A Story of Faith …

Today’s submission comes from Sue Seaton, our long-time volunteer in Centennial, Colorado.  If you’ve had a home visit done in the metro Denver area, you’ve most likely met Sue and her husband, Roy!  We’re ever grateful to them for covering the Denver area all these years. 

Roy and Carmen

Several years ago, my sister’s family put their family dog down at an old age.  She had been a great dog.  My sister Karen was very sad and quickly realized she needed another dog.  She began searching on line, all over the country for the “right dog”, a dog that needed her as much as she needed her.  

My sister lives in Michigan and found a dog in a rescue in Kentucky. She had been rescued from a breeding facility that was really just a dirty old barn. She spoke to the foster mom and was convinced this was the right dog, that they needed each other.    Two days later they made the long trip to Kentucky.  When they met “Carmen”, it was love at first sight.  They brought her home immediately and Carmen became a princess.  She traveled everywhere with them.  She never met a stranger and was a wonderful dog.  She was loved at the seniors’ home where my mom resides.  As much as the ladies loved her, she loved them. 

On February 1st, she was diagnosed with cancer and within a few days it was confirmed as Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia.  There is little to no treatment for this horrible disease in dogs. Karen was devastated.  Carmen was her pet and her friend.  She was terrified at the thought of being without a dog for any length of time.  She began searching on line for a dog.   She searched multiple times per day looking for a dog that needed her and would love to have a new home.  She spoke with many rescue facilities but many of the dogs that seemed suitable would disappear before she could even investigate.   Carmen had no symptoms other than swollen glands.  As luck and timing would have it, we have a cruise planned from 3/7 through 3/18.  We were all worried that Carmen would become gravely ill while we were gone, possibly leaving my niece to euthanize her and spend a great deal of time alone as well.  The family got her ice cream and burgers to eat, took her everywhere in the car and generally spoiled her all they could.  

Carmen stayed relatively fine until two days ago.  She developed a large ulcer in her mouth and stopped eating.   On Wednesday, Karen received a call from a rescue in Kentucky.  They had a dog that they thought would be perfect for her.  We didn’t know what to do. It seemed that Carmen might be waiting so her family would not be alone.  On Thursday morning, Carmen stopped eating and declared that she was ready.  Although the timing may seem strange to you, it didn’t to me.  I knew that it was God.  He had answered my prayers that Carmen would not suffer, that my sister could begin giving her love to a new dog and that my niece would not be left home alone, to experience solitary grief.  Carmen is pictured above, having fun teasing her Uncle Roy. 

Today, Karen and her family again made the long trip to Kentucky, filled with grief and sadness at the loss of their beloved dog, Carmen.  When they got to Kentucky, they met Lily Bell, pictured below.   She immediately began bonding with the family.  Within a short time, they packed up the car and made the 6 hour drive back home.  Please meet Lily Bell, pictured below.  She is not Carmen, but she just oozes a gentle confidence that could only come from receiving the baton from the one that passed before her. Have faith. 

When a door closes, a window opens.  Embrace it!  Breathe deeply!         ~~ Sue   

 

Lily Bell

Ready and Waiting …

This piece, authored by Karen Filippi of Somerset Cairns, Tunkhannock, PA, speaks to each of us who have watched the years tick off with a beloved companion (reprinted with permission, as appearing  in the November 2008 AKC Gazette).

The AKC Gazette … the Official Journal of the Sport of Purebred Dogs Since 1889,  is available as a paper subscription or through a free online digital edition.  The Gazette is a treasure trove of information on the individual breeds which make up each “group” of dogs as well as being of interest in general to those sharing their heart and home with the canine species.

Ready and Waiting …

Summer, this year, seemed to come and go with my barely marking the days or weeks.  Instead, it’s the months that have become the season’s mile-marker, and the year the milestone of time’s passage.  This is, I think, also the measure of my progress through the seasons of my own life.  And so, with summer gone and year’s end approaching, I find myself facing the prospect of other passings, other endings.  Somehow, without my really noticing, two of my Cairns have grown quite old.

True to their reputation, Cairn Terriers are hardy, active dogs with relative few genetic health issues.  Should they fall ill or be injured, they will often suffer in silence.  This is another facet of the native courage that sends them headlong and heart-first into dark, narrow holes in the ground, seeking fierce quarry armed with tooth and claw.

The lifespan of a Cairn Terrier can, and more often does, exceed 15, 16, 17 years  and more.  Measured against human years, it is not very long.  Yet it is long enough to encompass a childhood, a marriage, to span one or more of the significant passages that mark our own lives.

Time passes, and, as it is the nature of things, the irresistable puppy become the irrepressible adolescent.  The adolescent becomes the mature, comfortable companion and faithful friend who, suddenly, a senior, slows but remains steadfast.  And then …

How to consider, cope with, the prospect of such a loss?

It is a testament to the lives of these incredible creatures that their passing has such a profound effect that we are compelled to search for ways to express our grief and afford it the dignity it is due.  While convention may still deny dogs a soul, for many the idea of the “Rainbow Bridge” speaks to our need to have them wait for us, somewhere, safe from harm.  In so many canine lives, there are too few such places; it seems fitting there should be such a place afterward.  Who can know?

What we can know, beyond doubt and, even absent faith, it the value of what they give to us.  We are, quite literally, their individual gods and they love us without condition or judgment.  They remind us to accept the world as it comes each day, to meet each moment with anticipation and awe.  To hear the poetry in our shared silences and the harmony in our different songs.  To fling our heart ahead in the sheer joy of living, and to run, full-out and free, to catch it up … again, and again.

When, all too soon, it is time for them to go, our memories of them will hold all this and keep it safe, ready and waiting, against the time when it will be our turn to follow.  … For Tinker and Indi, in their twilight.