I’ve Never Felt Pain Like This Before….

On August 29th, 2012, at 8:30 am, my beloved dog passed away in my arms.

It was so sudden I didn’t want to believe it.

Still don’t.

I can’t remember when I’ve cried this much.

Continuously.

I love her.  Always will.  She is in my heart.  But I still yearn for here by my side.

I have not known pain like this before.

I have a small family.  Those who have passed away around me I was never close to.

Haven’t lost my mom or my dad yet.

She was my heart.  My first baby.  She was the one everyone wanted to take home.

I remember picking her out.  She ran from me, chasing after her sisters and her brother, and I grabbed her.

And didn’t let go.

Until that day.

But I haven’t let go.  Still clinging to her as if she were here.

But now it’s to her brother.  Who has just as much (if not more) of a broken heart as I do.

I told him I’d cry for him.  But I know he’s crying on the inside; I’m only crying on the out.

I tear up every time I think of her.  I try not to but it’s hard.  So much reminds me of her.

We took pictures the day before we took her to the vet.  We clung to the vet’s positive words (which weren’t many) but we hoped and we prayed and we prayed some more.

And I, at least, begged.

That morning I knew she wasn’t getting better.

I prayed over her to get better for ME.  Not for her.  But for ME.

Selfish, isn’t it?

She kept following me (like she always did) and I told her not to.  To rest and get better.

But God granted me the privilege of holding her as she left this world.  Of crying, “Please, God, no.  Don’t take her.”  Of showering her with my tears as her heart took its final beat.

But it was time.  I just didn’t want to admit it.

I love her.  Always will.

And I just wanted to share some pictures of her.

I wish I could share more.

Pictures of her and my kids.  Pictures of her and me.  On the day before she died.

But those are sacred.  Just between her and me and my family.

These are pictures of just her.

I love her.  Always will.

Her Favorite Spot
My Precious
Hunting Last Fall (This is One of My All-Time Favorite Photos)
Her and Her Brother Sleeping in the Camper
Her and Her Brother Hanging Out in the Backyard

Just Hanging Out

Hachiko Waits

“This is a horrible, horrible book,” my 7 year old daughter cries.  I try to laugh at her antics amidst my own tears.

Hachiko Waits by Leslea Newman is a fictionalized account of a true story that happened in Japan in the 1920’s.

Professor Ueno gets an Akita puppy named Hachi who goes with the professor to the train station every day and meets him again at 3 pm when the professor arrives home.  This goes on for about one year until one day the Professor never arrives on the 3 o’clock train.  Hachi waits and waits and waits.  He waits for 10 years until his death, always scanning the trains that come in for the Professor.

If you are any kind of animal lover, especially dogs, you are guaranteed to cry at this story.  The loyalty and devotion of a dog is never at its finest than right here.

I cried because I felt so sorry for the dog.  Hachi will never know his owner is not coming back.  Hachi cannot go on with his life because his life was the professor’s life.  When the professor’s life ended, so did his.

I have 2 old dogs whom I know will die sooner rather than later.  I am not looking forward to this and neither are my children.  I think it will be an important learning experience when it happens but it won’t make it any easier–losing a member of your family.

Here, Hachi didn’t know he had lost his family.  This is the ultimate tragedy I think.  We humans can move on because we understand.  Dogs don’t.

I often wonder if Hachi would have been okay if the professor had died at home or if he could have seen the professor’s body.  If Hachi would have understood and been able to move on and somehow intuit the meaning of death.

Death happens all the time in Nature and animals do go on.  I wonder how animals process death.  You see mother elephants who refuse to leave their dead baby’s body.  You see monkeys who carry their dead babies around in denial of the truth.

When my husband shot a buffalo (this was a paid hunt on a private ranch where the buffalo were going to either be sold to hunters or sold to the slaughter-houses because the ranch owner had lost his lease), he described how all the other buffalos tried to nudge him to get up.

It seems animals mourn like we do.  But Hachi could not mourn.  He didn’t know.  He sat faithfully every day expecting his master to step off the train like he had done countless times in the past.

Hachi is revered by the people of Japan for his loyalty, devotion, and faithfulness.  All the school children are taught his story and there is a statue that stands in the spot Hachi waited in the Shibuya Station.  It has become a popular spot for marriage proposals as couples confess their undying devotion to one another–just like Hachi’s.

Every year a memorial service is held to honor this special dog.

I think this paragraph from the book says it all:

“I have come to believe there is a special train to bring those who have obtained Enlightenment up to Heaven.  Every day for the past ten years, Professor Ueno has met this special train to see if his beloved Akita-ken is on it.  Day after day after day he has waited up in Heaven, just as Hachiko has waited here on earth.  And today, when the special train reaches Heaven and opens its doors, Hachiko will be the first one to step out.  Just think how happy he will be to see his master again.” P.73

I believe with all my heart dogs do go to Heaven.  I believe I will be with my dogs again when they pass and they will be with me.  I believe they will be waiting for me and will greet me just as vigorously as they do here on earth.

Dogs are the epitome of unconditional love.  No matter what happens they will love you because you are theirs and they are yours.  Dogs and other pets are a gift from God because He knows they can give us things we cannot get elsewhere.  Dogs give humans so many things and ask for so little in return.

Dogs, especially Hachi, are special indeed.

Below is a picture of Hachi as I envision him waiting:

Hachiko

A Dog’s Life

As I sit here typing this, my male Mastiff is lying by my side (he’s really in my way but he’s too cute to make him move).

There are many days I want a dog’s life.  How rough can it be when your food and water appear magically every day (free room and board), you can sleep wherever you want whenever you want, you lie around in the sun and throw out a few barks here and there, and you have no worries?  You lead a great life, loved by the family, and petted every now and then.

