Butt Nugget

Not Me...
 With having nine dogs that live in our house and three floors to clean, Elaine wants a vacuum cleaner on each floor.  To me, it is pretty simple to carry one to the needed location, but I do understand, not really.  Therefore, we have three vacuum cleaners to make her life more comfortable.  Last week one went out, and after years of dedicated service, it just quit working.  It was an excellent product but lived a life of misery and neglect.  It may have been because it was never emptied, and you can only get so much dirt and dog hair in it.  Several times, I was summoned to help because it "just wasn't working."  Kenny to the rescue and after taking the hose's apart and removing the underbelly of the beast, removing the circular tubes of hair clogging all the hoses, it seemed to work fine again.  "You know you have to empty the container, don't you?"  "Sure" was always her answer. 

Last week one vacuum cleaner finally bit the dust, so a hunt for a new vacuum cleaner was started.  One day I was summoned to the TV area where the best vacuum cleaner in the world was playing on an infomercial, and it did EVERYTHING.  If you act today, you also get a Floor Steam Cleaner.  "Do we really need this?" I ask, and the answer was, of course, "YES."  Several days later, it arrived.  It was beautiful, and what we always needed.  The heavens opened when we took it out of the box and a Shark Rotator, Powered Lift-Away, TruePet Vacuum appeared.  It gets no better than this!  

The day finally arrived, and the new beast was plugged in, and as I went outside to do some chores, the smile on Elaine's face was breathtaking as I walked outside, life was good.  Elaine soon walked out of the back door, "Can you come here? I think I have a problem!" Being in this spot before, I know this is either a really big or a tiny problem. OMG, what did you do!    Dear Mark Rosenzweig, Chief Executive Officer of Shark International.  I have a problem...

I went to the scene of the crime and where our decorative carpet was white, was now brown, and the smell was quite strong, to say the least.  "What happened, trying to keep a low voice!" I ask, "I didn't see it, and It came out of nowhere."  The scene appeared to be a scene of a crime with the amount of destruction that was thrust upon my eyes.  After further investigation into the massacre at the crime scene, "someone" had deposited a butt nugget, and it was run over by our brand new, just out of the box Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away, TruePet Vacuum cleaner and smeared the soft butt biscuit across the white carpet.  Rather than clean the rug, it appeared that it was painted with a roller filled with Rocky Road ice cream.  Now we all have faced an occasional "accident," but it rarely happens here, and I mean rarely, and to think it happened when Elaine took out her brand-new Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away, TruePet Vacuum cleaner that had never been used.

This is not a problem at all, just turn it over and wipe down the powerhead and voilĂ , good as new... Hey, it is new, brand new!  Once I turned the powerhead over, things went into the depths of hades, and I was standing with the devel.  "Houston, we have a problem, a big problem."  With fire in my eyes, smoke escaping from my ears and horns shooting out of my head, I turned to Elaine and said.  "Sweetheart could you NOT see that little brown mound on the carpet?" along with a big smile.  "I don't know, I was busy thinking about what else I can buy, any way you can fix it; I know you can; you're the man."

So out to the driveway, I went with our brand-new Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away, TruePet Vacuum cleaner and a scowl on my face.  First thing first, take it apart, I thought.  I got the cordless screwdriver and removed the moving parts, including the duel beater bar and the Robot Side Brushes, Soft Velvet Brushroll, Floor Nozzle hose, Foal, and Felt filter and every piece that had never been used until today.  The poop sausage was the perfect texture to stick to everything, including dog hair that was also entwined in the butt brownie on every moving part.  After working on it for an hour, I got the water hose out, and power washed the butt cookie as far away as I could push it with the sprayer, but not before releasing the chocolate hostage out of the small crevice areas.  It couldn't be worse, and I had to use my fingers.

After cleaning it up as best as I could, I placed all the unassembled parts in the sun to dry, hoping the electrical components will work again.  After they were thoroughly dried, I reassembled the Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away, TruePet Vacuum cleaner back together, and broke out in a sweat when I turned it on.   Miracles upon miracles it did turn on, and as I started across the floor, Elaine, in her cute ways, said, "want me to finish up?"  "no, that's ok, I got it, but thanks."   I wonder if it was planned?  Ken

This is a true story, every word is accurate...


That Day... The 3rd Day...

Rest in Peace my beloved, until we meet again
I didn’t want a dog, but when we had young kids I felt they needed one because I thought it was the thing to do.  Patches, our first family dog was a black and white cocker spaniel, but she was the kids’ dog or so I thought.   I was divorced and when my son went to visit his mother every other weekend, Patches kept me company. 

 I am left empty and brokenhearted.   Owner   

Many times, when my son left on Friday evening, Patches and I sat on the couch and shared a bottle of White Zinfandel and watched the fire, Patches rested her head in my lap while I was feeling sorry for myself.  Several years later, Elaine and I got married and Patches was part of the deal.  Patches had a habit of getting into the garbage and Elaine called me at work and said, “you need to get rid of the dog, I’m tired of cleaning up her mess!” 

