Archive for September, 2011

Still just going thru the motions

Back to work today which was good in a way, at least I was out of the house. Still, I had tears in my eyes most of the day talking about Rain. My co-workers signed a nice card for me which also made me cry. They are very supportive though and know how much Rain meant to us. My husband was home though and it was tough for him since he’s partially disabled and Rain was always so much company for him.

I also stopped at a parcel shop to send back the Thundershirt I had ordered for Rain. Typed up a nice, heartfelt, tear jerker of a letter to send back with it. I would’ve gladly passed it along to someone with a dog who hated thunder like Rain did, but alas, seems like I had the only baby when it came to loud noises.

So now all that’s left in the house to remind us of Rain at the moment are five of her favorite toys, the leash that I always walked her with hanging underneath the mailbox which is on the porch, and her collar which I got the night she went to sleep. Oh, I certainly have hundreds of pictures which I started compiling so I can put together a scrapbook this weekend.  Probably at the end of this week, beginning of next, I should be getting her ashes which will be extremely emotional for sure. But at least she’ll still be with us in some capacity.

Apparently the toys have stopped squeaking so I feel comfortable that Rain has finally gone forward. I know that she’s happily romping in the fields with other dogs and cats.

It was a little hard for me when I got home from work and walked up onto the porch. She would always hear me coming and be looking out the side window on the door. I teared up as I didn’t see her anxious face knowing that mommy was home. I also realized this morning that this is the first time since we moved to this house back in 1982 when we didn’t have a dog or cat(s), thus the reason for all the quiet.

Oh well, I guess it will get easier as days go by, but I know that I will never, ever forget her since she literally has crawled inside my heart forever.


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Still with a heavy heart

The picture is my husband Richard holding our precious Rain.  She was such a baby.


So here it is Monday afternoon and the tears, they still commeth. Maybe not as constantly as the first few days, but they do still fall. I took off work today and got together four bags of her belongings which I took to the local SPCA. I know that Rain would be happy and pleased to know that some other dogs at a shelter would have some enjoyment with her toys. I didn’t want to cry, but I did and they gave me a receipt and that receipt will go into Rain’s scrapbook which I will be putting together over the next week or so. I’ve already amassed nearly 250 pictures. I just had this smile etched on my face with tears trickling down my cheeks as I looked at pictures from when she was a puppy in 2003 and then all the way through 2009. Sadly, I don’t seem to have any recent pictures of her. Probably because my husband became so ill last March, 2010 that pictures were the last thing from my mind. If I would’ve only known then I could’ve taken another 250 pictures of this beautifully photogenic dog. What a ham she was too. She could pose better than any dog I’ve seen, including most Best of Show winners.

Still, my heart and mind are filled with pictures of her. Maybe I will find that one special camera put away in a drawer that will have a few precious, more recent, photos of her.

But for now, the house is so damn quiet, so lonely. Everytime I would get up to go someplace in the house she would follow me. She had a bed between our chairs that she would lie in and we would rub her belly, scratch her head. She had another bed behind my recliner where she curled up most of the time, her little nest so to speak. They’re both gone now and all of the fur she left behind is gone as well. However, and I know this is kind of spooky, after I got home today, after carting off a huge bag of toys, while I was sitting in the livingroom, one of four toys I decided to keep for memories squeaked. It’s just too much to understand, but I take it all as a sign that she knows I loved her so much and that she’s safe, not hurting anymore, and having fun romping with the other animals.

People who don’t understand will say, “It’s only a dog.” But for those of us who know better, for those of us who have been blessed with the special love only a loving dog or cat can provide, Rain was not just a dog. Rain was an angel who happened to have four legs, large brown eyes, a beautiful curving tail that would lie on her back, a long spotted tongue, and four paws where the hair grew so long that I called them her ‘wookie’ feet. And she had this way of speaking **yes, speaking** that sounded like Chubaka. There was not a person who didn’t fall in love with her once they realized that her bark was not nearly as scarey as it seemed to be.

I also called Thundershirt today to see about returning the thundershirt that I ordered for Rain because she hated thunder. It came last Thursday and Rain was gone to doggie heaven on Friday evening. I guess thunder will never bother her again thankfully.

