Animals We Have Loved

August 17, 2012

Today, in between short cries and long naps,  I’ve been working on a post about Snowy’s big, scary, funny adventure that he inadvertently embarked on earlier this week.   Tentatively called, “Snowy: The Infirm Intimidator,”  I promise it will make you smile.

Although I have another story or two from Wednesday to share (mostly about his little funeral), I figured I would wait on that until next week so that we could all take a break from our Kleenex box usage.
 
Speaking of our little guy, when Sarah came downstairs this morning she said, “Mom, I thought I heard Snowy yipping.”   I told her I felt like I heard him sometimes too.  Imagination and love make a powerful combination.

As we move through the weekend, I would love it if you would take a moment and share a memory or a story about a pet that you have lost.  (Edited to add: Or also feel free to share about one that is still in your life.)

What did you love about that pet?

What are some inspiring or heartwarming things he/she did?  

If there is one thing I have learned this week, it’s that the Smithellaneous family is chock full of animal lovers and I know we would all so enjoy reading (and commenting on) each others’ stories about the animals we have loved.

So while I’m working on Snowy’s Big Adventure, let’s hear some of your stories.

I think there is healing in the remembering.

 

This is a picture of Snowy helping Steve and Nathan make pancakes for one of our annual “Trim the Tree And Eat Pancakes” Nights.

snowy cooking with nate

 

 

76 responses to Animals We Have Loved

  1. Cindy, Yorkie’s are such darling dogs; I love them. So glad you had Madison for almost 10 years and glad for the lessons you learned from her. We don’t even know we’re being taught by our pets sometimes, but we sure are!

  2. Cindy Forrester August 23, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Madison, a yorkie, was my first dog. People always talked about a pet that they connected with and she was the one. Not only was she my first dog, but since I don’t have human children, she was my first “child.” Needless to say, she was doted on:) She would lay on the floor on her back and wave her legs in the air to get my attention for a tummy rub. And she loved to eat…she could always be found in the kitchen waiting patiently for any dropped food. My dad used to say she was the only dog he knew that would come running to the sound of an electric knife.
    I lost her in February of this year at the age of 9.5. She had health issues for many years, so I always appreciated the time we had together. I believe God sent her to me to teach me compassion, empathy and so many other things. I am forever greatful that I had her in my life. She is missed terribly.

  3. I was introduced to my little hero when i got him in 1996 after my childhood dog, Scraper died. He was a white and brown chihuahua named Picky who was 1 years old and rescued from a puppy mill where they beat him and gave his first year, nightmares that would last well into his 15th year. His name was Picky and He was my best friend from the beginning of his life with me, and I bonded with him nearly instantly. He was the light and center of my life for 15 years, the last 2 being with me being bedbound. He didnt seem to mind, as age was creeping up on him. The year prior he was diagnosed a 6 heart murmur out of 6 and was in heart failure. The vet gave him 3 months, and so I began to take gentle care of my gentle best friend.
    Picky knew my very big secrets and was with me both times I was on Hospice. He stayed with me 24/7. He went everywhere I would go as he grew, and we were never ever seperated. He was with me even when I excused myself to the restroom. Or even when I took a shower, he was there to kiss my wet legs when I stepped out of the tub. He knew I was ill and he stood guard every day and every night. He didnt realize that he wasnt supposed to be taking care of “Momma”. Nope, “Momma” was supposed to take care of him. I gave him his heart meds and pain meds every single day as arthritis crept its way in in 2008(same year he was diagnosed as heart failure). He took his medicine willingly and never fought me. He would often scoff at the vet who would tell me
    “I dont understand why he is alive right now, after listening to his heart.”
    Him and I shared a bond like no other and Picky was my entire life. Yes, I had a loving family surrounding me, but there was something special and important about m Picky.
    The last 2 years of his life were hard on him. From h is heart down to his teeth, he was in pain and going blind and deaf. He stayed in bed with me and only got up to go potty or to sniff out my hospice nurse Diane. But other than that, he never left my side.
    During his last months of life he had gone deaf and blind, and I started to wonder if he was hanging onto me because he didnt think I could make it without him. Truth be told, I told him that on one than more occasion. I didnt meant to hold him back.
    But on Sept 9, he began bleeding from his nose. I thought maybe he had allergies, so I had my Mom take him to the vet while I waited in beda t home for the return of my best friend. Surely he’d be find and they would say it was just his allergies playing tricks on his nose.
    It wasnt his allergies.
    His tooth had abcessed so badly that it ate through the top of his skull and he was bleeding from the brain. If I didnt put him down, he would get a bloody nose so severe that they wouldnt be able to stop it and he would drown in his own blood.
    Like you did Snowy, I fed him his favorite foods: Chicken nuggets from Burger King. He ate them on my bed just as he did every meal. I even fed him his favorite tv dinner. I spent time with him and just showered him with love upon love. But I knew when ti was time.
    I lost him on September 9th 2010 at 1:34pm. in the afternoon. It was a sunny hot day and it was as if nothing bad could happen on sucha beautiful day. I sobbed. I cried. I screamed, I hit the walls. Ididnt think I would ever find peace again. And to be honest, I still cry for him every single day. I want to give you his memorial site because,for a small fee, you can make snowy one and it will be up permanently. I will leave it below my name.
    I guess I wrote a book didnt I? I wishyou coudl have met Picky. Just as I wish I had been lucky enough to meet Snowy. Like him, Picky was a one of a kind dog.
    I miss him.
    Terribly
    I ampraying for you and Sarah an dSteve. I knwo that its been 7 days. Just yesterday and forever at the same time. I know you miss him.
    My heart and prayers are with you during this very difficult time.
    I’ve been following you for 8 years.
    May God bless you
    Nancy

    • Nancy, thanks for sharing your story about Picky; he was definitely hand “picked” for you to help you during the difficult times of your life. it’s amazing, isn’t it, that a small dog can have such a large heart and make such a huge difference in our lives?

  4. So sorry for your loss of your wonderful pet. Snowy’s blogs always brought a smile to my face.

  5. Seven years ago when my son was sixteen he came home with a fluffy little blue heeler that he had worked, cleaning out a barn, to pay for. The newness wore off and he eventually became mom’s dog. Oh, how we loved that dog. Everyone loved him and he loved everyone. He loved to play ball and would play until we got tired and hid the ball. He would plop the ball in your lap or drop it at your feet. You would have to see it to believe it, but he could take an ear of corn and get the husk off and then enjoy eating the corn. We were always told to video it and send it to America’s Funniest Videos. He also liked to pick green beans from the garden and eat them. I think he mainly liked the beans inside. He was an outside dog and one of the easiest to go to his pen…all we had to do was give him his treat as he waited by the gate. Sadly though, he got hit by a passing truck in Feb. on one of the few times he ventured out of the yard.

