Category Archives: dogs and mourning

In mourning

It is with a very heavy heart that I announce the passing of my beloved Daisy on the 26th of July.  As any dog lover will know, one of the hardest things about having a dog in your life is knowing that they do not live as long as we do and many of us will face the decision to let them pass in peace and without pain.

Daisy was 14 years, 17 days old.    Although slowing down, she always showed in an interest in twice-daily walks until about a month ago, when one afternoon she looked up at me to say “I’ve been to the toilet, now I just want to go home and rest.”  We have had more days like that – sporadically – until about the last week when once daily walks were enough for her.  After her last acupuncture treatment on Wednesday afternoon, she was very happy and energetic – walking longer and at a quicker pace than the last few weeks.

That was to be our last walk together.

One of the things that is an owner’s responsibility and duty is to manage quality of life.  In Daisy’s case, she had the look in her eye that many people describe – it told me “I’ve had enough.”

As part of my grieving process, and in tribute to my dear Daisy, here are a few photos of her life.  We were together for 10 years and 7 months – and I wish I had them to do all over again.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

This is one of the first photos I took of Daisy, shortly after adopting her.

This is one of the first photos I took of Daisy, shortly after adopting her

Daisy 'upgraded' to a red collar and I love this photo because it gave a better perspective to her size and conformation

Daisy ‘upgraded’ to a red collar and I love this photo because it gave a better perspective to her size and conformation

 

In 2004, Daisy allowed me to dress her in a Boston Red Sox sweatshirt to celebrate their World Series win

In 2004, Daisy allowed me to dress her in a Boston Red Sox sweatshirt to celebrate their World Series win

 

In April 2008, Daisy helped to pose in the garden to show off some new landscaping

In April 2008, Daisy helped to pose in the garden to show off some new landscaping

 

In April 2008, we celebrated Daisy's 8th birthday a wee bit in advance as part of launching Canine Catering

In April 2008, we celebrated Daisy’s 8th birthday a wee bit in advance as part of launching Canine Catering

 

In February 2011, following our big earthquake, Daisy revealed that she was suffering from arthritis in her hips and spine.  Swimming became a fortnightly activity from then on

In February 2011, following our big earthquake, Daisy revealed that she was suffering from arthritis in her hips and spine. Swimming became a fortnightly activity from then on

Daisy loved food and treats; here she enjoys a Busy Bone whilst visiting with her Uncle Guy in 2012

Daisy loved food and treats; here she enjoys a Busy Bone whilst visiting with her Uncle Guy in 2012

On her 13th birthday, I took Daisy for an off-lead walk at The Groynes as a special treat

On her 13th birthday, I took Daisy for an off-lead walk at The Groynes as a special treat

We celebrated our 10th anniversary together by taking a trip to Ruby Bay.  Daisy was so happy during our 5 days there.

We celebrated our 10th anniversary together by taking a trip to Ruby Bay. Daisy was so happy during our 5 days there.

My last photos of Daisy were taken on July 12th as part of a photo shoot for the business

My last photos of Daisy were taken on July 12th as part of a photo shoot for the business

The Dog Hair

DoggyMom.com:

So true…for any of us who have suffered a loss of a dog…every little reminder matters

Originally posted on Doggerel:

Creative Commons license.

Creative Commons license.

The Dog Hair

The dog is gone. We miss him. When the doorbell rings, no one barks. When we come home late, there is no one waiting for us. We still find his white hairs here and there around the house and on our clothes. We pick them up. We should throw them away. But they are all we have left of him. We don’t throw them away. We have a wild hope—if only we collect enough of them, we will be able to put the dog back together again.

— Lydia Davis, from her recent collection Can’t and Won’t

View original

Sister Gracie

It’s been a bit busy this week, so I haven’t had time to post until now. One reason for the busy week has been that I have appeared in The Press, the Christchurch region’s newspaper.  The reporter wanted to know more about dog massage (which of course is a favorite subject of mine).  Both Daisy and I are very grateful for the free publicity, which came out of the blue in the form of a phone interview.