Ah crap, what can I say but that I miss her terribly and will do so for a very, very, very long time. She was this tiny little furry angel that came into my life in 2003 and will now forever be the beautiful dog that will lead me forward and be there on the other side of the bridge when I’m eventually called home in the coming years. In fact, she’ll be there with Sheena and I will feel very safe, secure, and extremely loved.

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The Toys are still talking

It’s just so very strange that I find it hard to explain, but I feel so positively that she has been telling us since yesterday that she’s okay, not to worry, that she loves and misses us terribly. How does she tell us that? Through her toys which I sorted out on Sunday through a veil of tears. After washing and drying all the ones (of which there are many) still in very good condition with their squeaks, barks, oinks, croaks, and screeches, they were all lying in a pile in a clothes basket. I picked out four that she really loved to play with, one of them being a gorilla that screeched when she bit down and shook unmercifully. Sitting in the livingroom yesterday afternoon I kept hearing the faintest of squeaks until I realized that it was coming from the pile of her toys. Impossible I thought, couldn’t be. And yet it continued, probably every fifteen minutes or so. Then, later in the afternoon, that lovable gorilla that I placed on a table where we have a small TV sitting, started screeching. Nobody had touched it and you have to squeeze the belly to make it screech. It did that six times in a matter of thirty minutes.

I had chills running up and down my spine and tears in my eyes. I whispered, “Thank you Rain, I know that you’re with us and I love you so much.” Talk about emotional and strange, but thankful that it happened.

Was it done? NO!! The squeak continued to come from the toy box after we turned off the lights in the livingroom. So I went through the basket, took most of them out and placed them on the floor around the basket…just in case that squeak was coming because a heavier one was pressing down on a smaller one. It was quiet then, no sounds so that must’ve been it. Suddenly three little squeaks and I inwardly freaked out. She was here, she was telling me not to worry, that she was safe, not in pain or sick anymore, that she was having fun playing and that she would wait for me. I feel better, but still hurting so bad inside that I had to make the decision to say good-bye.

Oh yeah, this morning only about fifteen minutes ago, that same toy squeaked again. I suppose she loves us so much that she isn’t ready to leave just yet. But I know in my heart that when I cross the Rainbow Bridge she’ll be there wagging her tail.

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Beautiful Rain in every sense of the imagination

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In Memory of our loving Rain

In Memory of our  loving pet and companion, Rain

1/2003 – 9/23/2011

Where do you begin? How do you tell the story of such a special friend, an integral part of your life? What words can be used to express a deep grief that is felt due to such a sudden lose? I suppose simply to say that my loving pet, my dear companion, my number one friend who spent the last eight and a half years at my side giving me so much love, loyalty, happiness, and total contentment, has passed on. My beautiful Rain has left my side, but never my heart. Her memories, her grin and wagging tail, her bark that sometimes would infuriate you, her excitement at playing with a toy of which she had many due to being so spoiled rotten (our fault, but exactly what we wanted to do), her sheer happiness and joy over living with me and my husband, Richard, giving us endless hours of amusement, love, and companionship. Due to becoming suddenly ill, though as it turns out I think was an illness which took awhile to suddenly manifest itself, but when it did earlier this week took all of us down with a vengeance. I sit here typing this on Saturday afternoon after shedding more tears than I have in many years and have her memories now to remind me how fantastic a dog Rain was. Within our house, behind and beside my recliner in the living room, out on the porch beside the chair I always sit on, out in the yard which was her special domain – where she was just a week ago and such a huge presence in our lives, there is now only phantom shadows, ghostlike sounds, lingering smells and scents, fur on the carpet that I may have a very difficult time vacuuming up.

To go back in time, we had lost our previous dog Sheena (the same wonderful mixed breeding of shepherd/chow) to a stroke and old age, really what any pet owner knows will happen in time. We were equally devastated because she was our first dog together though we have always been long-time dog lovers. I made Richard into a cat lover as well **smile** as I would eventually introduce four loving cats (now all in feline heaven), Loki, Ming, Genny, and Burt, into our lives. When Sheena died we said no more dogs, she absolutely could not be replaced and we stuck to that for over five years. I said the same for my last cat, Burt, who was an incredibly loving companion and we have not replaced him.