    • Cindy, I love the mental picture of your dog taking the husk off of a piece of corn and eating it. Quite a canine accomplishment! I know you must be thankful that the dog went from being your son’s dog to your dog; sounds like you shared a very special relationship during the seven years you had him.

  6. The first cats we owned by parents go before the kids were born. Socrates or Socky (was white with grey spots) and Archimeda or Arche (was suppose to be Archimedes but found out she was a she. White with black spots). The best story we have of the both them was as kittens my parents bought them a starching post. It had two pieces one leaning up against the other, so it had a sort of tunnel. Well the two cats would chase each other around the room and through the tunnel it was fun to watch them. Now Socky…. started getting a bit fat… and one day Arche was chasing Socky and he got stuck in the tunnel… and to make matters worse…. Arche ran into the back of him. We were laughing sooo hard it took us awhile to rescue him. Sadly we lost Socky at the age of 11 years. He had diabetes. My brother and I were looking out the back window and my brother asked why Socky was lying in the middle of the road. When my dad went and got him, we figured out that he had died crossing the road. We couldn’t find any tire tracks, the vet concurred with us. Arche lasted until she was 17 years. We made the decision to let her go as the vet told us because she loved us so much it would take her a few days to let go. I am sitting here crying at my keyboard about it.

    Our next set of cats were all rescues. We became a foster family for 5 years of cats. Simba was the first, an orange tabby that a family had to give up, he was with us for 3 months, Then Abbey (wild cat that we had to put down after 4 years of living behind my moms bed) Emma, Blackie, Missy, Pearl, another Simba, Whitey. and a whole bunch of kittens.

    Currently at mom’s house (we are renting so can’t have cats), we have Rowan an orange tabby, that was dropped off because he was bitting the young families children’s. Kanzie, a Mancoon tabby cat who is huge, she is very vocal and loves being petted. and Gracie…. My cat. she was abandoned on a rainy highway with all 5 of her littermates. She was the only one to survive the weekend… I was the one that rasied her. Bottle fed her from 3 weeks old. She is now almost 11 years old, is developing arthritis and I can’t wait for her to meet my child that will be born in December.

    • Angela, wow! You are a TRUE cat lover! It warms my heart to read about all the cats you and your family have rescued and provided loving shelter for. And U also loved Arche and Socky’s names; how creative!

  7. I have posted before about my Greyhound Millie and our cat Kuda. However, reading your request, Becky, I would just like to list the names and possibly a short description of some of the animals that I (we) have lost to honor them and what they brought to our lives. They are all at the Rainbow Bridge – some are with my mom and dad, for sure, but others wait and play.
    COOKIE – (my first kitty – she was so tiny and died so young)
    RAGGEDY ANN (my second kitty – she was a lost kitten on my grandparents farm and she was just a mess and very “raggedy” when we found her there. She became a beautiful cat, caleco in color and long hair. She died at 14 years old – she was my companion and friend while growing up – I miss her still. I have pictures of her on my refrigerator – as a tiny kitten and as a gentile old lady laying beneath the Christmas tree.
    HOWARD (my daughters’ first pet) – Howard was a guinea pig and he squeaked whenever we opened the refrigerator door because that is where we kept the lettuce and he KNEW it! He loved to be held and his passing was hard on my girls at their tender ages. They and my parents performed a very loving funeral for Howard.
    MILLIE – our first Greyhound. She was a fawn color, she had huge ears for a Greyhound, she was loving and loyal and funny. Many children thought she was a deer! She and my younger daughter share a birthday and we had her for 10 years. She was rescued from a race track in Iowa. She was saved from the brutality too may Greys face because my daughter saw a rescue group at a community festival when she was 9 years old and she campaigned nonstop until I said okay to my first ever dog. Oh, what I had been missing in life not having a dog. I have her collar still – I miss her every day – she has been gone for 7 years now.
    We have had a few cats (all rescues) over the years – Charlotte (black and white sassy lady), Graybow (all gray male cat that had endured much in his life before being rescued) and Kuda (another all gray cat who was a fierce defender of his (our) property and ruled all the other cats in the neighborhood. He had cancer) – cats are funny creatures – so independent yet so much fun. I had to let all three of these loving cats go because of illness.
    After losing Millie and then Kud, I was not ready to go through the loss again. However, once again, my daughter started the Greyhound campaign and we now have Wanda. She is a black brindle 9 year old rescured racer, who is as sweet and loving as her predecessor. If possible, Stephanie loves Wanda even a little more than Millie. And, thanks to my older daughter, she brought us a stray all gray male kitten three years ago at Christmas – his name is Gordon. Gordon thinks he is a dog. He makes me laugh every day.
    Full circle, I suppose, as we have a Greyhound and a gray cat again and they have filled our house with laughter and fun and love. It was worth the risk, it always is.
    Thanks, Becky. I hope the days are getting a little brighter and that Sarah’s heart is healing a bit every day.

    • Mary, another great story about rescued animals. I could read these accounts all day long. Thank you for taking the time to share memories and honor the lives of ALL the animals that you’ve loved–may their love be continually returned to you.

  8. Lynne Kirk Lankford August 20, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Becky – Gosh where do I begin? Let me start with Ms. Carly; who is our puggle (pug and beagle mix). My daughter rescued Carly two weeks after her Daddy passed away from cancer in December, 2010. Carly came into our home wide open and happy all the time. At first I wasn’t ready for such a lively dog. I was grieving and just didn’t want the extra work of training her. I can look back on that time now and know she was exactly what we both needed at that time. She is so smart and learns tricks quickly. When we talk to her it is like she understands everything we say. Carly continues to bring us so much joy while we are still adjusting to our new normal. Next year my daughter will go off to college and says she is taking Carly with her!
    We also have a 12 year old beagle, whom our daughter named Zak. We got Zak when our daughter was in first grade. Zak had been an outdoor dog for 8 years. We kept asking my husband for an indoor dog. He suggested we try Zak inside. He has been wonderful and was my husbands constant companion in the six months he lived after his diagnosis. We took Zak to the funeral home to see Ed; he sniffed and layed down by his coffin and sighed heavily. He too grieved for Ed. Carly and Zak get along really well. Zak has now been diagnosed with Cushings so there will come a time when I will have to make the same decision you all did for Snowy.
    I also had a solid white pekingese named Nikki. My husband bought her for me in Christmas 1987 so we named her Nikki after St. Nick! She lived for 15 years until I had to make the difficult decision to let her go. I still think of her often, still look at lots of pictures, still would love to have her here with me. I firmly believe that pets brings out the best in a person.
    Thank you for asking us to share our stories about our pets during your time of grief. So many understand what you, Steve, Sarah and Nathan are going through. Time does heal. It is our memories that will help us through.

    • Lynne, that was so sweet to read about Zak lying down besides Ed’s coffin and sighing. Animals have such sensitive, loving hearts and they are so in tune with that is going on. And yes, I can certainly imagine that Carly was a wonderfully healing distraction for you in the months following your dad’s death. Thanks for sharing your stories.

