Friday, March 21, 2008

'Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really.'

Dave always wanted a Husky dog, having been conceived in Alaska himself. His chance came fifteen years ago this month when during spring break Erica convinced me that it wouldn't be 'that bad' to make a visit to the animal shelter in Chicago Heights. As usual with Erica I hoped she would give up and move on to the next idea that popped into her head; however, this time she was relentless in her opinion that we needed to replace Patches our beagle who had been hit by a car earlier in the month. That fateful day I choked back tears as we strolled past the kennels and came face to face with a skinny, black and white adolescent Siberian Husky who had been found dragging a leash near the Ford plant. The rest is history. On the way home with us, she sat, freshly bathed and trimmed, between Audrey and Erica in the back seat. Seconds later she laid her head on Erica's leg and sighed, a long deep sigh that she made on many occasions in the future. From that day on she followed me from room to room, wherever I was, always present and living just that moment. . .with me. Winter was her favorite time of year and summer her least. The first time I saw her eat snow I knew we were kindred spirits because I eat snow too.

This week while I was visiting Audrey and Erica in D.C. for spring break, Pashka's health took a turn for the worst. Already nearing 17 years, blind, deaf, fairly incontinent and wracked with arthritis in her spine, she finally had to be carried outside, set down and picked up again to be taken back into the house. Throughout all of this advancement into dog antiquity she maintained her sweet spirit, became super vigilant of other dogs approaching her apartment, loved being scratched behind her ears or given a belly rub which always resulted in her sticking her tongue out to kiss the hand that touched her. I said my goodbye's to her the night before I left for the airport--reminding her that she had been a truly faithful friend and companion and that I loved her with all my heart. While I was away, Dave reluctantly took her to the vet on Wednesday and stayed with her until he knew she was off and running. This was the dog who was never allowed off a leash because huskies have to run. I am pretty sure she is pulling a sled somewhere in deep, powdery snow, ears back, slitty eyed and smiling. She died on the last day of winter.

I miss her terribly and hope I will eventually stop looking for her around the house. Dogs leave so little behind in material possessions--their collar, leash, bed and a couple of dishes. I can't believe she is gone.

The first photo above is the last I took of her, a week or so ago, when she followed me into the living room and found a lovely spot of sun to dream in.


Marianne said...

The tears are streaming down my face as I sit here crying like a baby... and I swear, when I close my eyes I see her running, full out with the snow flying, and she's in full flight herself.
Beautifully written, from your heart and soul and Neil... that was some icing.
Hugging you close.

Old Wom Tigley said...

A very sad post and my heart truley goes out to you. the vision you paint of her running in the snow is very beautiful.
I came across this site a while back after a friends dog died.. it's about a place called Rainbow Bridge... if you have never heard of this mythical place have a look here.

Julie Schuler said...

ugh! I hate crying over animals! But here I am, crying for her, a dog I never even met!

I'm so sorry for your loss, noni. You've written such a lovely farewell for her and her pictures are beautiful.

Queen-Size funny bone said...

I am so sorry. Pets can be so much of our lives that they will always be missed.

Granny Smith said...

I sit here crying for her and for the all the dear dogs I have lost over a lifetime that is so much longer than theirs... I think all dogs love the snow.

You have written about her so beautifully. A lovely tribute to a loving companion.

Beatriz' suitcase contents said...

Noni, what a beautiful tribute to a loved dog. You are right, they should live longer. I feel your loss, but you had her and she had you, this is a beautiful gift.

sunt_lacrimae_rerum said...

I am so sorry about your loss. Your words are eloquent and make her come alive for me.
Yes, it seems bitterly cruel that our pets cannot live longer.

sunt_lacrimae_rerum said...

I am so sorry about your loss. Your words are eloquent and make her come alive for me.
Yes, it seems bitterly cruel that our pets cannot live longer.

Julie said...

Dear Noni,

I am crying again. I already knew that you had had to say goodbye to such a beloved friend, but reading this just brought up the times that Dan, Kristen and I have had to say farewell to our dear, beloved friends.

Just now, Penny had to have a few strokes on the head before she curled up in the recliner to sleep. Earlier, Gracie took herself off to the bedroom to sleep with Dan.

Long ago, when our Jacques went missing, I wouldn't even consider having another dog. Wise Dan went ahead and brought Beau into our lives for a wonderful 14 1/2 years.

I do hope you get another dog. I didn't want to, but it was truly the best thing we could have done.

Love, Julie

Inland Empire Girl said...

Your words spoke volumes to the love and affection you had for this wonderful dog. I just love the pictures also.
"Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe, we are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made."
Roger Caras
Hugs dear friend!

Julie said...

I am crying myself. I am glad she found such a good, loving home with your family. That's why she lived such a good long life.

We have had to do this three times now in 34 years of marriage. But we keep getting dogs and we always will. I can't imagine a home without one - or two.

Hugs, Julie

GreenishLady said...

My heart goes out to you at your loss. It is just 6 months since I had to release my 15year-old yorkshire terrier, Trixie, and I know your pain. Your love for Pashka is in every word, and I hope you will find comfort and succour in knowing that she was so loved in all your time with you. Bless you for giving her that love! (oops... here come my tears, but they are healing, for all of us)

Judy Merrill-Smith said...

Your dog was a wonderful blessing to you, and you to her. I'm sorry she is gone. May you find a moment to enjoy the sunshine, as she did.

Blue said...

Hi there!

I read your post through tears!
I feel for you soo much.
I lost my dear boy years ago & struggle to replace him.

Best wishes