Until one day when a co-worker Fran asked me to look at a picture on petfinders.com. She was always looking for a dog to replace Sheena so I went and glanced at a picture of four tiny brown, fur balls in a cardboard box. They were at a shelter all the way down in Ridgley, Maryland which I had no idea where it was. However, one of those four puppies was standing up precariously with its paws barely hanging over the edge and this little puppy stole my heart right then I think. I called the shelter the next day after discussing with my husband and found out the puppies were not adopted yet so I asked if I could possibly select the one standing in the box. After a few days and one application later, they said yes and we began making arrangements to pick her up.

The day we drove down to get her at the shelter it was appropriately raining ‘cats and dogs’. It was only natural to name her Rain. After we got there, we were taken into a room where the four puppies were and the one who ran straight to us was the little puppy standing in the box, our precious Rain. She stayed inside my husband’s shirt buttoned up the whole trip back to Philadelphia. Upon entering our house, Rain immediately claimed ownership of everything, including our hearts which she had already won over. Well, the 2 cats I had at the time weren’t too thrilled since Rain took immense glee in chasing them all over the house. They were safe until Rain realized she could climb the steps to the second floor and then it was Katy-bar-the-door for awhile. However, as cats will do, after a few well placed paw smacks and heinous hisses, Rain became a little more mannerly and cautious. Cats can do that to a dog, put them in their place.

But the die was then cast, the heart print made on both our hearts, and Rain had become ruler of our abode. Her luxuriant fur was a beautiful reddish-brown color with a spotted tongue, soft brown eyes, a full and fluffy tail that would eventually curl exquisitely across her back, and she came to possess a statuesque stance that would make any Best of Show jealous. Not only had she become Queen of our manse, but had also become the dog of Shawmont Avenue because she was so visible to everybody. Over these past eight years I received so many wonderful and engaging comments in reference to what a beautiful and loving dog she was, though I must admit there have been people that she obviously scared due to her loud barking. But she was then and always was a gentle and loving creature, just very possessive of her territory so to speak. You could ride by on a bike, jog along the street as long as you were on the other side of the curb, and be somewhat safe. But….if you wanted to walk on HER sidewalk then you needed to know it was her turf. No need to ever really be scared though because if you put down your hand to pet her, then she was all googily eyes and waggily tail.

Ever since a puppy she loved doing certain things. One was to immediately attack my feet as I walked. While a young and precocious pup she could not dent my sneakers or shoes, but as she got older I found her teeth to be somewhat hurtful. She never stopped doing that even up to a few weeks ago. Another little thing she started doing early on when I attempted to start getting her used to a leash was grab it in her mouth, shake it like she was shaking the life out of a mouse, and then trot majestically along (because she always possessed a regal air about her), happy as she could be tugging me along. As she got older and stronger, that little tug became a pull where I might be running behind her. At this point today, I would so gladly have the feel of her teeth upon my ankles and toes, plus be yanked and pulled up the street on one of our walks.

I know absolutely, positively that everybody who has ever felt the overpowering joy of having a dog or cat as wonderful as Rain will most definitely say that dog or cat was the best in the world. And so it should be, because for your world, that friend was the best without a doubt. Looking back on the dogs I’ve had throughout my life starting with a little brown toy fox terrier named Midgy because she was so tiny who was my first fur-ball friend I think at the age of six, they were all the best. Each one possessed qualities that made them unique and special, especially at that time, as each one of yours was also number one.

So when I say quite loud and distinct, Rain was the absolute best dog in the world, you can all nod and say yes she was because you’ve experienced that very special feeling. She had this very unique way of grinning, had these brown eyes that sparkled with happiness, and a joy for life that was second to none. We lavished her with toys and treats, with playtime and hugs, kisses on her nose and then getting slobbered back with her tongue, with a loving home and as much loyalty to her as she gave to us. It was a two-way street though I would have to say she gave more than 100% for at times, no matter how much we might yell or get mad at her when she was bad, she never held that against us which was quite admirable compared to most people, yours included **smile**. We can ALL learn how to be better human beings just by employing those wonderful traits of a loving and loyal pet.

Ah, but could Rain be bad at times, and could she be stubborn? Ooooh, I should capitalize those two words. At times I thought she must’ve had some donkey breeding in her lineage because she could put the capital S in stubborn. When Rain was good (which was more often than not) I called her Rainbow, but when she was bad (not often really) I referred to her as Rainstorm. But always, always, always, she was RAIN….simply the best dog in the world.

