“Oh Captain, my Captain, rise up and hear the bells; Rise up – for you the flag is flung – for you the bugle trills; For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths – for you the shores a-crowding; For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning…” – Walt Whitman
On Sunday March 4th, my sweet 4-legged pajama loving nephew, Captain, left this earth to watch over us with a different perspective. And while heartbroken both for my big buddy and his mama (my sister, Alice), I’ve thought a lot about Captain over the last few days and the impact he had on me, his rescue, his foster friends, his brothers and sisters, his family, and so many others that I could spend hours listing them all out. That boy has 12k followers on social media and that’s not by chance. He means something to people; his story brings comfort to people. Mostly though, I’ve thought about how Captain’s sweet soul and fighting spirit grabbed my sister’s heart and inspired the animal lover I’ve always known her to be to throw 1000% of herself in to the world of rescue.
Alice is a rescue advocate through and through, and ever since that big ole sweet boy, Captain, showed up in her life she has taken every ounce of her energy and put it into rescue work with the group that saved Captain’s life, Waters Edge Great Dane Rescue. Rescue life isn’t easy. It is emotionally draining, exhausting, heartbreaking, frustrating, but damn is it also fulfilling, heartwarming, and rewarding. I see this every day in Alice and I admire her for taking all of it head on; it wears on her but she never gives up on it and never complains. She never gives up on it because there are always more Captains and never enough resources to save them all; but come hell or high water, she and WEGDR will throw everything they have into saving the ones that no one else will. And they don’t want recognition for it; they are in it for one thing only, and that’s to save a life that most thought couldn’t be saved and that someone, somewhere stopped loving.
Among many many things, Captain was a therapy dog; he helped young kids read with more confidence by letting them read to him. He was an advocate and survivor of Wobblers Syndrome and fought through impossible odds – literally the impossible – after his diagnosis. Captain promoted fundraisers and raised a lot of funds for his rescue. People caught on to that; his story developed a following that no one ever expected…the boy even went global (super proud Aunt right here). Captain did all of this with pride and goofy gusto for Alice; she rescued him, and that’s how he chose to rescue her.
Captain literally lived his life in heaven on earth. When Alice takes in a rescue, these pups are sure to live a spoiled life full of comfort, luxury, pajamas, companionship, and unconditional love. They even ate better than we did! It is truly an amazing thing to witness. And I can only hope that when my day comes, my heaven looks a lot like his did…pajama collection included!
Although with tremendous sadness, and with tears at times, I can sleep easy knowing that Captain is not alone and that my sister’s first rescue Great Dane, Stella (Big Stelly, Big Smeeellly), was there to greet him with her warm, silly smile filled with goofy snaggle-teeth, a fresh pair of pajamas for my buddy, a beach towel, and some bully sticks – both saying, don’t worry mama, we are together and pain-free and it will be ok.
Oh Captain, Her Captain.
To Michelle and Jay from Waters Edge Great Dane Rescue – From the bottom of my heart, thank you for saving Captain’s life and bringing him into ours. WEDGR is an amazing organization and it’s a privilege to witness what yall do day in and day out. This world needs more people like you.
To Waker, Pawley, Roc, and Frenchie – I know you miss your big brother dearly. And I know that after some time, you will clear a spot on the sofa and welcome a new brother or sister who will need your love and friendship just like you gave Cappy and just like Cappy gave to you.
To my best friend and dear sister, Alice – Captain was your heart and soul and I know you are absolutely heartbroken. I am too; for Captain and for you. You gave that sweet boy everything you had and he loved you tremendously for it. And while it’s ok to be sad, be proud of what you and Captain have accomplished and will continue to accomplish in his memory for the years to come. You are and will always be my hero.
And to my sweet buddy, Cappy – Reese, Montana and I miss you more than words can express. I am incredibly honored to have been your Aunt and I am forever thankful for your patience while I had my camera lens in your face half the time! You brought my passion for photography back to life. You, sweet boy, had the biggest heart and the strongest fighting spirit…I will remember you for that, for your love for life, for your couch snuggles, for your hugs and kisses, for your immense pajama collection, but mostly for your unconditional love for your mama. I know you will, but don’t worry about your mama, I’ll take over for you on that front and will make sure she’s ok and gets plenty of love and hugs. And I’ll do my best to keep that bad little biscuit, Rocky (you picked him, remember!), in-line, but we both know how that will shake out…go ahead, Cap…laugh it up! Love you buddy.
Oh Captain, Her Captain.
May you never forget the impact you have had on all of us, your Great Dane furfriends, and the animal rescue community. We will certainly never forget you. Rest easy, run free, throw plenty of pajama parties, and enjoy your endless days under the warm sun, laying on the soft sand, watching the waves crash at the beach.
“Just this side of heaven is a place called the Rainbow Bridge…” – Author Unknown