Monday, August 20, 2012

No one licked me at breakfast this morning


There's no sound in the kitchen.

No panting.
No licking.
No whining.
No barking.
No farting.
No drooling.
No bad smells.
No garbage strewn on the floor.
No puddles for me to step in.
No pleading eyes.
No moaning sighs.


No furry, warm life.

Ruby is gone.

The vet came on Saturday afternoon. It was a beautiful day. Painfully beautiful. Ruby died with the faintest end -of- summer breeze blowing across those magnificent wash-cloth ears of hers and all four of us touching her.

She was completely peaceful.

Trusting.
Relaxed.
Yielding.
Loving.

And she went away.

I've stood at the stove and warmed my milk for coffee.
No warm fur surrounded my bare feet.
I have stood at the sink, washing up the dishes from the night before. No one licked my ankles.
I've been to the bathroom three times. No one followed me or pushed the door open with their nosey nose.
I've left the house and come back. No hard head pushed against my shins and snuffled in absolute joy at my return. 

I have cried at the thought of my dog, outside all night, alone, for the first time in her life.


"But it's so cold out there," I blubbered into Ian's shirt before I went to bed.



"It doesn't feel right that she's outside."


"She's not there anymore, Betsy," he said. "She can't feel the cold."

The girls painted these likenesses of Ruby on blocks of wood. Esther's is below. She did it first. Isla saw what she was doing and copied her. Esther helped her with the eyes. I love these paintings. And, somehow, they are easier to look at than photographs.

For now. 



Devotion

The heart can think of no devotion
Greater than being shore to ocean -
Holding the curve of one position,
Counting an endless repetition.

Robert Frost



37 comments:

klgs24 said...

Beautiful tribute. I'm so sorry for your loss. When you can, I'd be interested in hearing about what decision you made about involving the children ...

Beth Byers said...

My heart has been there before. And my girls' too. We miss our four legged babies so much. Ruby is much happier.... And puppyish..... At least that's how I imagine ours. The paintings are such loving tributes to a loving companion. :-)

Betsy said...

Klgs24: You reminded me, I left that part out. The kids were right there with her. The vet explained what he was doing and what Ruby was most likely feeling. They were sad, but also very curious and understood, completely, why we were doing it.

Kathleen Trail said...

I'm so, so sorry for you all – but as sad as you are, I'm guessing that deep inside you know letting her go was the right thing to do. And it sounds like you absolutely, 100% did it the right way for her and you and your girls.

Sending virtual hugs (and maybe even a few of the extra pet hairs I have on my black pants today) your way...

Rowena Brooks said...

My sympathies are with your family. I'm crying as I read this; I know what it is to lose a beloved pet. Time will heal, but she'll always be with you all - in your hearts.

I'm glad the girls could have a positive experience of her passing, and hope it helped them deal with the loss.

I don't look forward to this someday with our boys…

Seamingly Sarah said...

I'm so sorry. It's a very sad thing, but all the better that everyone was there to say goodbye.

Sue Kol said...

beautiful tribute. love the girls' paintings. sorry for your loss.

Sue said...

Three years after my 16 year old dog was euthanized, I still cry over her, occasionally.

She wasn't just a pet; she was an unique presence, like an unique friend. And when that presence was gone from my life, my everyday felt so wrong.

Do you feel guilt, Betsy? Coz I felt SO guilty, like "How can I be standing here, doing this or that, when she is lying in the ground? How can I be here when she can't be here?"

Betsy said...

Sue: Guilty. Yes. Though I know the decision was right, the decision in itself seems absurd.

Tina G said...

Sending a big hug, so sorry...I believe in doggie heaven.

Nigel said...

The world seems a sadder place of all a sudden.

Stephanie Lauer said...

We had Buck cremated. That seemed to make it easier. He is still in our house...in our bedroom...on a shelf...in a beautiful box. He's one shelf below the box that contains the leftover ashes of my Dad after we had our spreading of the ashes ceremony.

Margie said...

So sorry for your loss Betsy. We are in a similar place with our 15 year old dog. I am hoping that the vet is right when he says that we will know when it is time. Love your girls paintings. So lovely.

PC said...

I'm so sorry. Sending love your way.

Kingsmom said...

So sorry Betsy.

Anne said...

My condolences, Betsy. My heart goes out to you.

Robin said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. The words and paintings are a lovely way to remember Ruby.

Was Living Down Under said...

So sorry for your loss Betsy. This was beautifully written and I love the paintings. Isn't it great that they can express themselves creatively like that? The thing about grief is that you do have to go through all the stages before you can begin to move on. So feel the guilt and feel the sad and eventually your heart will reach where your head's at and Ruby will indeed be a puppy again. Hugs!