So when she started experiencing problems early this week I immediately began to worry because after all, who knows a dog better than the one who loves it the most? She stopped eating and began drinking water like the well was going to run dry. Thursday afternoon I took her to the vet clinic after obtaining a urine and stool sample before leaving the yard. Obtain a urine sample from a dog? Yep, just follow them around closely and when they squat, from behind slide a saucer underneath. Of course, you’ll need to wash up afterwards. But sadly the eyes and gums showed evident jaundice and the urine had quite evident liver enzymes. Not good signs at all and Dr. Lowenstein said that it was very serious. God, it was like getting kicked in my stomach, I had no air in me and I felt like immediately dropping to the ground and hugging her which of course I did when we got home, for a long time actually. I had a difficult time letting go of her.

The next morning I dropped Rain off early to have an ultrasound done, praying for the best, but deep inside expecting the worst. Needless to say at work I was a basket case, tearing up constantly and dreading the news which came when Dr. Jacobs called me. The pictures showed apparent nodules on both the liver and pancreas. Without a biopsy it would be difficult to say for sure about malignancy, etc., but we could try giving her fluids and antiobiotics over the weekend to see if she might hopefully respond somewhat. I was willing to try anything at that point, but still dreading the worse, and knowing that financially I was not prepared for any staggering surgical bill. This news came when he called me a little after six to tell me that she was not responding to any medication, that she had been getting progressively worse, and that the situation was quite dire. I no longer had just been kicked in the stomach, but rather I had been severely bludgeoned with a sledgehammer.

My husband and I held each other, crying uncontrollably for ten minutes and then I made that long drive to the vet clinic which is only five minutes from our house. I stood outside fearing to go inside, but knowing that I had to. Dr. Jacobs showed me the pictures, we talked, and it was apparent I had to make that dreaded decision which so many pet owners have had to make. At least, as hard and terrible a decision as it is, we have the precious ability to say that we ABSOLUTELY do not want our special friend to suffer any longer. Let me suffer, let me grieve terribly, but please don’t let Rain feel anymore pain or sickness. As much as I was sobbing up to that point, it became worse when I went to the backroom to say good-bye. When I saw her she was having terrible convulsions and I knew it was all over, a real smack in the face. I knelt down and held her shaking paw and said good-bye to THE BEST DOG in the world. I don’t know if at that point she knew I was there, I can only pray and hope that she did, that she knew I was there in the last few precious seconds of her life.

After paying the bill which always hurts at such a difficult time, I appropriately staggered out into the rain. We picked up this beautiful puppy in a rainstorm and this wonderful, sweet, loving, loyal, intelligent, and fantastic dog passed away on a night when it was raining quite heavily. But through it all, overcoming all storm clouds, she was nothing but exquisite rays of warm sunshine in my entire life. My only regret was that I’ve lost her so soon because at eight and a half years old, she was still in the prime of her life.

I know that as human beings, we lose friends and family members suddenly. It’s just the terrible part of life. And I also realize that in many cases we lose loved ones much too early. Not to become too philosophical, but obviously death is the curtain call of our lives and the memories we retain in our hearts and minds the film screen which replays those memories like re-runs. Thankfully we have those to hold onto, besides pictures and precious possessions. For me thankfully I had her collar which she was wearing and when I fell asleep last night it was lying on my chest over my heard. I have held that collar to my nose, to my lips, rubbed it against my cheek because it was Rain with her scent, her feel, a precious little piece of her essence. I have numerous pictures of her and I will eventually put together a scrapbook like I did for Sheena, but it will be unique to my precious Rain.

Rain was and always will be my very special friend and companion, impossible to replace, but never leaving my mind or heart. She was beautiful, smart, happy, and loved life. She loved me, she loved us, and she was loved beyond imagination. She is, in fact, a major character in my Raven Series so she will continue to live on fighting rogue werewolves and vampires. It was just those damn little monstrous tumors that she could not defeat.

Good-bye sweet Rain, you will always be the raindrops that forever fall down upon us and the memories that will always light our way.

Mommy and Daddy

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