We wake up every morning with tears in our eyes as we think of our little girl, Trouble, taken from us far too early.  We struggle to put one foot in front of the next and hope that someday soon another Border Collie who needs us will cross our path, so that at least a small part of the wide hold in our heart may be filled.  Owner

Later that day, I was talking to a friend and told her the story about Patches and what was said, and her response was “you know, you can always get another wife,” and meant it and I kind of agreed.  When I got home, Elaine and I talked things out and it was settled, Patches stayed and so did Elaine.  Over the years, Elaine and Patches grew closer and closer and Patches became her dog.   Cocker Spaniels have chronic ear problems because their ears are so long, and it is common for them to have yeast problems and Patches did.  Elaine and I both worked at a Veterinarian office and we would take Patches into the Vet frequently to get her ears treated but after time, she became immune to the antibiotics and her health rapidly became worse.  We took Patches to work one day for treatment and she did not come home.  During lunch, when the office was closed, she was put to sleep.

It was one of the worst days of my life. Hard to condense it, but losing Freckles tore a piece of my heart out knowing I had to watch her take her last breath.  Owner

One of my biggest life regrets happened that day, as lunch approached and we knew what was going to happen, Patches was with us and we loved on her very much.  She was brought to the examining room and the Doctor walked in.  Elaine and I were next to her and the Vet ask if we were ready.  I couldn’t do it, I had to leave.  I broke down as I walked out and told her to rub her head as she passed.  In my 5 years working for the Vet, I have assisted many dogs in their final moments and seen the reactions of the owners but this day, I couldn’t do it.  After it was over, Elaine came out of the exam room and said she went peacefully.  I went in and stroked her head and cried over her body like a child.  To this day, I will never do that again, I will be with them to the end.

They say dogs are a man’s best friend and it couldn’t be more true. When we lost our Rocky this year my husband was devastated, he felt he had truly lost his best friend.  Owner

Several years ago, I posted “I asked a dog to pull aside the shroud of secrecy and be interviewed,” which was questions I ask of a dog.  #10 and the most important statement from a dog’s point of view was written because of my grief with Patches;

#10 Please go with me on “that” difficult journey. Never say: “I can’t watch, it’s too painful.” Everything is easier for me when you are with me, even death, this is when I will need you the most…and then I know you love me as much as I love you. Your face will be the last thing I will ever see…

When you lose a dog member of the family it is all the little reminders that are the hardest: A bone you find that they had hidden for later, a ball in the yard that  you have no reason to throw anymore, passing bulk chicken on sale in the store and remembering, you don’t have to buy it any longer to cook the weekly supply of dog food, realizing your dryer lint trap isn’t full of dog hair anymore, getting up in the morning and not carrying him down the stairs, not opening the door to a happy greeting when you walk in after a hard day. You miss: unconditional love, unconditional forgiveness, faithfulness, companionship, your cuddle buddy, the one that licked away your tears... right now you really need that last part.  Owner

Patches was wrapped in a new blanket along with a St Frances of Assisi medal around her neck.  She was brushes out and groomed and place in a comfortable position and then placed in a large freezer and frozen.  What most don’t know, if a dog is left at the Vet after euthanizing, they are frozen and wait to be picked up and cremated.  Knowing we were going to bury her on our property, we had to store her. We had recently purchased our property in Brown County Indiana for our future home and several days after she passed, we picked her wrapped body up and she rode on the front seat with us in her blanket and was buried at Dogwood Ridge.  Patches was the first resident at our farm until we built our house, now Patches is surrounded by our pets…

Wish I could express the gutted, heartbroken, empty, helpless, life-altering feelings I’ve experienced in one sentence when I’ve lost my beloved babes.  I can’t begin to describe the depth of despair I’ve felt, and unfortunately, I will be facing those same feelings again soon.  It still hurts, even years after they’ve passed.  I know you understand this feeling as we have very special bonds with our little ones.  Sorry I can’t be of help, Buddy.   P.S.  I still have sweaters of those who have passed.  When I’m really missing them terribly, I pull out their sweaters (which I never washed) and curl up with them in bed.  I can still smell them, and I go to sleep, dreaming they’re still curled up at my side.  Owner

I know I was hurting more than I ever had for a long time with patches and I felt shame for not staying with her, I felt like a coward and just a downright creep because I let her down.  A thousand questions went through my brain long after she crossed.  Did we do enough, should we have tried harder and could we take her somewhere else?  How much do you do and who were we keeping her alive for, us or her?  In a survey several years ago, the question was asked to people who had to put a dog down several months earlier and 95% of the people said they waited too long, we never want to give up.

I lost my best friend in December. She was by my side through the ups and downs of life for 12 years. There remains a hole in my heart that I don’t think will ever be filled. I miss her beyond description.  Owner

When Clancy died, it was in front of Elaine and me,  one second, he was jumping off the diving board into the lake the next second, he was dead.  I was 20 feet from him but knew before I reached him, he was gone.  I went into my safeguarding mode, knowing I had a job to do and did it, and then I fell apart and to this day I still do, and Elaine has never seen me this way, I am ashamed.  Because I feel weak.

I can’t remember a time when you weren't with me...had my baby 17 years.  Owner

Grief over your dog is very real and can cause long term issues. 

