This one goes out to all of the dogs I’ve had over the years and a very special orange cat.
Throughout my life, there has been one constant being that has been by my side. I don’t remember much about my first dog (because I was a bit too young) but they have nearly always been a part of me. I remember, however, when I was visiting my granny and she had a dog called Penny. She was an German Shepard/Lab mix and so very sweet and kind. She would let me ride her back like a horse and would grab my wrist if I tried to cross the road without someone and lead me back. She had a few puppies that we took with us to our house before she passed away.
One was given to my brother named Silver and the other was Old Yeller (he looked exactly like the dog from the movies). My dog was Lady which was a solid black lab. So many happy memories of playing with them and the intelligence of them. In the country, snakes are a threat and Lady saved our lives countless times by killing the things. We had an Irish Setter as well I had named Rin-Tin-Tin as well as countless strays that we would feed.
Unfortunately, Rin-Tin-Tin, Yeller, and Silver were shot and otherwise killed in a brutal manner along with another Cocker Spaniel we had growing up in the country. It broke our hearts but I try not to think of how their lives ended but rather what they left behind. We moved from that area when I was about 12 and had much more success with our puppies.
Gyspy, Sugar, and Shakely. I seriously believe I remember every dog I ever had.
The loss of each one of them didn’t hurt any less than the last. The last dog I had before I moved to Kentucky was a little Mini Pincher mix named Murdoch. He didn’t make it and passed away. At that time, it hurt so much to see him hurting. I couldn’t handle it any longer. For a very long time, I decided that I’d not have any more animals because it hurt too much to see them pass away like that.
So, to the point of this particular blog.
A few years later, I met my husband and moved in with him over two hundred miles away from that little town in Tennessee. We were happy but I felt something was missing. My landlord happened to have a little Chihuahua named Kiwi and asked us if we could babysit her while she went out of town for a few days. Of course, we said yes and the joy that little one gave us over that weekend made us want more. I mentioned this to April and she just nodded with a sly little smirk. A few days later she came back with this very tiny boy in her arms. He was so skinny and had his teeth missing from previous people hurting him, knocking out his teeth. She asked if we still wanted a dog and we took him, no questions asked.
Over the next few weeks, Ratt tried to get used to us and he was always flinching and terrified. Whoever had him before, I’d really like to ask them why the need to hurt such a small little thing. Makes no sense.
I worked third shift at the time and was off, so my sleeping was so very messed up any way. I came to bed and Ratt was there. I must have scared him and he lunged at me, ready to fight. When he realized who I was, he whimpered and ran into the living room to hide under the end table. I reached and got him, his little body bracing to be hit.
I didn’t hit him.
I took him in my arms and held him so tight, hugging him. I’m not ashamed of this – I cried. I let the waterworks fall and I promised this little guy I would NEVER raise a hand to him. I’ve kept that promise eight years later.
I won’t hurt him. He’s gotten better and he trusts us so much more now. He curls up to my side. But what really brought him out of his shell was a Snoopy.
When I first got her, she fit in my hand completely. I can’t believe that’s been nearly five years ago this May. She was still small at the time and needed extra care when we first got her. I had to mix up her puppy formula and the only way I could get her to eat was by pouring it in my hand, where she would lap it up.
Ratt is highly protective over her. She’s definitely brought him around and he’s very outgoing compared to when we first got him. In fact, the day I brought her home in her shoebox, it was time for his walk. He normally likes to take extremely long walks but not that day. He went outside to his tree, did his business, and rushed back to the apartment door to get back in. When Gary and I let him back in, he rushed back to the bed to check on her and started cleaning her. It was so adorable and makes me smile.
Adding on our cat Tony, which we adopted from the shelter, was no problem. The three of them are inseparable.
So, the point to all of this?
I went for a few years there where I swore to stop that heartbreak of watching my beloved animals die. Then, Ratt came along and he needed me. Snoopy needed me and Tony had to get out of that cage. He’s over twenty pounds and needs the leg room.
I’ll never forget the dogs… to tell you the truth… I don’t really even like calling them that. To me, they’re so much more. They are family. The incredible thing about them is that no matter who you are, what you are, how you look – they accept you, no questions asked. But no. I’ll never forget any of them. They all hold a special place in my heart and life.
I dread the day that something happens to my little ones. I wish I had some magic potion to ensure they live a very long time. But, I will keep that away from my thoughts and cherish the moments I have with them now.
Also, I’d like to thank all of my past companions for protecting, loving, and being there when I needed them. I’ve spent many times crying on the shoulder of one my furry children.
They do listen.
P.S. Never be afraid of moving on if you’ve lost a beloved furbaby. I guarantee you, there is one out there that needs you. And if you think about, don’t you need them?