  9. The dog we had when I was growing up was a beautiful reddish brown cocker spaniel named Rebel. He was such a sweetheart and was more like a person than a dog. He used to love sitting by the sliding glass patio door and if he saw a bird or a grasshopper he would get so excited, shake like crazy and kind of do this little throaty yodel-type sound. He would NEVER ever bark while he was in the house!! So darned cute!

    • LeeAnne, TOO cute! Rebel was such a polite dog to throttle his barking indoors even though I’m sure he wanted to let ‘er rip. That made me smile.

  10. I have not been able to comment on Snowy’s passing. I just lost Callie on March 30th and it still hurts so much. So here I am at work crying! Callie looked a alot like Snowy. She was a Maltese Poodle mix rescue dog. She had a liver shunt but she lived a happy 7 year s with me. She was such an affectionate dog. She would put her two front paws on my shoulders and hug me. She talked to me all the time. She spun in circles like Snowy when she was excited. She was such a sweet girl and I miss her so much. I know how hard it was to say goodbye to Snowy. I love him too. I’ll be thinking about you and Sarah everytime I think about my Callie.

    • Bev, so sorry that you lost Callie; I can only imagine how darling she was with a mix of Maltese and Poodle! I loved that she would put her paws on your shoulders to hug you–what sweet, sweet memories you have to carry with you. Thanks for thinking of us as you continue to recover from your own loss.

  11. I’ve had both cats & dogs over the years. When I was 5 my family moved home to Connecticut and when we moved into our (1st) house, my older cousin decided I needed a pet and just showed up, much to my mother’s dismay, with an orange tiger I named Tabby. She was quite old when she died and my Dad was the one to bring her to the vets.
    When I was 12 my brother was drafted and sent to Vietnam. My cousin (same one) decided I needed a “replacement” and just showed up, much to my Mom’s dismay (again), with a lab mix! Gotta love this cousin! Dusty greeted everone happily and was truly “owned” by each family member. My poor Mom! Dusty would wait at the door for my Dad to come home from work and was therefore the first one greeted. Mom had a few comments to make about that. I was in my late 20′s when she died of old age.
    When I was 22 I brought home a puppy with the wisest eyes and biggest feet. He looked just like a Gordon Setter….enough so to fool the vet! I named him Poker because everytime I was sitting he’d poke me with one of those big paws. He grew to a big 120 lb. hunk of love. He was big, he was black (mostly) and thus looked intimidating. In reality, he was cowed by the 50 lb. Dusty…she ruled. If Poke wanted to pass through a doorway that she was laying in, he’d stand there and whine and one of us humans would have to tell Dusty to move and be nice. Poker became my protector through turbulent years that follwed the death of my Mom when I was 22 and an abusive relationship. He was the pillow I hugged and sobbed into. He “sang” with me when I played the guitar and somehow…very quietly & with great stealth…scared me to death when I turned around in the shower and he was in there with me! We’d walk down the hill to the Mystic River and I’d take a running dive off the dock and when I’d surface he’d be right next to me. People tell me he just took a running leap and followed me in and swim we would. I was 8 1/2 months pregnant when my husband and I came home to find him dead in the backyard. He was almost 13 years old. I so wanted him to meet my son. I wanted my son to know him. At the time, I couldn’t allow myself to grieve because the pain was so deep and I was scared of hurting the baby. LIfe just got crazier after that with a divorce when my son was 4 months old and I realize as I write this: I have never fully grieved the loss of my Poke in the 23 years since. Maybe it’s time.

    • Oh Guerrina, what a beautiful, heartbreaking, inspiring, funny post! The picture of Poke waiting to pass through the door until a human had moved Dusty out of the way–well, that is too funny. And the fact that after all these years you don’t feel like you’ve grieved his loss; well, I’m with you on that one. I think it’s time. Grace to you.

  12. I’ve had many dogs that I could write about and and we have definitely felt the same pain you are feeling. Two years ago we lost our 16 year old jack russell, Max and it was so hard to make the decision to put him to sleep. My husband and I cried for days after he died. We have found much healing with our rescue dog we adopted soon after! My favorite animal story is when my dad was in Kentucky taking care of his dying mother, this tiny kitten crawled up to him in the driveway of the farm. My dad waited for a long time and tried to find the kitten’s mom, but he couldn’t. I feel like God sent this kitten to my dad at the exact time that he needed the love of an animal most. My parents still have Ellie the beautiful cat that was that sweet kitten. She brings so much joy to my father’s life and helped him through a rough time when he lost his mother!

    • Kyna, sixteen years is SUCH a long time to have a dog; I know Max will always have a piece of your heart. How wonderful that you adopted a rescue dog! And I love how that kitten just “wandered” into your dad’s life at just the right time. Animals are known to do that sort of thing, aren’t they?

  13. Thank you for sharing your heart with all of us. I am very sorry for your loss.
    prayers and hugs

  14. Oh my Becky–I have not visited here in a while and did not know about Snowy’s illness. Reading your previous couple of posts has me in tears, as I still remember the pain and sadness from 35 years ago when my family had to put down our beloved little dog, Penny. She was so sweet and loyal, and in a lot of pain towards the end of her life–yet at times she seemed to be better. This made taking her to the vet that one last time so very difficult. Like you, the house was so quiet when we got home, and I will never forget my family trying to eat dinner that night, all seated around the table, sobbing. The pain was so great that I refused to have pets again for many, many years. We did eventually get two little stray kittens–they have been loved greatly, and now one of them is gone. He died in my husband’s arms as I drove us to the vet. Oliver was a gently giant of a cat, 20+ pounds, and such a scaredy cat most of his life. His last few years found him to be more social and loved to sit on the back of furniture where we sat, where he would purr and purr! Now we have Molly girl, our rescued from the shelter dog. She is so attached to my husband that it isn’t even funny . She is his constant shadow-so loving and loyal and sweet–I cringe to think about that some day…..
    My thoughts are with you all–
    Love–
    Kim (in Seattle)
    xxox

    • Kim, I am truly amazed (and touched) that you would still remember little Penny 35 years later! Yes, the house seems very quiet now without Snowy, just as it did for your family with Penny. I’m sure that in 35 years (when I am 85!) we’ll still be talking about Snowy. Glad to know you found some more pets to fill the spaces in your heart.

