Saturday, December 25, 2010

Alienation of Affection

My dad took this picture of Abby. She was begging for food.
By the time I moved to NJ, my dad had passed through his “period of troubles.” Even though my parents had divorced by then, my mom still kept in contact with him and would even invite him down for the holidays. My dad would accept these invitations. It was a chance for him to be with us, as a matter of fact, his only chance to be with his two sons.

I wasn’t thrilled about my dad being down. In his period of troubles, he hurt everyone in his family either emotionally or financially, including myself. I resented the way he acted and held a grudge against him especially considering that he never atoned or apologized for all the shit he did back in the 90’s. Needless to say, he wasn’t on my list of “My Most Favorite People.” I didn’t want to see him, but it was my mom’s house. It was her rodeo, so I wasn’t going to tell her what she could and couldn’t be doing.

My dad never did things like a normal person. He was eccentricity incarnate. When he visited my mom’s house, he would plop down on my mom’s couch in the den and spend almost the whole time there and would even sleep there much to my mom’s agitation. She spent much of her waking hours in the den. To put it simply, my dad would took over the den and screwed up my mom’s routine. She would stomp and pout to me about it but not say a damned word to my dad. All she had to do is tell him to sleep in a bedroom like a normal person, but she wouldn’t. I would be the one who had to hear her bitch about the situation.

So far, I haven’t said anything about the dogs. Abby was always attracted to food. She had honed her craft of begging to an art. Given how much my dad ate and how often, it was only a matter of time before Abby’s and my dad’s paths crossed. My dad loved dogs and always had one while growing up. I often had to hear how fucking wonderful his dogs were when he was a kid. I could barely retain the resentment because the dogs he got us were awful little shits that bit family members, killed kittens and tried to screw cats.

Anyway, my dad loved the attention Abby gave him and encouraged it by continually feeding her. She hung around him 24/7. I remember one trip during Thanksgiving when I was about to go to bed. Normally, Abby would go to bed with me. On this trip, Abby lifted her head and dropped it down on the chair she was sitting in when I asked her to go nighty. To say I felt resentment for my dad wouldn’t be strong enough. I let Abby stay there and went to sleep. A couple of days later when I had on my ‘traveling attire’, Abby looked startled that I was leaving. She hustled over to me, but it was too late. She had all weekend to spend with me but chose to stay with my dad.

Abby was my dog. I was the one who made her the angel, sweetheart she was. And here was my dad swooping in and stealing the affection of my babygirl. I didn’t like him and especially didn’t like him bribing my dog with food.

About six years later, I would be grateful that those two got along so well. Abby would eventually move in with me at my condo in Raleigh, but a few years after that, her ACL injury and arthritis limited her mobility and she had to move back in with my mom. She would no longer have me and Andy in her life, and given her inclination to depression, I worried that her spirit would be broken.

However, a few months after Abby moved back in, my dad’s health took a turn for the worse, and he too moved back in with my mom. Abby and my dad were both in the twilight of their lives. They also made great companions for each other. I didn’t have to worry about Abby being alone. Other than me and my mom, no one else loved Abby more than my dad.


  1. It's strange how the stuff that's the worst for us works out somehow in other ways in the end.

  2. I was glad they were there for each other.