When I lost my girl, I forever lost a part of me.  That would be about me losing Mooby.  Owner

Joanie Simpson, a 61-year-old animal-lover, entered an emergency room in 2016 complaining of severe chest pain. She was airlifted to a hospital in Houston, Texas at Memorial Hermann Heart and Vascular Institute-Texas Medical Center where hospital staff was notified to be prepared to treat the onset of a heart attack, she was exhibiting classic signs of a heart attack. 
Simpson was later diagnosed with Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy, or “broken heart syndrome,” an incredible condition wherein a person’s heart physically feels like it’s having a heart attack due to emotional turmoil. The condition, which has no other physical symptoms aside from the pain itself, can be fatal.  The New England Journal of Medicine October 19. 2017 

When Katie died 2 weeks ago, I felt like I hadn't done enough to save her. I know she had an aggressive cancer, and I couldn't stop it from taking her life, but if I'd known earlier, if I'd found the cancer protocol earlier, if, if, if...…. Owner

A dog owner’s worst fear is losing your pet that has been part of your life and when you see that gray hair or they slow down, it’s usually on your mind.   For those who have experienced this loss, it’s hard to describe and some people will never understand. From one pet owner to another, we understand this intense pain and emptiness that occurs after they are gone.

I feel broken when one of my pets pass.... they are the best part of me...part of my soul... Owner

 Several days after I lost Clancy, I was ashamed to admit that I cried over him more than I did with both of my parents and I have heard many other people same this same thing, I thought there was something wrong with me.  There is no appropriate way to grieve and work through this process, as everyone walks down a different journey when they are gone.  For me, I like to write about their life because I can appreciate them and see them again in my words but there is always the end of the story and it’s painful.  

The biggest thing getting me through the recent passing of my Sydney is something you said/posted somewhere. That dogs come into your lives when you need them and leave when you are ready. I would’ve never been ready but when you look at my life thru that lens it’s pretty accurate. Owner

Losing a dog is every pet parent’s nightmare. We all understand on the day we bring a new dog home that someday in the near future, we’ll also be saying goodbye, dog's lives really aren’t that long. Yet we still give them our entire hearts.  But if you are true to the love of the companion you cherished through the many joy-filled years, you may find that a soul--a bit smaller in size than your own---seems to walk with you, at times, during the lonely days to come. And at moments when you least expect anything out of the ordinary to happen, you may feel something brush against your leg--very very lightly. And looking down at the place where your dear, perhaps dearest, a friend used to lay---you will remember those three significant days.

A pet has a way filling in little holes in your life where you never thought there was one. When one dies, all of those holes become memories. Sometimes the smallest thing will bring one to the surface. Sometimes you smile or laugh, sometimes you cry. You always find a way to keep going. Owner

“The memory will most likely be painful and leave an ache in your heart. As time passes the ache will come and go as it has a life of its own. You will both reject it and embrace it, and it may confuse you. If you reject it, it will depress you. If you embrace it, it will deepen you. Either way, it will still be an ache. But there will be, I assure you, a fourth day when---along with the memory of your companion---and piercing through the heaviness in your heart---there will come a realization that belongs only to you. It will be as unique and strong as our relationship with each animal we have loved and lost.”   Martin Scot Kosins

My life has never been the same since I lost my baby girl Zoe. There is a hole in my heart that will never be filled. I cry often. I feel her presence sometimes. Zoe was my child and I will never get over it. All my babies are part of the family. I keep hoping that it will get easier. But I don't think so.  Owner

And on this third day—when that time comes you will be faced with making a decision of your own--on behalf of your lifelong friend, and with the guidance of your own deepest Spirit. But whichever way your friend eventually leaves you-you will feel as alone as a single star in the dark night. If you are wise, you will let the tears flow as freely and as often as they must. And if you are typical, you will find that not many in your circle of family or friends will be able to understand your grief or be able to comfort you, this will be the hardest day of your life

I don’t know if I can handle this pain. Owner

But if you are true to the love of the dog you cherished you may find that a soul seems to walk with you, during the lonely days to come. And at moments when you least expect anything out of the ordinary to happen, you may feel a nudge or a lick from a dog and not understand why.  It may be something you may not be able to comprehend or understand.   Be patient with this dog and take the love and kindness that comes from them, but look into those eyes and see their soul, they may pierce your heart as they did with us before.  As much as our dogs love us, if they can visit even if it is for a short time, they will.

You put away the lead, the collar, and the bowls.  There's a cold spot on the couch that used to be warm.  No more fur on the floor, or licks on your toes
Their body has failed them, so you let them go.  Owner

Which all that’s in this letter and Blog, I don’t know if I even said what I wanted or needed to say.  I wanted this to be your story because we each have a different story and ending.  Each of us feels different but in the same way.  I am grateful that we could share out thoughts and hurts and if anything, we know we're not crazy.  I am forced to keep Clancy in the forefront because of our foundation in his honor and need to speak of him often because I have to.  Every time I do, my voice breaks and once, I was at a conference speaking about Clancy's Dream and I broke down and wept through most of it.  I was embarrassed but proud that I knew him and he shared his life with me and I later learned it was televised globally at least they knew I loved my boy. 

