Sunday, January 18, 2015

My Appreciation

Since Pudding has passed away, I've been so blessed by my friends, both near and far.  To all of you who posted such touching messages of comfort, believe me when I say we were overwhelmed. Your kind words have helped us so much.  I'm sorry I didn't reply to any of the comments, the truth of the matter is I couldn't see to type until now without mopping my eyes.  Every message was extremely helpful and healing, and a mere thank you on my part seems so inadequate.  I'm deeply, deeply grateful.

I grew up on a farm and have seen life and death many times but it doesn't make it any easier.  I've also lost many people dear to me over the years, and I know, she was just a dog.  But those who love animals know the place they have in our hearts.
Pudding was camera-shy, she would always look away from the lens.
Life around here is empty without Pudding.  How I miss her happy barks of joy when I come in the door along with that tap-dancing frenzy she always embarked on.  Teddy is still with us, but he has also showed signs of missing her; he didn't want to eat for a few days and seems lost at times.  His eyesight and hearing are failing ever more and he sleeps a great deal.  I hesitate to pet him as much as I'd like because he startles so easily nowadays, so I save any petting for when he's completely aware of his surroundings. 
 Teddy never was the affectionate fellow that Pudding was; he was always the athletic one with the guard dog mentality.  He does wag his tail now and then, but we haven't heard him bark in weeks.  He doesn't seem to be in physical pain, but we had to increase his heart medication a few months ago, so it is only a matter of time.  We will love him for as long as we're blessed to have him here.

Teddy a few years ago, always with a ball, Mr. Athlete.

I kept a lock of Pudding's hair to remember her by and I have her collar in the kitchen hanging by the refrigerator.  Every now and then I hear her tags jingle when I open or close the door and expect to look down and see her staring up at me with those adoring brown eyes.  I still find myself carefully moving my feet when I am at the dinner table as she loved to rest her head on my foot.  Her bed is still on the couch next to me as I write and every time I glance over at it, I'm reminded of her absence.  The day after she died, somehow my gray jacket was tossed on the couch and my heart skipped a beat when I saw it there in the dim light of late afternoon.  Could it be?  But no, just a ghost; how the heart yearns to see what it wants.  

Pudding and Teddy in better days, sleeping next to me on the couch.
 We buried Pudding by the biggest rocks in our garden; the same place our dear cat Screech was laid to rest.  One of my comments on my last post, from John at Deaf Dogs and Benevolent Gnomes was this lovely poem:

This is a poem by Ben Hur Lampman - Where to Bury a Dog

There are various places within which a dog may be buried. We are thinking now of a setter, whose coat was flame in the sunshine, and who, so far as we are aware, never entertained a mean or an unworthy thought. This setter is buried beneath a cherry tree, under four feet of garden loam, and at its proper season the cherry strews petals on the green lawn of his grave. Beneath a cherry tree, or an apple, or any flowering shrub of the garden, is an excellent place to bury a good dog. Beneath such trees, such shrubs, he slept in the drowsy summer, or gnawed at a flavorous bone, or lifted head to challenge some strange intruder. These are good places, in life or in death. Yet it is a small matter, and it touches sentiment more than anything else.

For if the dog be well remembered, if sometimes he leaps through your dreams actual as in life, eyes kindling, questing, asking, laughing, begging, it matters not at all where that dog sleeps at long and at last. On a hill where the wind is unrebuked and the trees are roaring, or beside a stream he knew in puppyhood, or somewhere in the flatness of a pasture land, where most exhilarating cattle graze. It is all one to the dog, and all one to you, and nothing is gained, and nothing lost -- if memory lives. But there is one best place to bury a dog. One place that is best of all.

If you bury him in this spot, the secret of which you must already have, he will come to you when you call -- come to you over the grim, dim frontiers of death, and down the well-remembered path, and to your side again. And though you call a dozen living dogs to heel they should not growl at him, nor resent his coming, for he is yours and he belongs there.