  15. I got my cat Neko the day I graduated from college. I was holding a cat who purred and hugged my neck when the humane society staff showed me a very new arrival in the back room, surrounded by barking dogs. Her name was “Poo” and she was supposedly a year old. I picked her up and held her for nearly ten minutes. She was quiet in my arms, not wanting to get down but not terribly demonstrative. I wondered if she was so shy she’d have trouble being adopted. My decision was made– the lovey, neck-hugging cat would get adopted by someone. I wanted to save a life. So I adopted “Poo,” and promptly changed her name. She was the first pet that was really MINE.
    Over the years she proved herself to be a loving and somewhat wild little beast. We had some trouble training her out of chewing wires and scratching on walls (and in the end she never did stop with the scratching), but as she got older she mellowed out a bit. The best time was several years ago, when we moved to the country and were finally settled enough to be able to start letting her outside. That was when she really blossomed– she would love to go for walks with my husband and me, first on a leash and then on her own. We would walk up and down our property, into the woods and over the hills, and she’d be a little striped shadow a few yards behind. She learned the dubious joy of catching mice and rabbits, and never failed to leave them as a gift on our porch right outside the door. She was never really a lap-cat per se, but she loved to find a comfy spot right next to me on the couch. The back of the couch was her favorite, though– she’d lie down right behind my head. As she fell asleep and got really comfortable, she’d sprawl out, half-hanging over the edge, and her paws would get tangled in my hair.
    In February of this year, a few months before her tenth birthday, she went outside one evening. Normally she didn’t stray far after dark but sat on the porch or in the garden right by the house. I had a bad cold so I fell asleep early, but my husband woke me up at 2am, frantic at being unable to find the cat. We got up and looked for her for an hour in the cold, and then all the next few days. She never came back and we never found her. The worst part was never knowing what happened to her– I kept looking up at every sound, expecting to see her scratching at the door. It’s been six months, and I still do that. I miss her so much and will always remember her, my sweet little stripey shadow.

    • Dina, oh, that just make me so sad to hear how Neko just disappeared. What a beloved “striped” shadow she was in your lives. I especially love what you said about her falling asleep on the back of the couch, sprawled out and half hanging over the edge. It’s hard to be tense while looking at a sleeping cat!

  16. Melissa Shawver August 18, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    I’m lucky enough to still have my sweet cat Spot with me. He’s about ten now, a big orange cat. My husband is a big Star Trek fan, and in the the Next Generation series, one of the characters had an orange cat named Spot, so he decided he wanted one too. I laughed it off. Then one day he was walking from work (he’s a police officer) to a diner nearby for breakfast, and this orange cat walks toward him. He stopped and petted the cat, and the cat followed him to the restaurant. He went inside and ate, came out about thirty minutes later, the the orange cat was sitting on the the sidewalk outside the diner waiting on him. He walked back to work, and the cat followed. He put the cat in his patrol car and took it to my workplace, calling me outside to see him. “I want him!” I remember him saying exitedly. I said no, as we already had a cat at home. He finally drove off without the cat, leaving him outside my workplace, very disappointed. Six hours later, one of my co-workers was leaving early and the cat was STILL waiting outside. I asked her to drop the cat off at my house, so she took him to my house and let him out in the yard. I came home a few hours later, and sure enough, the cat was patiently waiting at the door! He’s been ours ever since, named Spot after the Star Trek cat. He’s always been a big cat, and now he tips the scales around 20 lbs. or so. He could probably stand to lose a little weight! He’s such a sweet, affectionate cat and purrs like a Geiger counter; he also snores like a lumberjack. I can’t imagine life without him.

    • Melissa, “Purrs like a Geiger counter and snores like a lumberjack.” What a great description of a great cat who sounds like he was truly meant to be a part of your family. I love how the cat followed your husband around and waited on him (and you) until you decided he was going to be part of your life. A happy ending story!

  17. She came to me when I needed her most. Her name was Kelsey….a name chosen for my golden retriever long before I knew who she would be. She was 8 weeks old when I brought her home. She came with only one instruction – to be sure to bring her swimming. When she was 9-10 weeks old I was visiting a friend with an in-ground pool. In the first 10 min of being there, Kelsey somehow managed to let herself fall in the pool and she was not the least bit phased. From that day forward, any body of water (from puddle to the ocean) became a swimming hole for her. Oh, how she LOVED to swim. Kelsey was a true golden retriever…..very “needy” in the most loving way. She was “my girl”, a loyal companion, the most faithful of friends. A kind, gentle spirit who brought such joy, peace and an amazing, unconditional LOVE for everyone and everything. I had set aside Sunday afternoons to spend undivided time with Kelsey…..Sunday became KelseyDay. We would go hiking, swimming, to the dog park, rides in the car, eat ice-cream…etc. Special times with a special friend. One late January night, Kelsey had a grand mal seizure. She was 3 months shy of her 13th birthday. The vet said since it was a first seizure at her age, it was likely due to a brain tumor. Oh, how I prayed it wasn’t so. That first seizure was followed by several more in the days following. We treated with anti-seizure meds which bought us a few seizure free days. On what turned out to be her last day with me (a Sunday -KelseyDay) I took her back to 3 of her most favorites places….one of which was her special swimming hole. She even ventured in to the water (in the middle of January). She was happy! We returned home and spent time alone together. I held her and told her how much I loved her and how thankful I was that she had been chosen by God to come to me and to bless my life. She had another 3 seizures that night and it became clear that she had reached the end of her amazing journey. That final ride to the vet that night was so very hard.
    In the early days of grieving her loss, I took solace in painting “Kelsey stones”. Painted bright colors with her name on one side and the following message on the other:
    Kelsey
    (1994-2007)
    She brought sunshine to our days and great love and joy to our hearts.
    Forever loved and cherished.
    These stones were then left in some of her very special places.

    • Linda, what a great idea to paint the Kelsey stones; something lovely to remember her by, especially since you left them in her favorite places. I could just truly feel the love you had for your dog coming through every word you wrote–thanks for sharing your story and HER story. They are one and the same.

  18. Quincy was my first cat when I graduated from college. I went to the pound and she was there with a bunch of littermates. She threw herself at the bars and mewed at me. One cuddle and I knew she had to come home with me! She was a beautiful gray tabby cat. We shared 16 great years together and moved many times. She used to curl up around my neck and purr – such a comforting feeling. Unfortunately, just as I started my pregnancy with our twin girls, she grew ill and I had to make that most difficult choice for her. I will always remember her dearly!

    • Nancy, few things in life more comforting or more reassuring than a purring cat. And when that cat is wrapped around your neck? Well, all the better. I know those sixteen years with Quincy were some of the most precious years of your life.