While I was devastated, they also knew I was passionate about Clancy's Dream and what we are doing.   Through the tears and grief that I have had that we would never see Clancy again,  I tell you, we see him every day through the dogs Clancy sends our way that we can save and love and start "his" circle of life again... 

The pain is unbearable at times and I visit the graves of Clancy, Molly, Abbie, and Nellie often along with our friend's dogs.  I always speak to them and in my mind's eye, I can smell them, see them, touch them when I say their name I can't breathe.  At least a thousand times as I write my Blogs over the years, I break down and weep into my hands.  Reading the story about the day he died takes me right back to that very second.  I can touch him and smell him again and as odd as it sounds I am proud to have carried his body the 500 feet to a blanket Elaine had prepared for him.  These memories also hold true for the very second Molly, as she laid in my lap while I sat on the ground and the Doctor did the deed.  We were sitting on Clancy's grave when she passed as I held her tight.  Abbie was in such pain and at that very moment she left me, I cradled her face into mine.  As her last breath exhaled from her lungs, I took it into mine.  Because we buried them here at the farm, lowering them into the ground and saying goodbye is the hardest thing I will ever do and will never forget these moments, never...

When Elaine and I traveled to Assisted Living Communities and Nursing Homes and saw residents, we took Clancy and Dutchess with us.  The people loved the dogs and you could tell who the dog lovers were because they would hold their hand out for them to lick.  They would hug and love on them and really enjoyed seeing a dog once again.  One day, we were wrapping up and an elderly lady stayed behind and as she was sitting, Clancy went up to her and put his head in her lap.  She scratched his ears and tears were falling from her eyes.  Clancy licked her hands and she leaned over and kissed his head.  
I walked up to her and sat down and ask if she was OK.  She smiled and said she was happy but also sad.  She has had Border Collies all of her life and she missed them so much.  She and her husband who has passed always had two of them on their farm as long as they lived there.  She described each one of them and told me all about them.  She remembers each detail and personality of each dog and we talked for nearly an hour.  Clancy never left her side and she rubbed his head the entire time. 
We finished and I got up, she gave him one last hug and ask “what is this dog’s name?”  “Clancy,” I said, and she said he looks just like her Clancy.  I walked back to her and we hugged and we both cried.  “Thank you for bringing "my" Clancy to see me again.” There was a bond there I will never be able to explain.  I only hope if I am sitting in a Nursing or Assisted Living home, I will see my Clancy again before I leave this earth.  Every dog has a purpose...

I can't tell you what to do or how to fix the pain but there is a purpose to their life.  I found Clancy's and use my other dogs to teach and learn about love.  I would suggest honoring and remember them with deeds.  Every dog we save through Clancy's Dream, I thank Clancy for leading us and when I look into the eyes of the dogs that we take in to save, I know I am looking into Clancy's soul.  You too can find your dog the same way, you need to think and listen to your heart, I promise, it's there.  Make their life more than death.

But there will be, I assure you, a fourth day when —
along with the memory of your pet —
and piercing through the heaviness in your heart —
there will come a realization that belongs only to you.
It will be as unique and strong
as our relationship with each animal, we have loved and lost.
This realization takes the form of a Living Love —
Like the heavenly scent of a rose
that remains after the petals have wilted,
this Love will remain and grow—
and be there for us to remember.
It is a love we have earned.
It is the legacy our pets leave us when they go —
And it is a gift we may keep with us as long as we live.
It is a Love which is ours alone —
And until we ourselves leave,
to join our Beloved Pets —
It is a Love that we will always possess.

Several, weeks ago, I ask my readers to share some of their stories.  While I can never get them all in, they literally took my breath...

It’s interesting the idea about death and a dog and a book. I’ve been slowly working on some someday children’s books. Ones where my dogs each relate to a disability that other children have. And I also have been working on a kid’s story about how Flower lost Lucky and then she and Stiffler lost Skeeter as well. For me losing Lucky was almost as bad as losing my mom. It was like losing her all over again. Lucky came to me from my mom when she was dying. And he became my link to her. We did everything together. Lucky the one-eyed wonder mutt. He helped me so much during those days of loss and then when I started to feel whole again, he passed away. I will always be thankful for lucky. I still dream about him. But I know he is back with mama where he belongs.

When my sweet Border Collie Skye died 2 years ago to cancer! I felt like my heart shattered into millions of sharp, jagged shards, that pierced me to the depths of my soul, every time I thought of my Skye not being here with me! No amount of glue will ever mend the broken pieces. As time goes on, my heart slowly gets put back together, but I will always see and feel the cracks! Love u 4ever my Skye!!!

I lost a Sheltie about 13yrs ago to a cancerous tumor in her abdomen. The vet thought she had swallowed a rag after seeing the x-ray. When they went in they found the tumor. I chose to not let her come out of anesthesia. It broke my heart I felt like I died right along with her. I felt totally empty inside.  The operation would have probably killed her.

