Directed and filmed by Curt Apduhan
WAITING FOR GOODBYE was inspired by my deep pain in the loss of my little white Maltese Priscilla. Priscilla was a rescue that was beaten so severely by her first owner she lost her left eye. When she came into my life I was the first male she had been around since her rescue. When she heard my voice she would cower and hide. I knew I had to do everything I could to bring normalcy and happiness back into her life.
As with many a tired tale of a romantic breakup, Priscilla and her boyfriend Beau, a ten pound Shih Tzu, became a permanent fixture in my life. My ex-fiancee was not in a position to keep the dogs so I said they could live with me. Over the years Priscilla became quite the alpha. Beau would quietly wait until Priscilla was finished eating her dinner before he began. If she wanted alone time with me she would run up to Beau and body block him away. As you can surmise, Priscilla overcame her past and experienced a safe and loving home.
When the end comes you know it. It is a moment that you knew would come but never thought it would. Priscilla was not doing well. I scheduled an appointment and took her in for an exam. The veterinarian said there was little that could be done. Her liver was failing and her time was short. We agreed to schedule her euthanasia for the next week. He said she was not in pain but if she started exhibiting signs of decline to bring her in immediately.
There is something about scheduling the death of your beloved pet. Knowing that with every hour the time is shortened and the dread increased. That final morning was the worst. Priscilla seemed bright and happy. Much more so than the previous week. I started to question if I should delay the appointment. If there was some hope for having a few more months with her. As I was contemplating delaying the inevitable Pricilla suddenly stopped and stood still with her head bowed down. She started to tremble and I knew she was not going to be able to stand much longer.
Holding her in my arms as she passed was surreal. It was a flood of emotions with doubt being front and center. Did I do enough to save her? Was it my fault? Did I feed her and Beau the best diet possible? Should I have exercised her more? Countless questions with no answers. Only her lifeless body slowly turning cold.
When I returned home Beau was waiting. He was confused. Where was her girlfriend? When will she be home? In the days and weeks that followed Pricilla’s passing Beau slowly started to adjust to the new normal. Me, not so much. Beau and I started to move on. I loved my little 10 pound wingman. We became inseparable. Beau and I would go on long walks and drives and he would now sit beside me without any interference. He loved his new position as daddy’s best friend.
Beau was a peculiar dog. Both fiercely independent but so needy of my attention. He would ignore me and move away if i was smothering him too much with my petting. But when i left the room he would quickly go on a search mission for me. Strange little man.
Mary (my writing partner) commented one day how much she felt for my loss. She comforted me the best she could. Little did she know she would be going through the exact same experience only weeks later. It was starting to dawn on me how many of my friends have gone through this life experience. I was beginning to think there was a message in this and Mary agreed.
So Mary and I decided to make a film about our loss and share it with those who have similar stories. I casted Beau to star in the film along side Emily Somers whom I collaborated with on the fantastic film REBOOT directed by my good friend Joe Kawasaki. Beau and Emily worked well together and it was a cathartic experience for all involved. As it turned out many of our crew had experienced the loss of their pets as well.
We had a couple of great screenings on the film festival circuit. One at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival and the other at the Phoenix Film Festival. It was awesome that Mary was able to share our film with her Arizona friends since she is a resident of Scottsdale and volunteered at her local no-kill animal shelter. The audiences seemed to like the film and at the HRIFF screening I snuck Beau into the lobby for the red carpet cast photo in front of the step and repeat. He even had fans come up to him for a paw-graph. The funniest comment from one audience member was “Thank God your still alive!!!”. I had to remind her that Beau was a very good actor and she just experienced a movie.
As life would have it I had to let go of Beau about a year after we made our film. He lived a long life of fifteen years. But it was still a horrific experience. One I will not go into here. Love your pets. Some say they are just animals. I would disagree. I hope our little film gives you some perspective knowing you are not alone in the loss of your pet. There are millions of us who will support you in your healing. Remember the race track is getting short with every passing day so slow down and enjoy the time with your pet. It is chapter in your life that is worth reading…