You really don’t have to do anything.  Looking cute helps and being adorable.  Barking when the doorbell rings helps to alert your owners.  Wagging your tail when your owners return home.  Occasional lick here and there to show appreciation.

Then it’s back to bed until dinner time.

Quite an easy day, wouldn’t you agree?

The Greatness of Dogs

I can always tell couples who don’t have kids by examining how they treat their dogs.  If you don’t have kids, your dogs are your babies.  I know because I used to be one of these people.  Once kids come along, however, dogs disappear into the background.  No more long walks or endless games of fetch.  You just don’t have the time anymore.

For quite a while, my poor dogs got ignored–extensively.  My first two kids are only 16 months apart so I had no time there for a while.  Yet the great thing about dogs is they are loyal to the end and take what they can get.  My dogs still loved me every bit as much as they did before kids.  Yeah, their lives weren’t quite as exciting as before but they didn’t care.  As long as they had their owners, they were content with life.

Then I read “Marley and Me” by John Grogan a few years ago, which really awakened me back up to the importance of dogs in my life.

Yeah, they are old and just one more thing to do on top of the endless chores of taking care of babies.  But I love them–love them to the day they die and beyond–and so do my kids.  If you even mention how our dogs are close to death, my oldest gets upset.  She defends her dogs to the bitter end and since she has never known life without them, she wants nothing else.

I am definitely not looking forward to the day we all have to say good-bye.  I think the whole family will be down in the dumps for quite a while.  But it will be a good life lesson–for all of us.  How you should cherish the days of your life before one day you are gone.  How you can live in the moment, content with whatever you have and whatever you are given.  “Creatures of Being” as Eckhart Tolle calls them.

I firmly believe all dogs do go to heaven and I tell my kids that.  They may be gone for now but they will be in heaven waiting for us just as loyal as they were on Earth.  I’m sure we’ll get a huge tail wagging and licking when we arrive.  Maybe even we’ll be able to talk to them too and they can tell us what they really think (scary, huh?).

So this is for all the loyal dogs out there who can’t imagine life without their owners and their owners who can’t imagine life without their dogs.

Dwelling On Death

Lately, I’ve been thinking about death a lot lately.  What if my husband died what would I do?  What if one of my dogs died?  What about my grandparents?  This could be attributed to my very somber mood as of late or the fact I just finished reading Lamentations in the Bible which describes the death and destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC by the Babylonians but as I was laying in bed this morning, thinking of death and checking to make sure my dogs were breathing, my writing surfaced again in my mind.  What if my novels are dead?

This I believe is what is driving my thoughts on death–the fact that my writings/novels may be dead and I’m just not prepared to deal with this or let them go.  A book by nature is a living document for every time it is read it comes alive in the mind of the reader or listener.  I want my novels to come alive repeatedly–not die a horrible death on my computer never being read.

Death is something we don’t have control over.  When your time is up, you are called.  Maybe this is what God is trying to teach me about my novels.  I want to have control over their life and death but I can’t really force a publisher to publish it, now can I?  I thought I’ve handed my novels over to God’s will but maybe I haven’t.  Recently, I have let the fact that my career is going no where get to me and maybe I shouldn’t have.  After all, if it was meant to be (it being my novels published or me have a writing career), it will be.  It has been predetermined and all I have to do is act on it.  God already knows.  I just wish I did.  It would definitely make the rejections a lot easier to handle knowing someone else will believe in me.

I Wish Dogs (and God) Could Speak

I’ m up early with the goal of finishing The Whiskey Rebels since I’ve finished my final edit on my book when I’m bothered by my male mastiff.  I just took him out and I couldn’t tell what he wanted so I shooed him off.  He kept doing this and I thought he just wanted to go sniff around outside.  He was acting absurdly weird the other day and we went out 10 times.  So I ignored him and he pooped in the middle of my floor.  Poor puppy!  Next time, I’ll know.

During this time, I was petting him, wishing he’d speak and tell me, “Hey, Mom!  I gotta poop!”  Then, it would have been easy.  I would have known what he had wanted from me and what he was trying to say.

So I wish God (whom I know does speak and very similarly to my dog–in cues and such) would speak as well.  I just finished my editing book again and am facing querying again, which I am not looking forward to.  I just wish God would lead me to the right agent.  I keep praying this, over and over.  I’m just so frustrated right now with a lot of things with regards to getting my book published that I do want to quit (although I doubt I ever will).  Quitting is definitely easier.  Yet, I have worked so hard on this project, I have to try, even though I have no desire at times.

Ode To the Dogs in My Life

Isn’t it amazing how our pets always know what we are feeling?

My male English Mastiff just came up to me and wanted some pets (he doesn’t kiss though).  So, I petted him.  It’s like he knew that his Mommy was dealing with some things and wasn’t in the best of moods and needed some love.

The thing about my male mastiff is that no other family would take him.  He’s almost 200 pounds, scared of people (we think he was beaten as a puppy), and in his old age, not favorable to other dogs.  He slobs, drools, sheds like no tomorrow, and in general takes up a lot of space.  Yet, he’s loved in this house, especially by my kids.  He belongs here and even though I sometimes complain about how much trouble he is, no one wants him gone.

His undying devotion and love is proof that he is worth it.  I have no doubt he’d die to protect his family.  His love is unconditional, even when Mommy accidentally slammed the door on his tail.  He’s always there when you need him.

The same goes for my female mastiff.  She’s the lover in the family.  She kisses and likes other people.  But she’s old too and spends a lot of time on our bed.  Yet, when my son curls up with her at night, we can’t imagine our lives without her.  Despite the fact we now like in an apartment where I have to pick up their poops and have no dog door so I have to take them out myself, I do it willingly for all they do for me and my family.

Aren’t pets the greatest?