My only child, my son, died unexpectedly May 19, 2010. In July 2010 I was to start a 6-month long program for professional dog trainers. I wasn't sure if I should have gone it being so soon after my son died. Initially, it looked like I was going to be ok, but I was clearly in shock because two months into school my grieving began. The pain was visceral. I had many days I just couldn't participate in school. One of the pups I had gotten to train was a little tri-colored red head border collie I named Rio. Rio was so easy to train. Not only did he do everything I asked him to do but he did it fast. Rio came from a breeder in New Mexico. He flew all the way from Albuquerque New Mexico to St Louis Missouri. His flight was delayed by 4 hours. He had been on an airplane for a long time and when they brought him in, he was pissed. Barking his head off. He wanted out of that crate. It was dark by now and I just took him to a grassy area and we just spent time together. That was the day of my son's birthday. Looking at this perfect puppy I knew right then that God took my son away and replaced him with a border collie. I was in love. Rio was such a happy, playful, loving, eager to please dog that my pain started to subside as I trained and got to know this beautiful little redhead. Rio made my life make sense again. Rio was so eager to please. He would do everything I asked him to do and he would do it fast. He was my little trickster. Every night in my room Rio was by my side. Every day we were together training. My pain started to go away as I grew to love this pup. I've had many dogs in my life and I loved them all but there was just something special about Rio that I couldn't explain. You would have thought I gave birth to that dog I loved him so much. If it could have been just Rio and me for the rest of my life would have been complete. My dad passed away in August of 2016. Of course, this was a very sad time for me but for 6 months before he died, we knew my dad was dying. We were able to prepare and had our time to say goodbye. Four months later Rio died. I was sad when my dad died but I grieved the loss of Rio. It's like I lost my son all over again. My family couldn't help me because they didn't understand how I could grieve the loss of a dog especially given our dad had just died. I was all alone in my sorrow. Before I had Rio cremated, I cut off a lot of his fur and I keep it in a ziplock bag. Every once in a while, I just put my hand in that bag, and I can feel Rio again. I mourned the loss of Rio for 2 years. The sadness never let up. I needed my Rio back. I was totally lost. For 2 years I literally sat on my sofa and cried. I have pictures of him everywhere. I have one on my nightstand and have it facing me, so it looks like he's looking right at me. I tell him "I love you" every night. I found a support group for people who have lost a pet at our university veterinarian college. It was helpful I can't say it wasn’t, but it didn't take all the pain away. I mourn the loss of Rio to this day. I recently rescued a little mutt from my local animal shelter. It's a difficult adjustment because I don't love this little guy like I loved Rio. But this little guy, Truman, had a really hard start in life. He was dumped on the streets to live during subzero temperatures. It makes me happy to give Truman such a good life because he deserves it and it makes him very, very happy. I would love another border collie. Rio made me fall in love with the breed, but I have to prepare myself. Another border collie won't be Rio. Until I know I won't be trying to get Rio back and will be opening up to a new border collie I can't get another border collie just yet. I still want my Rio back but I'm gradually coming to accept I will never love another dog like I loved Rio but that doesn't mean I can't love another dog. I just really want it to be a border collie. I think border collies are absolutely the most perfect dog. I love you, Rio.

Within a couple hours of Mooby first getting sick, in my heart I knew we were losing her. I wanted to believe the vet. But there is a smell that is unmistakable. I didn't say anything to my family, but somehow, I knew.

My personal phone rang at work at 7:55am. My personal phone never rings at work. My wife was concerned because Mooby did not come out from under the bed like she usually does. My heart sank, my chest felt empty and my stomach fluttered.  I quietly told my wife "we're losing her, dear." My wife said, "no, she's just sick I need help getting her out from under the bed to go to the vet." The call ended.  I shut off my computer, set my work phone to being away from the desk, grabbed my keys and left the office.

I had just shut my car door and started my car when my phone rang again. My wife was hysterical, completely unintelligible. Mooby was gone almost immediately after my wife got to her. She said Mooby looked at her, cried a couple of times, and then she was gone.

I arrived home to my wife and daughter inconsolably crying downstairs. Gizmo was curled up in a corner, his nose to the wall.  I took a moment at the bottom of the stairs before going up to our room.  She was laying on her side, half curled up. Eyes open, lips curled up. My baby did not go easily, and my pup in no way looked peaceful. She died in quiet agony, and all of her spirit, all of her soul went into hanging on just long enough to wait for her mom.  I sat with her for a while in silence, closed her eyes, got a washcloth and cleaned her up.

Mooby died a few days after her sixth birthday, in her safe spot, with her absolute favorite toys in her best hiding spot.  A part of me died with her because I know I let her down. I know I should have pushed the emergency vet into more tests. Her chances of survival, even at that point were very narrow. But I should have tried. Perhaps if nothing else to ease her passing then and there.

The days and weeks following, I hardly spoke. I hid in the bathroom, or out in the garage, crying, raging, begging for it to have been a bad dream and any second, now she'd come flying in the room, tail up, ears spiked, eyes shining. I still fight back tears looking at her picture, my burn, a lump in my throat.   Just the other night, beside my bed I looked down in the middle of the night and for a few moments in that place somewhere between sleep and awake thought a pair of khakis, my black boots and parts of a t-shirt sticking out from under the boots were her, lying next to the bed.

