The full text of this article by Aundaray Guess first appeared on POZ.com here.
I recently experienced two deaths within a week. It was the passing of my dogs, Hope and Parker. I had them since they were puppies and so I was able to create so many memories and experiences with them both.
As I write this I fully understand that people may question what does losing a pet have to do with a HIV blog and there may be those who question about writing about the death of a dog. After all it was just a dog and you can always get another one some may say. Hopefully by the end of the blog there will be a greater understanding of how losing a pet has such an emotional impact and its connection to my HIV.
Hope came first; as a beagle puppy she was spunky and stubborn. In fact, it was telling when we were kicked out of puppy training class as it was either Hope's way, or no way.
Parker came the following year from the same breeder, having the same father but different mother. As a total opposite of Hope she was more timid and it took her a while to find her bark. But when she did, she loved to howl. Hope could care less about being held whereas Parker demanded the human touch.
I was already living with HIV and having my pets made a difference. Before they came into my life I was more reckless and sometimes had little regard for my own health. I would miss taking my medication knowing the risk of developing resistance. Of course there were other factors which were promoting my bad health behaviors, but I didn't care. After all it was me against the world.
Something happened when Hope and Parker came into my life. I was now responsible for the well-being of two living lives. It was no longer about me and my actions now affected others. But at the same time, I didn't realize how much I needed them as well. They gave me a reason to go home as I knew on the other side of the door were two beings ready to show me love. I don't think there has been a single day when I turned the key and open the door to grumpy faces. There was always love waiting on the other side.
To read the rest of the article go here.