  19. Fritz is my last dog; once he’s gone, that’s it for me. He moved across the country with me 5 years ago; he didn’t like apartment living, so I bought a house with a fenced-in yard for him. (That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.)
    He’s now 12, and he had been coughing last winter. I took him to the vet who gave him something for the cough and suggested that if it didn’t help, I bring him back for x-rays. Unfortunately, the x-ray showed a large mass in his chest. She said we could do a biopsy and go from there, but I wasn’t going to put a 12-year old dog through chest surgery. The vet agreed, saying that would be her choice if it were her dog.
    Months later, he’s still with me. The vet now says it’s probably not an aggressive cancer, and gave a prognosis of about a year. It’s hard to say if the cancer is affecting him yet. He’s slowing down, but aren’t we all as we get older? So it’s hard to gauge where we stand. I’ve noticed that, since I’m in spoiling mode with him, he gets lots of treats, but he’s not gaining weight. Possibly from the cancer?
    When he coughs, it sounds awful, but then he’s fine again. Sometimes he’s positively puppyish, but usually he sleeps a lot. Occasionally he still runs in his sleep, frequently he wags his tail when he’s sleeping. I can only guess that he has some fun dreams happening!
    He’s been a wonderful pet. He loves children, loves other dogs, guards me diligently, and herds me toward his treat container regularly.
    I followed Snowy’s last days and couldn’t help feeling it was a look at what’s down the road for Fritz and me.

    • Jan, I can only imagine how closely you’ve followed our journey with Snowy as you try to put yourself (and Fritz) in our shoes. I’m glad to hear that he’s still runnin’ and waggin’ in his sleep; that must make you smile to watch him. Grace to you for the road ahead.

    • Well of course you had to buy a house, your dog needed it!

      It’s so hard not to stress over what’s coming. Sometimes I wish humans could be more like dogs, who always seem to be fervently enjoying this moment, right now, and not worrying about anything past the next cupful of kibble.

      • Kristina, you’re so right about dogs living in the NOW! Except, maybe in Fritz’s case that would be Kibble and Pupparoni and other assorted treats!

  20. When my youngest son was in 2nd grade, he had a friend who’s mother was a vet. He called her one day and told her that if she ever had a dog in the clinic that needed a home, his dad said he would “think about it”. Well, she had a lab/chow mix who was brought in that day, apparently abandoned on the side of the road at about 6 weeks old. Although my husband was not exactly on board, the rest of us fell in love immediately and took him home.
    His name was Buddy. We had a family vote for the name. Everyone voted and put their vote in a brown lunch bag. Buddy won, by 8 votes. That was quite interesting because we only have 7 in our family……still trying to figure out which one of my children (or husband) stuffed the ballot box!!!
    Buddy became a neighborhood dog. He was about knee high and sat out in our front yard every day, weather permitting. Neighbors (some who we didn’t know) started bringing their dogs by to play with him. It wasn’t abnormal to have someone knock on the door to ask if Buddy could come out and play. He was kind to all dogs and people of all ages. He was everyone’s friend. If one of us was sad, he would instinctively pick up on our feeling and plop himself next to us to comfort us.
    One day Buddy wasn’t acting normal. My daughter took him to the vet and called me hysterical. Buddy was bleeding internally and had some type of growth. The vet didn’t give us much hope of survival and none of us could bear to watch him in pain. He was too loved.
    He was put to sleep that day and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him.
    Lauren

    • Lauren, putting a dog to sleep who had been healthy right up to the very end must have been such a terrible shock to you all. I loved to read your memories about Buddy, especially when people would come by and ask if Buddy could come out and play. He sounds like he was a beloved fella!

  21. Here is my pet story…. I got Spunky when I was 9 years old. He was a mini dachshund who was so tiny that he fit in my hands. Spunky was stubborn, and liked to do everything his way. When I was 12, my dad and step-mom had my little brother, and Spunky was jealous of the attention that the baby was receiving. Spunky never forgave my little brother for being born. Mini dachsunds tend to adopt one pereson and have a very special relationship with that one person. I was his person. He slept with me, followed me around, he was always in my lap when I was sitting down. If anyone tried to get too close to me, he would growl at them. He was my little brother. As I grew into a teenager, Spunky was the one that I talked to about my problems. If I wasn’t getting along with my parents, he always listened. At 25 I decided to go away to college, and left Spunky with my parents. Spunky lived to be 18 and a half years old, so as i aged, he aged. I used to pray to God (it seems so silly now) that I be given a husband one day that loved me as much as Spunky did. After I became engaged to my now-husband Spunky passed away. I think that he knew he did his job when my husband came into my life. I have three dogs now, and Spunky has been gone since 2008, and I still miss him. Each of my dogs that I have now remind me of him. My baby Rufus is the same color as Spunky and my protector, Joey has his stubborn personality, and Callie is very “spunky” like he was. I think that Spunkys heart was too big and he had to move on…

    • Jennifer, Eighteen and a half? Wow! That’s an awfully long time to love a dog and be loved in return; I know the first few months after Spunky’s death must have seemed so strange without him around. I’m glad to know you found a husband who took up where Spunky left off–that was a very sweet prayer you prayed as a young person. :-)

  22. Cindy from Sonoma August 18, 2012 at 7:42 am

    Just over 10 years ago I moved to Sonoma with two cats, one was 20 years old and the other was a stray that moved in with me prior to my move. His name was Big Red and he was a fisty guy that bit me one evening since he didn’t have front paws. It was my fault, be the resulting medical issues would have led another to be rid of him. Big Red was really a nice guy and he liked to massage my head at night, which was ok since he didn’t have claws there. So when I moved he and Dexter moved with me. Big Red did not like the move at all and his kidneys failed. I almost passed out hearing that news at a new vets office my neighbor recommended. It was so hard to let him go, but I did. I still miss those head massages and Big Red’s photo is still on my frig. Dexter didn’t last much longer than Big Red, but the three cats I have now make me so happy. Lexi is a skinny little thing, Sophie is a very plump car, and Milo the only boy loves to torture both of them. I have learned it isn’t a good idea to mix female cats with a male, though it keeps those females on there toes!

    • Cindy, you are a wonderful cat lady! I know that Lexi, Sophie and Milo are very well loved. It was fun to hear about your earlier cats, too, since I didn’t know much about them. I didn’t know it wasn’t a good idea to mix male and female cats but it sounds like you (and them) are making it work wonderfully. Enjoy!

  23. First of all, I am so sorry to hear about Snowy- it must have been especially hard as he was feeling sorta well that day. I know one of these days the same decision may be upon me, as I look at my 12 yo standard poodle at my feet…..

    My story, though, is about my Siamese cross Oliver, who was a real character extraordinaire. He was a “fetcher”, and apparently also a thief, because when we lived in a gardens to apartment complex (no cats allowed thank you very much), he caued lots of problems, including bringing home cat toys (especially those furry mice). Someone was spending a lot of money on cat toys, only to have them end up at my place (usually under the fridge). His favorite game, though, was to drop whatever he was playing with into the toilet, fish it out, and bring it to me while I was sleeping. It took me a while to figure out not to chuck it away, because that is what he wanted! Now, a crumpled piece of paper is one thing, but a cold, furry wet toy mouse isn’t too pleasant. His oddest gift was a razor that he had taken from the edge of the bathtub. That one went under my pillow. Despite (because of?) these antics, Oliver was one cool cat. I still miss him..,.