I've lost pups before, and have had many a great dog in my life, but none will ever be Mooby and I honestly believe that no other passing, has or will hurt me the way hers did. It was beyond emotional and hurt physically and there's a million more bridges to cross of the little "Mooby" things she did that will break my heart all over again in my time left on Earth.

I always felt like I gave my dogs the best that life could offer. I didn't skimp on food, vet care, exercise, love---they had it all. But when they got sick, just months apart, I began to question everything I had done & I felt, still feel, incredible guilt for not protecting them enough to keep the cancers away. It has to me & affects how I care for Ennis & Madigan.

"It felt as if he had gone and taken all the oxygen with him and left me to learn to survive without it." I felt that when my Hutch died. I knew when his heart stopped. I told the vet that he was gone. It felt as if a hornet or ground wasp had hit me square in the heart. A bond that held us tight together had snapped. It was a physical pain. I sat and sobbed on the exam room floor as I never had even as a child. He was the being that I was closest to in my entire life. I still have that empty place in my heart.

I got my first dog, a border collie, in 2012. I am 58. When I was growing up, my mother never allowed us to have a dog or animals in the house. She finally relented a few years after my father passed away and we got a small poodle. It was really a family dog and I moved out before the cute pup passed away.

I did have some cats that passed away and even that almost too much for me. The last one, carrying her little box out to be buried, I could hardly breathe, hot tears streaming down my face, I thought I was going to pass out.

Anyway, I still have my border collie, Domino, with me and he is 7 1/2 years old. It may sound a little strange, but I love that dog more than anything. We have such a strong bond and the thought of him passing away terrifies me. I don't know if I can even go on with life without him. I cannot bear the thought and the pain would be just much.

So you see, I just wanted to let you know, that I appreciate so much that you are looking for other's experience in pain and loss. I know it will help me to learn how other's cope.

I saw you on the day you were born. A beautiful soul has entered my life. Two days after My Bonnie left me after a 16-month battle with Lymphoma,
Ginger was there to put my heart back together. My brother’s Maggie had a litter. I knew nothing about Border Collies, but I hit the jackpot.  Endless games of fetch and wonderful days of training were in store. Ginger had all the best qualities you could ever ask for in a dog and not a bad habit ever. She was free in the house before she was one and was house trained in less than a week.  

The day Ginger left the earth, part of me left with her. There were times I thought I might have to be committed, that's how much it hurt. I would walk in the door and my life was no more.
Ginger was my pride and joy. She was an angel from day one. Her temperament was amazing but her health.... that was a challenge.  We saw a specialist to correct her bite. I never knew to check for that. Luckily after removing two baby teeth, her adult teeth came in and didn't create more problems.  Puppy kindergarten, Manners One, Manners 2, CGC prep class, Pre Agility, Tricks, Agility... all were the best days! How smart she is. Talking to Ginger is like speaking to a human, but much better!
New Years Day 2010... as I sat exactly where I am seated right now, Ginger within eyesight from the desk chair. I witnessed the most horrific thing I've ever seen. My Ginger began to convulse and shake and twitch. Little did I know I would witness this over and over and over until I was almost insane.  Many nights in the hospital, Ginger was my miracle dog. God granted her this life to teach me about faith.  She had a seizure in every room of my house before we finally got the right combination of medicine to gain control of this wretched disease. I was terrified to leave her alone. Epilepsy is relentless.

Somehow, I was always there for her. I could anticipate a seizure and kept her safe countless times. When we added Potassium Bromide the Grand Mal seizures
finally stopped.  (2011)   God knew I couldn't take much more.  So a focal seizure once in a while was nothing compared to what we had endured. 

Sure, they were still frightening, but I was always one step ahead of her and caught her every time before she fell down the stairs, ran into a wall, or crashed into the furniture. My life changed and I made sure she got her medication on time. I never left her for more than 4 hours and certainly never left her at night. I had every hour of every day revolves around when Ginger was spunky and ready to PLAY BALL. My life was hers. I beamed with pride as we set out every day on our countless walks through the neighborhood. Ginger, never on a leash, under my total voice control. People would comment, " That's the best-trained dog I've ever seen". My heart would soar with joy.   I never regretted a single sacrifice. We had a wonderful life. I knew deep down she would not live as long as most Border Collies.
Ginger had so many friends. She loved everyone and had not a single mean bone in her body. She was pure love.

Four months before she died, a feeling came over me. I knew she was going to leave me. I kept telling my friend.  I could see her aging before my eyes and could detect the slightest hind end weakness. A blood test to check her medication levels revealed she was in the therapeutic range. 
The Christmas of 2016, Ginger was so lively and fun. It was as if she was giving me one last Holiday to savor forever.  New Year's Day 2017 I snapped a photo of my best girl and I saw the gray and old age in my perfect puppy.

