Visitors - Come on in and say hello!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Grief

I have several neighbors who love animals, and they have often seen me walking my dogs and have commented on them. My greyhound especially garnered much attention as they are relatively rare (being a misunderstood breed - people incorrectly think them to be hyper so discount them as potential pets).

Several of my neighbors have asked about him, where he is, and what happened. When I still had him, as I took him out to do his business one afternoon, one of my neighbors was just coming home from work and asked me if he injured himself? I explained he had bone cancer and nothing could be done. She was very sympathetic and spoke about what a nice dog he was.

Slowly, now, these same people are recognizing that Fire isn't around anymore. As I set out on our morning walk yesterday, one of my neighbors, not having realized that Fire had been sick, stopped and inquired as to where he was. I explained that I had to put him to sleep at the end of July; he had cancer. She offered her condolences, we had a short chat, and she had to head off to work.

This morning, as my German Shepherd and I set out for our walk, there was an envelope under the door - a sympathy card, from that very neighbor.

God knows the pain you feel...At the loss of your pet.

God has set aside in heaven a place without regret, with only cherished memories of loving moments with your special pet.

God be with you in your sorrow.


What a sweet card! I handle grief strangely, and yet, normally, because there is no real "normal" when it comes to grief. But I have, of late, been very tearful, have been missing my boy, looking to the kennel, looking for his pillow, picking up his favorite toys...and remembering him. My German Shepherd is back to using the kennel again, and the other day I reached inside to pet her, remembering the last time I petted Fire as he snoozed in the kennel. And I have a sense that even though my GSD likes being an only dog, she misses him, too.

I miss sitting on the couch with a good book, only to have Fire climb up and stretch out so that his head was on my lap, long legs hanging over the edge. I'll never forget the night a couple years ago when I came home from work in the midst of a terrible storm, thrilled to be home, and both dogs huddled against me. The Shepherd on my right, sitting up straight, leaning on my shoulder, and Fire, completely in my lap. This huge, 77-lb Greyhound not content to just have his head and front legs pinning me down, but needed his full weight against me. He was NOT interested in dinner, or going outside, or moving.

I remember how he had an uncanny ability to wake me from bad dreams. It seemed that every time I had a really terrible nightmare, he would wake me with his unearthly cries as he dreamed himself, or growled in his sleep, or just in general. Once I heard of a mystic stating that German Shepherd Dogs have the ability to see the devil, but more often than not, it was my Greyhound who terrified me when he stared into dark corners, growling, as I gasped into consciousness, fighting off my nightmares. I think it was the Greyhound who, when it came to the mystical realms, had the greater ability to detect evil.

I miss my greyhound. I miss his happy, klutzy, velcro-dog presence. I miss his big brown eyes, his languid stretches, his "handshakes." I miss his head in my lap as I sat reading or watching TV. I miss his twitching paws as he slept, dreaming of chasing rabbits and racing around the track. I miss his soft coat, his upright ears as he stared at the squirrels outside, poised to fly after them. I miss his tearing around in figure-eights a the end of the leash when he got the "zooms" and needed to expend some energy. I miss him standing at my right elbow, forcing his needle-nose underneath, forcing me to push the keyboard under the desk so he could place his head in my lap and sigh contentedly as I scratched behind his ears.

I miss sitting on the floor and hugging him as he stood in front of me, curling to show his pleasure and better accept my hug. I miss his own "greyhound hugs" where he would stand perpendicular to me and bend his head and neck into my chest, nose nearly to the ground so I could hug him close and stroke his sides and under his long neck. I miss him putting his head over my shoulder and bending around in another form of patented "Fire Hug".

I miss the click of his nails on the Pergot floors of my kitchen as he made his way to the water bowl.

I miss him, I still cry for him, and the best comfort I have is to know that God is with me in my grief and understands more than anyone else the canine friendship that has been lost.

5 comments:

:o) said...

He sounds like he was such a sweet dog, I miss him for you. I can't imagine how hard that would be. I can't bear to think of my two leaving me.

What a nice neighbor you have.

Adoro te Devote said...

He was a sweet dog. Thank God for the two you have and enjoy your little moments together. Pets are definitely a gift of our Merciful Father, a source of grace, and an icon of love.

If any of us were half as sweet as our pets...well, the world would be a better place. And if we would really learn from our pets...same thing.

She is a very sweet neighbor. God bless her!

Mary Margaret said...

You have a very kind and understanding neighbor. Indeed, may God bless her richly!

As I have posted before, I lost my dear old girl not long before you lost Fire. I still miss her, and my surviving dog misses her as well. My darling daughter is giving me a puppy who will be here in October!! A Keeshond--she heard me talk about how this was a breed I have always wanted, and set about finding one to give me. It will be fun to have a puppy of my own again--but I will always love my old girl, Fluffy. Yep, stupid name for a 50 lb shepherd/border/etc cross--but she came with that name when we got her from the Humane Society, and having young daughters at that time, they loved the name--at least I get to name the new one! I'm much older than you, Adoro, this will probably be my last baby dog.

BTW, good luck in your studies, and, hopefully your new JOB! Praying for the best for you (really enjoying reading the novel/story on the fiction blog. more, please, ASAP.)

Adoro te Devote said...

mary margaret ~ Keeshonds are great dogs. Very sweet creatures! AND Fluffy! :-)

I think sometimes kids name the pets and that's meaningful to them...thus important.

I changed the name of my GSD when I got her...could NOT live with the Humane Society name. But I didn't change the name for my Grey, because he responded to it, and nothing else really fit him.

Anyway...the fiction story...glad you like it! :-) I'll see what I can do. Maybe this weekend will see another chapter. Or so.

Melody said...

Adoro, thanks for sharing. Good memories are forever. My brother who just turned 50, still has a picture on his family room wall of himself as a preschooler with the greyhound who was his "best bud". (The hound is taller than the boy!). You'll never forget Fire either, and I do believe that nothing good is ever lost permanently.
BTW I am glad to hear about the job, and that you are continuing grad school!