The article generated a very special enquiry in the form of an email:

May I ask if Daisy is a Pinerock pointer?  I lost my beautiful old lady Gracie in May and this morning I almost fell off my chair to see that face.  Even friends have asked how I found the massage worked with Grace.  That’s how alike they are – my girl had just turned 13 so they could conceivably be a similar age.  Happy to send you a picture if you like.

And so it transpired that I learned more about Daisy’s sister, who lived with another dog named Shamus, who still grieves for her.  Indeed, it is eerie to see how much Daisy and Gracie resembled one another.  The bloodlines are clearly apparent…

Gracie

Gracie on sofa

Gracie Digging

shamus and gracie couching

"I will take her ashes to the Pointer Memorial Garden at Pinerock where Pluto the Pointer watches over their souls."

“I will take her ashes to the Pointer Memorial Garden at Pinerock where Pluto the Pointer watches over their souls.”

Gracie’s mum may come for a visit to meet Daisy one day.  I’m sure Daisy would be as welcoming as always and we will share more stories of Gracie.

A farewell service for Oklahoma pets

Last weekend, a memorial service was held for the Oklahoma pets who perished in last month’s tornadoes.  The service was conducted at the Orr Family Farm which is located next door to the Celestial Acres Training Center, a training facility for horses where many died.

Perhaps one of the most touching stories of the losses suffered was that of Fred, a black Labrador.  He survived the storm buried beneath debris that was subsequently bulldozed over several times.  He was rescued but passed away five days later.  His veterinarian said, ‘It doesn’t seem fair.’

Full story available at The Oklahoman

Saying goodbye – a special tribute

When Kaiser, a two-year old German Shepherd member of the Plymouth, Massachusetts Police Department, was struck suddenly by severe kidney disease, it was decided to end his suffering.

On Friday, members of the Department gathered to give Kaiser a final salute as he entered the vet’s office.

photo courtesy of the Plymouth Police Working Dog Foundation

photo courtesy of the Plymouth Police Working Dog Foundation

Officer Jamie Lebretton, Kaiser’s handler, told followers on the Foundation’s Facebook page that  I feel privileged to have had a front row seat to witness his bravery and heroic actions while serving the people of Plymouth and my brothers and sisters in blue.  Out of love and respect for Kaiser, and with the input from our excellent vet, trainer, and family, I have made the heart wrenching decision to end Kaiser’s suffering. ‘

Kaiser was laid to rest at the Angel View Pet Cemetery in Middleborough.  He joined the police dog squad at the age of 5 months in 2011 and is gone too soon.

The care and love shown for Kaiser is just another story of so many – stand up and be proud that we love and bond with our dogs!

Crossing Eve

Today was a sad day at the Old Friends kennels of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.  When I went to sign in for the afternoon, I was told ‘Old Friends will be closing at 3 today; we’re crossing Eve.’

Crossing, as in the Rainbow Bridge.  Eve was a paraplegic when I met her last year, but she had a spirit about her which said ‘don’t pick me up, I’ll get there by myself thank you.’  And her best friend was Dumpling, the little toothless mixed breed girl that I fell in love with.

Eve, in May 2012

Eve, in May 2012

Eve’s progress and care was documented as part of the Guardian Angels program, which profiles special animals from around the sanctuary and encourages monthly donations.  Caregivers update the Guardian Angel journals on a regular basis.

From a distance, I monitored Eve’s progress through the journal; also hoping to catch a glimpse of Dumpling, which I did through this wonderful video:

Through Eve’s journal, I read about the donation of her mobility cart and options to keep it from chafing.  When Dumpling got adopted in December 2012, I read about Eve’s grief at the loss of her friend and the efforts of caregivers to find her suitable companionship.  And in March of this year, Eve exited the Guardian Angel program to give way to another special needs dog.

So when I arrived here last week, seeing Eve and other remaining Old Friends was a top priority.  It is a comfort to know that I was here at Old Friends today to say goodbye to her.