The week leading up to her death was like a slow-motion nightmare, yet I remained calm and serene.  Taking her back and forth to the vet and then to specialists, and neurologist. Ginger had a bloody nose and the next morning she could not walk.
Originally it was thought to be Lyme but the next morning there was no improvement. She progressively became worse.  I carried her and she slept next to me like she had her entire life.  After the Neuro confirmed likely a brain tumor I brought her home for one more night. Her friends came by to say so long. She feasted on Organic chicken tenders. I stayed by her side, never leaving.

That morning, Friday, January 13, 2017, I carried her one last time to my car. Alone with my Ginger, to the Vet, I drove.  I danced around the waiting room singing to her. The love of my life, how can you go.  "Get well, get well soon, I want you to get well" ( the song from an old Seinfeld episode. )    I give myself credit for actually being able to find humor in the most horrific day of my life.  ( I had lost my Dad, Brother, Mother and my Bonnie all before this)   The days, weeks, months and years after she left were worse. Lost and alone without any purpose.
Somehow the gift of empathy gets me through the day. To reach out and console others when they are suffering in pain, to let them know they are not alone... Losing my Ginger broke me in two, but made me more loving, more caring and maybe someday, Stronger.  She made me better. She was my love. Love never
dies. and Ginger lives forever in my perfectly broken heart. 

Katie was an Aussie mix. Blue Merle, my favorite to this day, even though all three of my current pups (BC, mini Aussie, and chihuahua) are all red Merles. She was with me through a divorce, being a single gal and remarriage. She taught my current husband, who never had a pet in his life, how much love a dog can give.
Katie made it damn near 16 years, which is something for a 50-pound dog. Her back legs were giving out and we were terrified we’d come home from work and find her in the floor with a broken leg or hip, and we wouldn’t know if it happened 5 minutes after we left or 5 minutes before we got home. My husband found her one day, laying the hall, in a puddle of pee. Unharmed, but she couldn’t get up. It was time.

We’d never had to put an animal down before. I had pets as a kid and, as a country kid, saw some come and go, but I never had to make that decision for another being. So it was hard. And that damn stubborn dog took two doses to go. She loved us and didn’t want to leave. Our vet cried. We cried more. 

I carried so much guilt around over that decision. Then, about a year or so after, I walked into the daycare where our newer pups go. There was a dog in there that looked so much like Katie, I instantly had a lump in my throat. Her parents were talking to the lady at the front desk, and kind of forgot for a moment they were there with a dog. They let go of the leash, and that dog walked over to me and leaned her body right into my legs. Now I’m starting to cry. The mom turns around and says, “What is she doing?”  I said, “she’s fine, she’s just keeping me company.”  The mom says, “That’s so strange - she is usually so standoffish with strangers.”  Now I know for a fact it’s my Katie, or this dog channeling my Katie, telling me to let go. She’s ok. She knows we tried to do the best thing for her.  I sat in my car and cried for 15 minutes. But it was like a weight off my shoulders. 

My boy, Slash, a tan and white Sheltie. He came into my life as a pup of about 4 months. He had a rough start. The people I got him from thought he was dumb because he wouldn't come to you so, they just gave him to me. The truth was, he had an infection in his ears and couldn't hear. He also had boils on his skin. After our first vet visit, it was touch and go for a few days but, he pulled through like a champ. In the beginning, when he ate, I had to be right there next to him so that he knew no one was going to sneak up on him and steal his food. He grew and thrived. Back then we were a busy house with our kids and neighbor kids in and out all of the time. He loved them all. He would play baseball with them, he was outfield. They would hit the ball and he would chase it and bring it to the kid at first base. He would fetch a ball, a toy, a stick, a Frisbee or anything all day long, back then. He always aimed to please. He was my shadow and would stick to me like glue wherever we went. He never required a leash. 

He would stop on a dime and come when I called every time. He learned every trick I taught him, usually within minutes.  In 1999, we had a house fire, thank goodness they got him out before he was overcome by the smoke. Our home was a total loss and we lost our hedgehog and Slash's new buddy, a kitten named Spot, but we all were ok and so was he. When my relationship broke down, he was there for me. He was my faithful friend. When my Mom passed he would lay with me while I cried into his soft fur until it was soaked. We did life together for many years. He was 16 years old when he passed. I cried all night. I refused to let anyone help me, as I dug his grave all the next day, I cried,  like balling, can't stop crying. The hurt was so deep in my heart and like a piece of me was gone. I cried for days. I couldn't even talk to people about him or I would cry. I wondered if I was alone in this feeling of loss that I felt over a dog. When people say it's just a dog, they are so wrong.  My heart was broken. I cried when I found his toys under the couch and in the yard. I cried and cried. Except for when my Mom passed I don't think I had ever cried so long, for so many days. It brings tears to my eyes now just thinking about him and how I miss him. And it has been nearly 12 years.  

My heart was so heavy for days, weeks, months. There was a quiet in the house that I couldn't bear. I saw him out of the corner of my eye, in his favorite spot for relaxing or laying at the edge of the garden while I was working. I heard him walking on the wood floor and nibbling at his kibble but he wasn't there. I swore I'd never get another dog, partly because I thought another couldn't live up to Slash but also because I didn't think I could handle another loss so deep.  But, when a stray wandered into our life, full of ticks, skinny as a rail and flea infested I had to help him. He has been a good pup for the last 10 years. His muzzle is starting to turn grey and I know the day is coming when I will have to say goodbye to him too. 