People may scoff at you, who see no lightest blade of grass bent by his footfall, who hear no whimper pitched too fine for mere audition, people who may never really have had a dog. Smile at them then, for you shall know something that is hidden from them, and which is well worth the knowing.

The one best place to bury a good dog is in the heart of his master. 

Remembering this poem, I went for a walk last night after dark.  The weather has been very strange this winter, we've gone from bitter cold in November/early December followed by a thaw and a Brown Christmas, followed by a small snow storm and then back to the deep-freeze for a week, but now we're having a thaw one more time.  The temps were in the upper 30's last night as I walked home from my mother's, I usually walk up there to check on her just before bedtime.   

 I didn't take Teddy with me for this walk; he's too tired to go that far now, but Pudding was always at my side.  Since our road is quite remote, I didn't put a leash on Pudding for the most part; she was always close by if I had to scoop her up if a vehicle did chance to come along.  Sometimes she would fall behind to check out a particularly tantalizing smell and then I would hear her little toenails come clicking down the road in happy pursuit.

Last night as I made my way home down our dark and lonely road, a wind sprang up out of the west, gently pushing me along.  Suddenly I heard a familiar clicking sound behind me and my heart jumped, could it be?

 No, it wasn't Pudding I was hearing, it was a newly cast-off oak leaf torn loose from a branch to skitter down the road ahead of me.

The leaf was like the blade of grass bent by Pudding's unseen footfall in the poem...

And finally, my dear friend Sharon sent me this lovely note:

Pudding's Last Will and Testament
Before humans die, they write their last will and testament and give their home and all they have to those they leave behind.  If, with my paws, I could do the same, this is what I'd ask.......

To a poor and lonely stray I'd give my happy home; my bowl and cozy bed, soft pillow and all my toys; the lap, which I loved so much; the hand that stroked my fur; and the sweet voice that spoke my name.  I'd will to the sad, scared shelter dog the place I had in my human's loving heart of which there seemed no bounds.

So, when I die, please do not say, "I will never have a pet again, for the loss and pain is more than I can stand."

Instead, go find an unloved dog, one whose life has held no joy or hope, and give my place to him.

This is the only thing I can give...
The love I leave behind.
I am with you always.

Thank you again for your kindness.  
Pudding: 2000-2014     



Alison said...

I have a lock of fur from a beloved cat, saved in an envelope. It's been years since he passed away, but I still miss him. Our only cat is old now too, and going deaf I think. She is very easily startled when we come up behind her. Thanks for sharing those two poems. Hugs!

Marty said...

I just came upon your blog and I'm so sorry for your loss. Little creatures can leave such big holes in our lives when they're gone, but it's obvious you will be carrying Pudding in your heart. Maybe someday you can carry out her "last wishes" and let another dog into your heart, it won't fill the hole but might make it seem less gaping. Bless you & your family.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Oh my gosh, Pudding's last will and testament. That grips the heart.

Love and hugs to you and Carl ~ FlowerLady

Pamela Gordon said...

What a sweet and sentimental post. I was near tears reading it and know you are sad and missing Pudding very much. I love the two stories at the end. Hugs to you Karen.

Garden Fancy said...

Karen, it takes a long time to recover from the loss of a beloved pet. Our cat, Frostbite, died in 2011, and for months afterward every white thing I saw out of the corner of my eye I thought was him. I still treasure the photos I took of him, out in the garden, sleeping in the laundry basket, sitting in a sunny window. Hope and joy will follow, but grief must come first. Take care and best wishes, -Beth

PlantPostings said...

Awww, sweet. I'm thinking about you these days, Karen. Our pets are so dear to us, aren't they? Your Pudding was a sweetie, and blessed to have you for a mama.

outlawgardener said...

Those are beautiful! You probably already know about it but just in case, this Pet loss support site has been very helpful to me.

Indie said...

A lovely poem and testament. I know Pudding spent her last years very happy with such a loving family. It is so hard to lose a faithful pet.

Gardens at Waters East said...

It was a nice visit today and your thought were good to read. JC

Carol said...

I can feel your sadness in your words. It's so hard to lose those little furbabies ♥