  24. My son Aaron, all of 11 years old, decided his heart was ready to get another cat. He had lost Scooter a few months before and oh how I remember his tender heart standing out in the yard because he wouldn’t even come into the house since Scooter had died there. So off to “Dogs and Cats Forever” we went… This was in the heat of summer (June…) and we all assumed there would be a cute fuzzy kitten coming home with us. Walking in and looking at all the cute kittens wanting a home I knew it would be a quick trip. After a few moments, much to my surprise, there was a snarling, old meowing sound from what looked like a cat that had seen its better days. She purred, tried to meow, and rubbed against Aaron, begging to go home. Her hazy eyes looked at him with a love he felt instantly. I instantly said “no” as the volunteer told me she was 13 years old and on three meds. We left as Aaron looked at me with sadness but didn’t want to see his heart broken so soon again after losing Scooter. Christmas was soon upon us and as usual, we asked Aaron what he wanted. Much to our surprise he answered-”To go back to the shelter, adopt June, and give her one more good Christmas.” What were we to do… I secretly thought to myself-it is highly possible June is gone-gone on to kitty heaven and a fuzzy kitten was meant to be.
    Not the case… Here comes June, just like 6 months ago, looking up at Aaron as if she had just seen him yesterday. We were hooked. And June came home…
    June became part of our family and our hearts for 5 additional years. Oh how we loved her. As my husband convinced me that it was right thing to do, our wonderful vet said there was nothing left to do, I still cry at the thought of her leaving in her little carrier that day. I said goodbye to her over the phone, it was all I could do but oh, how we miss her…
    Miss June (so old we called her July)
    Love and prayers as you celebrate Snowy

    • Shoegal, that is one of the sweetest stories I have ever read. To think that Aaron would remember June all those months and ask for her for Christmas–and then to have her live for five more years? Well, I just wanted to stand up and cheer!

    • What a sweet story! And what a sweet boy… adopting an older animal is such an awesome thing to do.

  25. We had a collie when I was in high school. Everyday when I got off the school bus she was waiting for me and walked with me home. She chased cars on our street and one day was hit. The hip was broken and the vet said she would never walk again. We put her in a dog house in the yard and the next day she got up and ran across the backyard. She had a stiff hip but lived on. When she was trying to have puppies the vet told us he could operate but the puppies probably would not live and she probably would not neither. My brother made the decision to have her put to sleep (he is younger than I am) and came home with the collar for me. I’ll never forget that day when he walked in with the collar. He was not even driving so probably 13 or 14 years old. Princess lives in “doggie” heaven with her pups and I hope all my animals who have crossed Rainbow Bridge have met each other.

    • Ann, I’ve always thought collies were such gorgeous animals. And to have her wait for you every day on the school bus and walk you home? What more could a girl ever want?

  26. I nearly forgot my most beloved Pet … Ted. He was a white hooded rat who I had for three years when I was in college and felt most lost. He went with me to every single class, stayed in my dorm (even though it was not allowed!) and went on a huge road trip with me while I did my intern ship. He would come when I called him and he loved chocolate pudding and dry pasta more then anything else! When I met my husband and told him I had a pet rat he was mortified. He couldn’t believe I had a pet rat! But lo and behold – after our community was nearly destroyed by an earthquake – it was my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) said we need to get to your apartment to make sure Ted is okay! Ted survived the earthquake and lived a few months after that …

    After I made the decision to put him to sleep (he had a terrible tumor) I would stand in the aisle of the supermarket crying – I couldn’t believe I didn’t have to buy pasta anymore for Ted. It was then that my husband decided we needed another pet – and we adopted Blacktop… (her story is further down!).

    • Jan, a rat who ate chocolate pudding and dry pasta? It sounds like a plot for a children’s book. :-) And how wonderful that a pet who was so special to you became special to your boyfriend/husband, as well. Ted the Rat made me smile!

  27. My dog Blacktop was the smartest dog you could ever meet. She was part Border Collie – or mostly Border Collie and who knows what else. We got her from a shelter when she was a tiny little four pound pup and she grew into a 35 pound amazing, amazing dog.

    There were so many funny memories of Blackie – the memory of her getting the pig squeeky toy and flying downstairs with it – so proud – we actually had hid it from her and she was smart enough to find it! We also loved to play hide and seek with her – we would put her in a stay – and then go and hide and then call her until of a stay – and she would come find us – no matter where we were hiding! She hated the swimming pool but LOVED the duck pond. She would swim for hours if we would let her! We took her to the dog park – where she would walk the perimeter and then stand at the human drinking fountain because she really didn’t think she was a dog! Funny girl.

    As my keychain says, “Blacktop Shirley Von Girley Pearly” (every good dog has an official name!) … “A once in a lifetime dog, forever loved and always missed”. She really was a once in a lifetime dog. Our hearts will always miss her and always love her.

    • Jan, I love the story of playing hide and seek with a DOG! I can only imagine how many smiles and giggles that game produced. And I also love that she didn’t think she was a dog. So, so funny!

  28. One evening last autumn my daughter Samantha discovered an abandoned newborn baby mouse in the garage. We didn’t have the heart to leave him to die alone on the cold floor and had we taken him to a vet he would have become snake food so we decided to adopt him. For 4 days until he passed I feed him kitten formula every 4 hours, even at night. Mousie gave us a special gift : we adopted Samantha 2.5 years ago from Foster care and Mousie helped her realize that just as it wasn’t his fault his mommy couldn’t take care of him, it was not her fault
    her birth parents couldn’t care for her. It gave her a new vantage point on what it means to love someone and sacrifice to care for them. A few months later we lost a beloved uncle to cancer. Having experienced Mousie’s death also prepared Sam for understanding death before we lost someone so important to our family.

    In closing Becky I just want to give you hug. I’m so very sorry about your precious Snowy and have shed a few tears over his passing.

    Jenna hoff

    • Oh Jenna, that is the sweetest story about Mousie helping Samantha find a different (and healing) perspective on her adoption. If ever a baby mouse was God sent, that one was.

  29. Mimsey was my favorite. She was an English Setter. Children could sit on her, pull her ears, take her food and she wouldn’t bat an eyelash. She was that sweet. But she was a setter and that meant she chased birds. Seagulls to be exact. She would swim out in the ocean to chase a gull and we would see her little white head bobbing among the waves. She would only come in for my mother, so we would run home and get mom to come call her back to the shore. Once she got stuck on a sandbar, as the tide was coming in and she would not jump in the water to swim to shore. So back home we went to get mom to call her in, before the sandbar disappeared.
    Mimsey was named after a character from Alice in Wonderland. Mimsey liked to bring things home, in her mouth, much like the breed would bring home a bird it had caught. In Mimsey’s case, it would be bags of cheese doodles or bags of chips she would find in neighbor’s yards. This was back in the 70′s when dogs ran free. You’d see her coming with something hanging from her mouth and it was always a surprise to find out what she had procured. She had an affinity for baseball gloves as well. Eventually, we had 11 of them in our garage, as we had no idea to whom they belonged!
    Mimsey would sit near us at dinner and watch us eat. She never made a sound, just looked at our food with her sorrowful eyes and 2 huge drools would come down from each side of her mouth. Mom would just lean over, wipe them with a paper towel before they hit the floor and we would continue our meal.
    I loved her. When it was time to put her down, mom made me take her to the vet. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, as Mimsey thought we were going out for an ice cream :( I would never make a child of mine do that. I was angry about it for quite some time.
    Mimsey was the best.