I have had many dogs in my life but none as special as my Slash...ever. I still dream of him and he is young and spunky. I like to think he is visiting me and letting me know he is waiting for me at the Rainbow Bridge. Slash was, and always will be my heart dog...

I wanted to share just a little about the death of our beloved Austin. It’s hard to put into words the devastation I felt upon Austin’s passing. It came on so sudden. He literally was the light of my life and my best friend. It’s been less than 2 years but the ache in my heart feels like it was yesterday. I read other comments about how people feel when they lose a pet. So many of the same feelings are conveyed. I think other than the sadness and longing to be with him the best words I can think of are, my life will never be the same. Nothing makes it better. Just absolutely nothing.

I still struggle with letting Princess cross over the rainbow bridge. I loved her so much. Although I knew then and know now that it was the right thing to do for her, I still struggle with saying “I had to put her down “. While I was listening to what Dr Dave was saying, somewhat, she licked my hand as I was stroking her face. I’ll never forget that. Her tongue was warm, she was letting me know that it was okay, she was ready. I wasn’t. I stayed with her until she took her last breath, and Dr. Dave said, She’s gone. But she’ll never really be gone. She lives in me every day we were in love, it may sound strange to some people, but I know you understand. And now I truly believe Jessee and I are in love. She’s my little shadow when I’m home she’s never far from me I love her so much. Thank you, she’s fantastic

For me...the loss of one of my pets is devastating. I don’t have kids and have a deep love for animals, especially my dogs. They each have their own personality and I’ve been lucky enough to have several with that special bond that I call my Heart Dog. When they are gone, a hurt comes over me that never goes away. I learn to deal with it but it is always there...I can’t even put it into words and the tears come easily, even after years.

Father’s Day 2016 was a day filled with celebration. Unfortinially it was a day filled with sorrow.  The best dog I have ever had the pleasure of loving would be making her journey to the beloved rainbow bridge in less than 24 hours. I informed everyone close to her she would be leaving us soon and visits were welcomed on
Father’s Day to say goodbyes. I wasn’t going to suffer this loss alone.  Death is not just an end. It can be a new beginning, perhaps a new also a day met with sorrow. The best purpose to fulfill. I didn’t suffer this loss dog I have ever had the pleasure of
We rescued Panda when she was eight weeks old when my two daughters were young. She was loved by all. She even talked to us! Now some twelve and a half years later, my daughters have married, and my husband and I are empty-nesters with lots of love to give our canines.

It’s true, dogs really do bless our home. The emotions and thoughts of loss and grief inundated my mind like a constant flood. A stream that didn’t want to stop. Tremendous pain comes with having to make the decision to end the life of a dog you love so much. She was my shadow, a
constant companion. We struggle with that end-of-life decision, but do we really have anything to feel guilty about? Are we just creating more heartache for ourselves?

Our Veterinarian had suspected a tumor on the spine with Panda losing control of her legs and falling. She was at an age where surgery was not an option, and I was not comfortable putting her through treatment such as chemotherapy even if it was a viable option. I researched all I could and decided acupuncture, chiropractic care, and the cold laser would be a good therapeutic alternative. After several treatments, she showed some improvement and I was convinced she did not have a tumor if she was getting better. Then like a lightning bolt out of nowhere, she declined rapidly. I always asked my husband, will we know when it’s time?

He always reassured me; honey she will let us know. Well, she did. She was in pain and ready. We had decided with our veterinarian to bring Panda in that Monday after Father’s Day at the end of the day. Her crossing to the rainbow bridge was peaceful. A week later I picked up her ashes in a wooden box.  This was my first experience with cremation. I couldn’t open the box. It took some time, but I had to look at her and feel her. My other two dogs lie next to me on the floor with her ashes in my hand and the lab she was so close to knew it was her, I believe.

Death is not just an end. It can be a new beginning, perhaps a new purpose to fulfill. I didn’t suffer this loss alone. Every day people all over the world encounter the loss of a beloved pet. Pain, grief, loss, emptiness, and loneliness are just a few emotions that come to mind after that loss. When we lose a pet, we lose unconditional love.  It’s just that simple. Panda never required anything of me but my love and attention, no strings attached. Our pets provide emotional support that is different than we encounter from humans. We open ourselves to our pets in a way we rarely do with humans. I believe they read our emotions, comfort us and are available to heal us when nothing else can.  
So, in thinking to myself, “You left and forgot to tell my heart how to go on without you”, I began reaching out to other pet owners on a Facebook group I belonged to that was for border collie lovers. My need for crafting is great as I use it for an emotional getaway. I had dabbled in jewelry making in the past but nothing serious. So, I began to research, read and begin making items to send to those who lost a border collie in the group. It is a large group with frequent dog loss. I couldn’t accommodate all that had lost a collie but submersed myself in associating with their grief. Before I knew it, my husband was helping me reach further with this passion and love I now have for making memorial jewelry. We both wanted to do something in Panda’s memory. It’s our way of continuing the unconditional love she taught us.