Forever Sunny

Carol Hudak

ONCE upon a time . . .

Oh, how I wish this were a fairy tale.

Sunny the Bichon was given to me in July of 2009. He was at least 6 years old, and had spent the last 2 years in a kennel. The first 3 years of his life were spent on a hospital bed with a critically ill man. The man died, and a year later, almost to the day, his 15 year old daughter died of a drug overdose.  With this family in chaos, Sunny ended up in a kennel. Two years later, he was given to me.

In March of 2009, after months of inexplicable anxiety, repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse by my adoptive father surfaced. I will publish at length about this time in my life, but for now, I want to tell about

Sunny, my Treasure.

These memories astounded me - my adoptive father was the 1 out of 4 parents I always thought loved me unconditionally. This betrayal shook me to my core, bringing me very close to suicide on several occasions. Complex PTSD, flashbacks and severe anxiety kept me pretty much housebound. The kennel owner suggested I come by and take Sunny for walks. Fine. I could do that. I told her "I'm a cat person, I don't want a dog."

Sure, no problem.

But it took only a week and a half for this confirmed "cat" person to adopt Sunny into her heart and her home.   In that short amount of time, Sunny went from being locked in a cage in a kennel, to sleeping on a real live people bed . . . . and taking daily walks in the park, something he had never done before. I held his leash, and

he held my heart.

We were a perfect team.


                                       *                                       *                                  *

For  4 years I went to therapy and Sunny went with me. The phrase "Therapy Dog" had a whole new meaning with Sunny. He would usually sit behind me on the couch. If I cried, he drew closer and licked my tears. I could write forever and not convey the deep bond we shared. Sunny was incredibly intelligent. He was my heart and soul. Sunny enabled me to get out of my house as his unconditional love helped heal my life.

On Dec. 20th, 2013, a large tumor exploded on his back, next to his spine. He had successful surgery, but I was told he would need chemo, since this cancer was the worst: cancer of the blood, carried quickly through the bloodstream. For 5 months Sunny and I gave it our all. Chemotherapy, emergency room treatments at 24-hour vets; raw organic meat; 'I'm Yunity' supplements; and his beloved raw cauliflower, carrots, apples and bananas. We walked as much as we could: after all, we were a team and would always be a team. If he seemed tired, I carried him. Sunny Hudak was and is the love of my life.

On Saturday, May 17th, 2014, I held my little Treasure, Sunny, in my arms as he was gently put to sleep.

                                         *                                          *                                      *

The next day, I took a walk with my nephew, his wife and their children. Suddenly my niece exclaimed,

                                      "LOOK UP!  IT'S SUNNY!!!"

Yes, there in the heavens was an unmistakable cloud formation of Sunny, my beloved Bichon. Sunny, my Treasure. We immediately took photos.

The next day, I took these photos to Sunny's vet. She was astounded. But what happened later that day is far more amazing. I parked in front of a store one town over. Getting out of my car, I noticed a woman in a car next to mine. Her window was down and she was drinking coffee. On her bumper was the sticker: 'God Bless America.' I told her I liked her bumper sticker. She thanked me and said, 'I also like your yellow sweater.' I told her I wore it to cheer me up, since I had to put my dog down 2 days ago. She said, "Oh, that's awful! What is your name? I will pray for you." I thanked her and said, "My name is Carol." Then she responded,

                              "My name is Sunny. Sunny with a 'u' ."

I was dumbfounded.

                               I said, "My dog's name was Sunny!!!!!!" 

(Whenever I introduced him I always said, "This is Sunny, Sunny with a 'u' .")  I immediately ran to my car to get the pictures.

As soon as I showed her the 'Sunny Cloud' she said, "Oh, I saw that cloud yesterday. I was with my sister, we were in Branford (approx. 40 miles away).  We were walking and she pointed to the sky and said,

                                        "Look, it's a Dog!"

Then this woman named Sunny said to me, "Dogs are in heaven, you know." 

I answered, "Yes, I believe my little dog, Sunny, is happy and whole and now in the arms of Jesus."

She let out a gasp, looked stunned and said,

                    "When you said that a chill went from the top of my head down to my feet."

                                      *                                       *                                      *

Sunny, mommy misses you so much, but I am happy that you are now healthy, happy and whole, and that you can teach anyone who doubts, that heaven is real and that Jesus Himself is holding you in His arms.

                    "Very well done, my good and faithful and loyal and totally loving little buddy."



                                                         June 28, 2014 at 3 P.M.

                                        "A Celebration of the Life of Sunny Hudak"

    A beautiful service of remembrance was held at my (Former) church, Trinity Episcopal Church, in Nichols.

    Rev. Ellen Kennedy thoughtfully prepared a service of scripture, communion and remembrances for the

    delightful little dog who often accompanied me to church. Sunny received prayers at the communion rail

    as I received communion. Thank you, Rev. Ellen, for honoring my best buddy who shared a very difficult

    and painful healing journey with me. Sunny and I probably walked over 2,000 miles together.

    I am deeply comforted to have been able to honor Sunny at his service of remembrance by playing and

    singing for him (and us) the timeless song from the musical, Carousel,  

                                                          "You'll Never Walk Alone."

                                                     (words by Oscar Hammerstein 2nd)

                                When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high ;

                                 And don't be afraid of the dark . . .

                                At the end of a storm, is a golden sky;

                                And the sweet silver song of a lark . . .

                               Walk on through the wind, walk on through the rain;

                               Though your dreams be tossed and blown . . .

                               Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart;

                               And you'll never walk alone . . .

                              You'll never walk alone.