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Good-bye, Atula the Hon

Good-bye, Atula the Hon

Atula (alias: Man-tool-ah, Mandingo, Tallulah, and Atula the Hon) passed away on Monday, September 29th after a lengthy illness. 

He had Cushing’s disease, which decimated his immune system resulting in a staph infection on his skin and crippling arthritis.  

I miss the way he smelled; yeasty and sweet. 

He was such a big baby, always screaming (and I do mean screaming – he was deaf and had no volume control and did not bark) for treats.  It used to drive me crazy, get on my nerves. His runaway hunger was another symptom of his Cushing’s.  That, and his unquenchable thirst; he drank a ton of water.
Near the end, he had difficulty breathing and would frequently lose the use of his hind legs - no longer able to get up and down the back steps by himself. Then came the small seizures, which would terrify both him and me. 

It’s a hard to decision to make. 

I saw the writing on the wall weeks before my ex did.  But I held my tongue, knowing my ex would have to come to terms with it in his own time, which he did.


I miss him.  All the room he used to take up in my house.  All his weird smells.  His Ernest Borgnine face. And all his noises: the screaming, the snorts, the snoring.

He was a monster. 

But he was my monster.

The house is so quiet now.

--- ---

The evening before we were going to put Atula down, my car was involved in a minor car accident that resulted in a momentary lapse on my part culminating into a rather life altering situation. 

Stopped at a stoplight, on my way home after a weekend at the boyfriend’s, the car behind me was hit from behind, pushing her car into mine.  The car that caused the accident sped off.  It was dark, and even though the damage to my car was minor, I decided to do the right thing and stay with the young woman as she waited for the police.  I didn’t want her to be alone. 

An hour and a half later, they finally arrived.

It was now very late and I was very tired.   

I took my bag from my car, got out my driver’s license and insurance information, leaving the bag on the trunk of my car.  The officer checked my car (minor damage), took my statement, and I was given permission to leave. 

I got in my car and drove off.

Once home, I parked in my garage and reached over for my bag.


I’d driven off with it still on the trunk of my car.

In a panic, I drove all the way back to the scene of the accident and retraced my steps, finally finding the bag in the middle of the twisty part of a rather odd entrance ramp to I-94.  I pulled over as soon as I safely could and ran like a madman to retrieve the bag. 

Playing chicken with the on-coming traffic, I ran back and forth, grabbing as much stuff as I could (picking up two credit cards and a wallet that did not belong to me in the process).  Once back in the car, I realized everything… and I mean everything – was smashed to bits.  Digital camera and keys smashed.  All my USB flash drives – containing: all my personal pics, the excel files with the stats from my sexual activities during the last five years, all my planned postings for the ‘Friday Fun’ series – pics I’d been collecting for over seventeen years, all the writing I have done for my blog including things that were in process or never published, and… the books.  Both books.  All the related work product and all the outlines for future books… irretrievably gone.

I was crushed. 

And muted.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

The boyfriend (who got on his bike and rode down to the scene of the accident to help me look for my bag) suggested we take the USB drives to a place in St. Paul, to see if anything could be rescued. 



I can’t seem to wrap my head around it.  And I am not sure how to recover.

The entire first book was printed out (people had been reading it), so I can retype all that.  And my work friend, who had been reading the second book as I wrote it, sent me the first fifteen chapters. 

But everything else?

I don’t know how to recover.

I’m still in shock.

So, I avoid.  I avoid writing, I avoid planning, I avoid getting back to work.

Then, when Atula passed away, it hit me harder than I imagined.  

He had spent the first twelve years of his life locked in a kennel for up to twelve hours at a time.  I remember how timid he was in the fenced-in backyard that first day.  He had no idea what to do.  Needless to say, he made up for lost time that first year.  He loved being outside.  And he loved stretching out on his big bed on the living room floor.  For a year – his life was the best it had ever been. 

But then the Cushing’s took over.

And then it was all over.  

That same week, at work, we began prepping for an audit.  The prep work ate up two weeks, followed by two weeks of dealing with the auditors.  I kept thinking I would get back to writing, but…


Because… I lack motivation.

I lack heart.

Writing is fun but a lot of work and…

Writing is just another pipe dream; one I don’t want to put any energy into. 

Because if my life has taught me anything it’s that, for me, pipedreams are a waste of time, money and energy.   And I am tired of wasting time (which I don’t have much left of), money (which is always in short supply) and energy (see ‘money’).

So, I haven’t been writing since. 

I’m trying to get over it.  Maybe I’ll get over it.

But right now?  Everything feels broken.

And my house?

My house is much too quiet. 


anne marie in philly said...


so sorry for your losses, dear. you need time to mourn it all. we will be here when you return.

mistress maddie said...

I have missed my dear Upton King!!!! But I'm so sorry to hear of your pup. It breaks my heart everytime I hear of someone lossing a pet, or my own. But then I always think how lucky I was to spend time with those beloved little creatures in my life with those bonds. She was quite adorable!! When it rains, I'm afraid it pours. I'll be thinking of you.

BlkJack said...

This is so hard...This the time to grow. Maybe all those things were meant to be quiet, and not to be published. I have lost major things in my life and it took me awhile to recover, but life goes on.

Losing a pet is hard. Very hard.

I wish you the best in all that you do. If, and when, you decide to return, your faithful reader will be here waiting for you.

whkattk said...

Oh, Upton. I am so, so, so sorry to hear all of this. I do appreciate your posting all of it, because I truly was beginning to worry. Now I know the heartache you are experiencing. And I also know there is nothing I can do but offer you my sincere condolences, and send healing light and love your way. You may not be able to feel them, but I am reaching out to give you a giant hug.

Sean said...

There is no loss like the loss of a pet. I know your pain and feel great empathy with, and sympathy for, you. So much loss in such a short amount of time. Take a breath. Feel the loss. Accept the pain and hurt and let the shock wash over you. Hold on, hug yourself, and give the only thing that will help make it all bearable and healable a chance to work....time. *hugs*