    Lesley

    • Lesley, well, I think that Mimsey wanted you and your family to start a baseball team–why else would she procure 11 gloves for you? I loved that she was so patient with children playing with her and sitting on her without a peep of protest. What a sweet dog.

  30. The memories help them all live on…and they do help us heal, I think.

    Here’s one about my cat, C, who I mentioned in my last comment. He was so beloved that after he died, I was in a haze for a month. I don’t think I’d ever grieved so hard for anyone, ever. Even now, several years later, I still get sniffly when I think about him.

    I had C from the time I was 15 until I was 32 — he had a very long and happy life. While I was in college, he temporarily went to New England to live with my aunt. I wasn’t pleased with this, both because he was separated from me and because my aunt liked to let C go outside (I vehemently disagree with letting cats go outdoors unattended–but that is another post!).

    About three weeks after she started letting him go out, she called me up, screaming and crying (I promise there is a punchline here). At first I was terrified because I thought something had happened to C, but then I made out the words that my aunt was saying: “He killed a mouse! A MOUSE! His jaws are bloody! There’s a mouse and it’s here! DO SOMETHING! Get over here and DO SOMETHING about this cat!”

    I was 500 miles away, so needless to say, I wasn’t sure what she wanted me to do about the mouse, or the cat. I wasn’t sure why she was surprised by this, either–C was a barn cat when we adopted him. Still, she kept going: “What kind of animal kills mice…HE KILLED A MOUSE!”

    Finally I had a chance to break in and say something. “Um…Auntie…maybe he killed the mouse because he’s a barn cat and that’s what they do? And you let him outside where he could hunt? And I’m not sure what you want me to do about the mouse, it might be better to clean it up yourself because it would take me 8 hours to get up there by bus.”

    Silence. “I hadn’t thought of that.”

    Here’s one sweet memory to balance out the funny one. The night before he passed away, I took a very poignant photo with C. He was staring right at the camera, as if he knew it was his chance to say farewell.

    About two weeks after he died, I received a book called “For Every Cat an Angel.” The book was a retelling of the Rainbow Bridge story, but also included the idea that every cat has angels to look out for him. One of the illustrations was a young woman–with my hair color and style–hugging a tabby cat that looked just like C. It was basically an illustration of my last photograph with C. Of course, it made me cry my eyes out, but it also made me feel very comforted.

    • Denise, I imagine C was quite puzzled by your aunt’s behavior since he probably thought he did a very good job catching that mouse! And how special it was to read about the book with that picture in it so similar to the two of you–I can only imagine how comforting that was for you.

      • I do think that he was a bit perplexed as to why his gift wasn’t met with enthusiasm, yes! He kept bringing home new “gifts” every single day after that, so perhaps he thought he’d eventually find one that my aunt would like. Or he found the panic amusing. Or both. :)

        I still have my copy of “For Every Cat an Angel” and I am still very touched by it. There was another coincidence involving C and books, too. I wrote a story about C’s last hour for one of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. The book was released in September 22, 2009. At the time, I was sure I was never going to get another cat. I was very hurt and angry when anyone suggested it to me, because C was a friend–not an item I could replace. However, in November, I agreed to take a very sick kitten as a favor to a local rescue. I was only supposed to have him for the weekend. He could not be with other cats because he was so weak and ill and had just been released from the hospital (he’d had pneumonia for a month). Of course, I fell in love immediately and ended up adopting him and his brother.

        When I received all their paperwork I discovered that they’d been rescued from the euthanasia list at the city shelter…on September 22, 2009. They were also born on September 9, 2009. C was diagnosed with cancer on September 9, 2008. So, given all of that…I think that it’s not a coincidence that I ended up with my cats, and that someone else had a hand in pointing them in my direction. :)

    • ‘I hadn’t thought of that.’ Thanks for a great laugh! Poor C… he was probably so proud of himself!

      • Thank you for reading! :) I do think that C was very confused by my aunt’s lack of enthusiasm. He kept bringing home birds and mice every day after that, so I also halfway wonder if he was amused by my aunt’s panic. :)

  31. We got my first dog, Freeway, when I was 12. He was a mix of goodness knows what, and teeny tiny at 6 weeks old as his momma died. My mom bottle fed him and we all loved him to adulthood. Freeway was a firey soul.. he loved people and thought that anyone that came over was there JUST to see him. I remember we got him his first bed.. we put him in it, just to see if he liked it… I guess he did, because when I tried to pick him up to take him outside he growled to be left alone! Tug of war was his favorite game, and he almost always won – all 17 pounds of him! He loved the car! If you even said the word car in a sentence he would freak and run to the door.
    When I was 16, a friend committed suicide. Freeway was not an emotional pup – he was not the type to love you back to health if you were sick, or lick your tears away. But, he did then. He wouldn’t leave my side for days… He felt the pain in my heart and he wanted nothing but to make it better. He showed me more care and concern than most people.
    We lost him in May of 2005. We had to make the same decision you did – he had cancer. We tried surgery but caught it too late. It had spread. We kept him comfortable with meds, but eventually one tumor took over his esophagus, and he could no longer eat or drink. It’s a day I will never forget, and still think of often. To this day the smell of rubbing alcohol brings a tear (and I smell it a LOT as I get allergy shots once a week). I remember the ride to the vet – he was on my lap, head out the window, happy and content. I struggled with the decision because he seemed ok for those few moments. I know that we made the right decision for him, but it is terribly hard to make.
    I now have 2 Yorkies, and I tell them all the time that I do NOT want to ever have to make that decision again! Odds are I will have to.
    My thoughts and prayers are still with you all. Glad you can all grieve together and seem to be surrounded with people who understand. A dog is NOT just a dog – a dog is a family member who should be loved and cherished, just like sweet Snowy was. He was a lucky boy.

    • Jennifer, it is amazing to me how dogs can sense a beloved human’s pain, the Freeway did with you when you were a bereaved 16-year old. I know you will never forget that comfort he gave. I’m glad you have the memory of him happily hanging his head out the window on the way to the vet; those happy memories help to offset the grief of our losses.

