Wednesday, June 3, 2009

For the Love of Dogs...

Flash and Casey 2003
Lillian - braving out 4th of July
I've been gone awhile. In case you haven't noticed. A few reasons - May is my favorite month. It gets me out of the house, into my garden, setting up my pool and swearing at it, cleaning out the disgusting garage, and fighting the ants. My husband and son's birthdays are in May, as well as the heralded 2nd favorite holiday next to Halloween - Mother's Day. I love May. It's promising.

Usually I do these projects with a dog at my side. First was Flash the Basset, then Lily the Bulldog. I would trip over Flash at least five times a day because he was always right there. It drove me crazy. Now, of course, I miss it. Lily would snore in the corner of the yard on her blanket, but she would still just be, so it was good company.

This May, I was dogless. My Lil died on April 21st, the same way she lived - quietly, nondescript. I was reading a book, she was snoring next to me. Everyone was asleep and I was content and happy. Then she stopped snoring. She looked at me and took 3 quick breaths and was gone. Just. Like. That. Talk about having the rug pulled out from under you. Nineteen months is not nearly long enough to have someone that you fell in love with. But I can say this - she had a GREAT nineteen months with us. She was The Queen. I keep that thought in my head to comfort me when I am so dog-lonely I could cry. I feel blessed that I was with her when she died, and that I didn't have to make the horrible decision I had to make for Flash. I had her cremated and she sits in her pretty carved box on my dresser, much to Bill's discomfort. But still, it hurts.

This is why I love rescue dogs the best: They know you saved them, on some level that only dogs can master. They appreciate their life, and are loyal beyond belief. You can argue the virtues of a puppy with me all day, I will never agree with you that it's the same. Rescue dogs have old souls. I love that.

After some healing, (less time than I thought, as usual) I looked into Greyhound rescue. A lady walks three of them around my neighborhood, and I love how regal and calm they are. I asked her about them, she sang their praises, as did my other friend who owns retired racing Greyhounds. I applied and got a home visit. The rescue lady brought a beautiful brindle male, just one week off the track and labeled as "perfect" for our family. Even Bill fell in love. That's a big deal, believe me. We asked to adopt the dog and named him Al. On June 8th the third dog to grace our home would arrive. We were so excited - until Sunday when we got a message from the Greyhound lady: "call as soon as you can". I could tell by her voice. It wasn't good. And it wasn't. Our Al was in the hospital - necrotizing fascitis had eaten his leg and was up in his chest. He was in pain, nothing could be done, and he needed to be put to sleep. He was euthanized that night, as far as I know. He never knew that someone (4 someones, even) loved him. How sad is that? I feel guilty, like I jinxed him, I am the Grim Reaper of Dogs, I am with them, I love them and they die on me. It's so unfair.

So go on, Al, and do that Rainbow Bridge thing that people keep sending me. You can do whatever you want now. But for me, find Lily and Flash and give them my love. I know you will like them, they are beyond cool and I miss them insanely.

Now I am alone, dogwise. I sit outside at night and drink my wine and feel incomplete because there is no one on my feet to keep them warm, or no one at my side snoring like a truck driver.

At home, we wait. While the lady at Greyheart looks for another dog to make our own. Those who love me know I am NOT good at waiting. So please hurry, Sue. My life is not complete without the love and companionship of a good dog...