan came out of the closet (I have no idea how we held on to it through four moves and 23 years!) and onto the floor with Bo, and Jerry promised that if Bo ruined any shoes, furniture, etc., I could buy all new! With that promise in hand, we left Bo.
Well, when we got home Bo was still on his blankie waiting for us with tail wagging and tongue hanging out! And that’s how he has greeting us for all these years, tail a-wagging and dragging his blankie. He has been a faithful companion and Jerry’s “best buddy.”
Bo died peacefully in his sleep last night and we will miss him terribly. His ashes will be buried in the woods where he loved to go on rambling walks. He will be buried in his blankie.