  32. Diane Luparello August 17, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    We’ve had so many beloved pets through the 35 years we’ve been married (always had at least 3 cats and 2 dogs) that I could probably write a book. One we lost a little over a year ago was Sydney, a female American Eskimo Dog. She was our grand dog but we gained custody about 2 weeks after my stepson and daughter-in-law got her when they realized that having a dog when you both work full time and live in a brand new 3rd floor apartment was not the great idea they thought it was. Sydney LOVED to sneak cat food (we have a feeder so cats can eat whenever they want). The feeder is in the half bath which is ‘my’ bathroom and is in the back of the house off the master bedroom. Sydney unfortunately could not sneak cat food without us knowing it because she had a guilty conscience and would come slinking down the hall with her tail tucked between her legs. Sydney was my husband’s shadow and when we lost her to complications of Cushing’s Disease it was very hard on both of us, but he felt the loss the most.

    • Diane, the picture of Sydney slinking down the hall with her tail between her legs is so funny. A dog with a conscience is so dear and funny. Since she was your husband’s shadow, I can truly relate to the depth of the loss he (and you) have experienced.

  33. When I was going through my own treatment for breast cancer, nasty chemo, burning radiation, painful surgeries, our family adopted an abused puppy. My boys named him Buddy. During the winter that I was undergoing chemo treatments, Buddy and I bonded and healed. We spent a whole lot of hours cuddled on the couch, under warm blankets. Buddy was the only one who didn’t have to go to school or to work or run errands. Buddy became my constant companion. He is officially known in our family as, “Mom’s cancer dog”.

    Buddy is a Papillon/Daschund Mix, weighing in at about 10 lbs. He is reddish in color, with long, flowing locks. He loves to lie on his back and have his stomach rubbed. To this day, 6 years out from cancer treatment, if I sit down in a chair or on the couch, Buddy is on my lap. Especially if a blanket is involved! He is getting older. He has seizures now and keeps me scared that he will not survive the next one. I am blessed that my Buddy is still a part of my life, a part of our family. I know that the day will come when Buddy will not be here. But, I have been blessed beyond measure to have had him help and guide me through horrible medical trials, to have him be my companion, and to have him be my Buddy. God was so great to bring Buddy and I together, to heal each other.

    • Dawn, such a heartwarming story. Animals are so very therapeutic even in the best of times; however, when you were confined to the couch and everyone else was busy and had things they needed to do, having an always present warm, furry body to snuggle had to have been the most healing, therapeutic experience possible. So thankful for Buddy!

  34. I received this article 47 years ago when I was grieving for a fine little fella, a toy manchester who truly was my best friend. I’ve never forgotten the sentiments.
    Where To Bury A Dog

    There are various places within which a dog may be buried. We
    are thinking now of a setter, whose coat was flame in the sunshine, and who, so
    far as we are aware, never entertained a mean or an unworthy thought. This
    setter is buried beneath a cherry tree, under four feet of garden loam, and at
    its proper season the cherry strews petals on the green lawn of his grave.
    Beneath a cherry tree, or an apple, or any flowering shrub of the garden, is an
    excellent place to bury a good dog. Beneath such trees, such shrubs, he slept in
    the drowsy summer, or gnawed at a flavorous bone, or lifted head to challenge
    some strange intruder. These are good places, in life or in death. Yet it is a
    small matter, and it touches sentiment more than anything else.

    For if the dog be well remembered, if sometimes he leaps
    through your dreams actual as in life, eyes kindling, questing, asking,
    laughing, begging, it matters not at all where that dog sleeps at long and at
    last. On a hill where the wind is unrebuked and the trees are roaring, or beside
    a stream he knew in puppyhood, or somewhere in the flatness of a pasture land,
    where most exhilarating cattle graze. It is all one to the dog, and all one to
    you, and nothing is gained, and nothing lost — if memory lives. But there is
    one best place to bury a dog. One place that is best of all.

    If you bury him in this spot, the secret of which you must
    already have, he will come to you when you call — come to you over the grim,
    dim frontiers of death, and down the well-remembered path, and to your side
    again. And though you call a dozen living dogs to heel they should not growl at
    him, nor resent his coming, for he is yours and he belongs there.

    People may scoff at you, who see no lightest blade of grass
    bent by his footfall, who hear no whimper pitched too fine for mere audition,
    people who may never really have had a dog. Smile at them then, for you shall
    know something that is hidden from them, and which is well worth the knowing.

    The one best place to bury a good dog is in the heart of his
    master.

    by Ben Hur Lampman

  35. I don’t know if there is healing in the remembering, but I haven’t even finished a sentence and I already know that there are tears! I’ve had many pets that I loved a great deal, but Sage is fresh in my mind because the loss is recent. If we’re being technical, she wasn’t even my dog. Sage belonged to a friend – we lived together for almost four years and even after obtaining separate residences last summer, I still saw Sage often and she considered me part of her flock (she was half sheepdog, and very distressed whenever a few key people tried to leave, so ‘flock’ became the term). I loved her as much as I love my own dog, Kira (who I’m lately feeling very thankful to still have). Sage died unexpectedly, at the age of 8, just a few weeks ago. Probably of a stroke, according to the vet.

    Almost entirely black, mid-size (45 lbs), with long, shaggy fur, Sage was an odd dog–neurotic in many ways, but sweet, affectionate, and with a wide range of human-like emotions that I’ve never seen in another canine. I was home alone with her one day, and had to leave, so I told her to go to her kennel. She ignored me. I told her more firmly. She ignored me. I reached under the table to grab her collar. And she snarled. And snapped at my hand, scratching it enough to draw a bit of blood. Isn’t this heartwarming, so far?

    I didn’t know what to do — suddenly I was afraid of this sweet dog who had always loved me. Plus, I still had to leave, so I really needed her to go to her kennel. I thought I heard a car outside, and was hoping it was my friend, who could deal with Sage on her own. I checked outside, but it wasn’t, and I resigned myself to the battle. However, when I turned around Sage was voluntarily slinking, head down, ears drooped, tail between her legs, oh-so-guiltily, into her kennel. I left, and upon returning several hours later related the story to my friend, who was horrified.

    Most dogs don’t have much of a short-term memory, and I expected that Sage would have forgotten all about the incident. But she avoided me the rest of the day, frequently sending guilt-ridden glances in my direction from her hiding spot next to the couch. Eventually, apparently unable to stand it any longer, she sidled up to me. She sat down at my feet, leaned her whole side against my leg, and without angling her head up, slid her eyes to meet mine in a look that I swear was full of an apology sincere enough to put the best-ever verbal “I’m sorry” to shame. She felt SO bad. Sage spent the next couple of days being as gentle and sweet as she knew how, and was never the slightest bit aggressive towards me again.

    • Oh geez… I basically just wrote my very own ‘short story.’ Sorry to hijack your blog for my own personal use, Becky.

      • Hijacking my blog is what this weekend is all about. Thanks for sharing the story–I love the way she sidled up to you and apologized. So very sweet. And also so funny that you were considered part of her “flock.” Such an honor1 :-)