Anna said...

Beautiful piece. I love, love, love the paintings. So amazing. They illustrate your writing about Ruby's death so perfectly. Sounds as if you did absolutely the right thing - the right way, with the whole family there. I'm sure it made Ruby's last live moments peaceful/happy/secure. If one of you had been missing she would have known it. Love to you in your sorrow.

Anonymous said...

I've been there, Betsy. You made the right decision. Time will heal and then you'll laugh at the good moments you had with her! Hugs to you all...

-Mizzee

Anonymous said...

Oh this is heartbreaking but I believe it was the right choice.Atleast it would have been mine as well.Having lost various beloved dogs and cats over the years I remember the pain vividly while reading your words.Your Ruby had a good life full of love from a family that, obviously cherished her.Peace to you Betsy and in time it won't hurt so hard.

Anonymous said...

I'm so, so sorry for your loss & pain. It's so hard the first couple of weeks when you keep expecting to see them. Hope you and your family have peace soon ((((((HUGS))))

Mama Badger said...

Oh, so sad. It's never easy to lose a close friend.

mooserbeans said...

Oh I am so sorry. When we lost our dog last year, it was heart breaking. She was our "first/practice baby." It gets easier, as I am sure you know, but doesn't ever go completely away. This post and the paintings were such a lovely way to honor her!

alouise said...

I am so sorry Betsy. I think you made a wonderful decision in having the vet come to you and allowing Ruby to pass while surrounded by her family and lying in the warm sun. I can't think of a more loving way to say good bye.

Liz said...

Even though it was the hardest thing, you did the best thing by being with her at the end. I had to put both my 17 year old cats down about 3 months from each other a few years ago. It was grueling. It's been 3 years and I still miss them. Now, having a dog, I know it will be even harder when her time comes.

Lara said...

I am so very sorry for your loss. Like Sue who commented earlier, I also euthanized my 16 year old dog nearly 3 years ago, and I still miss him and still feel sad about letting him go that way. Just because something's the right thing to do, that doesn't make it easier.

Anonymous said...

I am sending hugs. And you would think that I know you as a personal friend, because I am worried I haven't seen a post from you on your Babycenter blog since the 24th.... just checking in, hoping you are doing okay.... I am going to have to go through this decision one day in the near future, and I hope I handle the pain with the poetic dignity your post here shows.... and your last post lets us know you are dealing with a lot on top of that loss... hugs to you....

Betsy said...

Anonymous: You are sweet to worry about me. But, not to worry, I am on vacation. My first genuine blog free vacation from BabyCenter in all the years I've written for them. We, rebels that we are, have been on an ocean bender for almost 10 days. It's been so fun being away from it all, it feels it should be illegal. (:

parenthoodaworkinprogress said...

Hi betsy, that anonymous was me, 2kidslife, Liz from NJ (now MA), you've commented on my comments in the past.... I checked her specifically to see if you responded! Thank you SO much for letting me know! Holy guacamole, enjoy every single minute of it! Good for you! Good for you guys!

parenthoodaworkinprogress said...

checked "here"

Steph said...

So sorry, Betsy. We had to put our cat Buster down in June and it was so hard. He was an indoor cat, so it felt strange for him to be "outside," too, but we planted a lovely, warm, yellow lily on his grave, which helped. Thinking of you and your family.

Anonymous said...

My heart breaks for you. I still cry for my "fur kids". I miss them so much. I just think of them at the Rainbow Bridge all playing together and feeling no pain.

Brenda said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I am catching up on the blogs. I remember that horrid lonely feeling that my furry family shouldn't be out there alone in the cold. I now have two out there together and how I miss them. The paintings of Ruby are a treasure.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting .Your day without your dog brings it home for me, I keep imagining what it will be like when he is no longer with us. It sounds like your beloved pup went the best way possible, I have called the vet and now wait for a home appt...I am hoping I feel some peace with the decision after the fact . I tooo have decided to let our Riley go peacefully at home and buried yr old daughter wants to plant forget me nots on his grave..

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting .Your day without your dog brings it home for me, I keep imagining what it will be like when he is no longer with us. It sounds like your beloved pup went the best way possible, I have called the vet and now wait for a home appt...I am hoping I feel some peace with the decision after the fact . I tooo have decided to let our Riley go peacefully at home and buried yr old daughter wants to plant forget me nots on his grave..

debcom said...

Today is my first day at home wothout my beloved Riley. No pitter patter of paws on the hardwood enroute to his bed. No whining at the doot to go out,no mornign walk after the schoolbus...my heart feels like it is breaking. For the first time in many many years the house is without my best friend and its the worst day as I am missing him so much. What helped you get thru this? deb770@yahoo.com