Eve today, before crossing

Eve today, before crossing

A painting of Eve hangs in the foyer of her kennels at Old Friends

A painting of Eve hangs in the foyer of her kennels at Old Friends

A final Guardian Angel entry is now live on the Best Friends website to mark Eve’s crossing.  Read it here and perhaps go back in time to read more about this very special, special needs dog.

Eve will be laid to rest at Angels Overlook, the cemetery for sanctuary animals.

Eve's mobility cart and stroller, which were used in happier days

Eve’s mobility cart and stroller, which were used in happier days

Do not cry, I am with you

I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep.
I could see that you were crying, You found it hard to sleep.
I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear,
“It’s me, I haven’t left you, I’m well, I’m fine, I’m here.”

Do not cry, I am with you

I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour the tea,
You were thinking of the many times, your hands reached down to me.
I was with you at the shops today, Your arms were getting sore.
I longed to take your parcels, I wish I could do more.

I was with you at my grave today, You tend it with such care.
I want to re-assure you, that I’m not lying there.
I walked with you towards the house, as you fumbled for your key.
I gently put my paw on you, I smiled and said ” it’s me.”

You looked so very tired, and sank into a chair.
I tried so hard to let you know, that I was standing there.
It’s possible for me, to be so near you everyday.
To say to you with certainty, “I never went away.”
You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew…
In the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you.

The day is over… I smile and watch you yawning
and say “good-night, God bless, I’ll see you in the morning.”
And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide,
I’ll rush across to greet you and we’ll stand, side by side.
I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see.

Be patient, live your journey out…then come home to be with me…

Source:  Unknown (I found this in my old email files and it is so appropriate to all of us who have loved and lost a dog)

The legend of Greyfriars Bobby

Back in August, in my column on Dogs and grief, I cited the case of Greyfriars Bobby.  This dog, according to legend, kept a 14-year vigil at the grave of its master while being cared for by local businessmen.

Research by historian Dr Jan Bondeson is published in a new book entitled Greyfriars Bobby:  The Most Faithful Dog in the World and tells a different story.

Dr Bondeson believes that the story was fabricated by James Brown, the curator of the cemetery and John Traill, the owner of a nearby restaurant, to encourage the tourist trade.    Mr Brown was known to accept donations for Bobby’s care and Mr Traill’s restaurant benefited from the many visitors to the churchyard.

Dr Bondeson says that the men likely replaced the original Bobby when he died with another dog to keep the legend going.  In addition, he cites that in Victorian times there were many dogs that were fed and kept by the public that made graveyards their home.   Bobby just became a celebrity amongst these dogs.

For a beloved member of the family

This column, For a beloved member of the family in memoriam, was written by Bella English, a columnist for The Boston Globe newspaper.

It touches on that special relationship we have with our dogs, and the grief and mourning we experience when they pass.

I hope this item resonates with you as much as it does with me.

In memoriam

On Monday, we lost a great dog by the name of Olliver (yes – that’s the correct spelling). A Dalmatian, Ollie had great spirit, which showed through even more when he lost the ability to walk in July 2010.  The veterinary profession have been stymied as to the reason for Ollie’s sudden loss of function and his owner has generously offered Ollie’s body for study at Massey University.

With the love and constant care of his owner, Ollie was engaged and alert until his sudden crash on Monday with internal bleeding.  I miss him.   Working with Ollie three times per week over the last year, we connected in a way I haven’t had the privilege of doing with any other dog.  Rest well, Ollie, my special boy.   I will take you with me for the rest of my days.


The Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of Heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.  When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.  There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.  There is plenty of food and water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.  All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigour:  those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days gone by.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing:  they miss someone very special to them who had to be left behind.  They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddnely stops and looks into the distance.  The eyes are intent, the eager body quivers.  Suddenly he begins to break away from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.  You have been spotted and when you and your special friend finally meet you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again.  The happy kisses rain upon your face, your hands again caress his beloved head and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you pass over the Rainbow Bridge together…