Life After Tweed

My family seems so small now.

I’m sure to those of you with one or two dogs I sound like a crazy person, but I can’t begin to tell you how pervasive the thought “where did everyone go?” is right now in my household.  First Rhumba got adopted, two weeks ago, and though she wasn’t mine, she was with us long enough to notice her missing.  Then I lost Tweed and I can’t begin to tell you what a gaping hole he leaves in his wake.  God but I miss him.  Nobody attacked the vacuum cleaner this week.  I didn’t have to tell anyone to “get out of the shot!!”  What am I going to do with the cardboard paper towel tubes now?

I thought Tweed was going to live forever.

But now my pack is divided into perfect duos; two border collies, two whatever-WooTWoo-ares, two terriers and two Littles.  No odd man out, no compact fluffy red beast huffing at me, making his own path through the world.  Last Thursday morning he got the zoomies in the yard and cavorted around all over the place like a puppy.  And on Monday he was gone.  It beggars belief.

Although this doesn’t make a whole lot sense either.

And really, this never did.

(As I forced him to wake up from his nap in the sun and pose for a family portrait, he stole the Chuck-It as revenge)

Regionals was, as you can imagine, ruined for me.  I couldn’t run Spring with my best boy dying.  I am sure she felt the stress – first run on the line and she did two obstacles and then peed in the ring (automatic elimination).  We simply left the event after that, as neither of us were having any fun.

Clearly, she’s over it now.

I went back the next day to get all my stuff, and brought Tweed with me so he could say goodbye to his friends.  I had a bucket list planned for him for my vacation – swimming at a real beach, playing at agility class one more time, an ice cream cone all for him, with a cheeseburger chaser … I didn’t know he had only one more day.  We didn’t get to do any of those things.  On his last day, he didn’t want the ice cream.  And there were so many tears.  Many of my friends have known Tweed his whole life, or near enough to make no matter.  Many of you have “known” him for a decade or more.  And he was just that kind of dog; you couldn’t not like Tweed.  You couldn’t not be sad when he died.

Unless you are my other dogs, none of whom seem to notice he’s missing.  I brought his body back for them to see, and only Piper seemed concerned. The rest of the assholes just seemed grossed out, and Addy walked all over him – something she desperately wanted to do when he was alive, but he’d have eaten her for her trouble.  I have heard some dogs grieve for their fallen comrades. I apparently do not know any of those dogs.

For them, bless ’em, life just keeps pushing irrepressibly forward.

I’m carried along in the wake of their enthusiasm for just about everything.  And I’m glad of it.  Tweed didn’t understand sad.  We did his bucket list for him this week – we went real swimming.  We went to agility practice.  We did NOT all get individual ice cream cones because that’s too many ice cream cones, but I ate a sundae in his honor.

And now vacation is over and I go back to work, and every day gets just a little bit easier to bear.

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Thank you for all your condolences.  I read every one.

My friend Keryn owns a knitting store called Farm Fairy Fibre in Pitt Meadows.  She has taken to dying her own yarn, and came up with a lovely dark red/burgundy colour that she asked if she could name “Tweedles.”

yarn

Knitting is not one of the skills I possess, but if you do, buy a length of it and make something whimsical.  Tweedles would have loved it :)

I miss you, buddy.

Comments

  1. Suzanne says:

    I am one who knew Tweed only from your blog, and i have to say, my first reaction to reading that he was gone was – oh no! – but i didn’t get to say goodbye! Crazy, i know, but a testament to your writing and images that i could feel so connected. We are greiving with you…

  2. I’m so effing sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine putting your pack back together after a vacancy of Tweed’s size. You will carry on but Dog, it must be hard. The pups will circle around and fill in the whole as much as they can, and you should let them. Tweeds only come along once in a gazillion years, but sweet mutts do help with the ache. They will help.

  3. Again I am so sorry……

    If you don’t mind me asking, do you still have little Gemma? I think that was her name.

  4. Nancy Westrell says:

    I’m so sad to hear that Tweed is gone. I had met him a couple of times, he was a wonderful gentledog. Know that you’ll miss him terribly! Hugs from Fridley – and me!

  5. Your special boy will be missed by many :-(

  6. Been following the wootube for ahem years. We live a continent apart, but I imagine I would recognize most of your dogs on sight. Not just from the pics, bit the well written stories.
    I have two aging sport dogs, time is not passing them by. A crooked ear here, a scar there, knees that go click with greater frequency.
    They know your every mood, they understand every preparation. They live to be with their person. I try to prepare, but not dwell on it.
    I appreciate your sharing the good and the not so good. It helps to be able to maintain context. Thank you. And Godspeed,Tweedles.

  7. Cherries J says:

    I knew Tweed only by your photos and writing and here I am moved to tears by his loss again. I feel so sad for your heartbreak. Thank you for sharing him all these years. Your blog is like getting a letter from a friend.

  8. Oh, man, I miss you, too buddy…..

  9. I have no words . . . but send you much sympathy.

  10. Christine says:

    I admit to crying when I saw via Facebook and your blog that Tweed had left us. I only met Tweed once when I came to Vancouver years ago and met you and the Three Woofs and a Woo crew. Tweed was a noble gentleman and a knucklehead. The red dogs leave big holes in our hearts.

    Words can never express what we feel at times of great loss. Know only that Tweed brought a ton of joy to my life and many others through you. Thank you for sharing him with us. Much love from Seattle.

  11. Just like I did when I read the post that you’d lost him, I’m sitting here stroking my devoted Aussie while he worries over my tears. I remember when you lost your other Red Dog . . . so many friends . . . not long enough . . . .

  12. Robin L. says:

    I may have known him only from your blog but I could tell how special Tweed was. I’m glad you and the other four-foots have honored his memory by living out his bucket list for him.

  13. Damn you, you made me cry again. I miss my girl, and now I miss Tweed – I both love and hate you, and I never met you. I’m going to hug my remaining old dog and eat Ice Cream while the cats silently judge me.

  14. dinah tprp says:

    What a wonderful tribute from Keryn. But I just can’t get over the beautiful tributes you have given Tweed. My heart really does ache for you. My three are getting old and my husband and I are already dreading it so much. It seems like we are already grieving somehow. I have lost wonderful dogs and it IS one of the difficult things to endure. So, with such a special spirit as Tweed I don’y see how you can stand it. When you said,”There’s no one to attack the vacuum cleaner” I couldn’t help but smile. What a dog! What a great soul! Thank you for letting him into our lives.

  15. dinah tprp says:

    Sorry for the misspelled name-

    Dinah Toro
    Birmingham, AL

  16. Ruth and Gibbs says:

    I’m one of those who have known Tweed his whole life. I remember pix of him as a fuzzy reddish brown and white ball of fur. I remember puppy stories that had me laughing till I cried. I remember muddy pix of Tweed from visits to the beach when you all lived in The Big City. I’ve just always thought of Tweed as being part of the world forever. I’m so sorry that he’s gone, and sorry for the empty Tweed-shaped hole in your life. And I know for sure that you gave him a wonderful life.

  17. Ah, crying again. Losing a dog leaves a big hole in your heart no many how many others you have. I lost my red dog, Koda, to lymphoma 18 months ago – the hole is still there. When I read you lost Tweed, I cried for him, for you, for Koda, and for me. He passed quickly as well, was running in the yard and playing 2 days before he died. It was hard, but at least he didn’t linger on suffering. I’ve followed your blog since the early days on back on the BC boards and was touched by your love and devotion to your Red Dog, Briggs. Please keep blogging so we all can keep loving your dogs from afar! Oh, and love the Tweedles yarn, wish I knitted.

  18. I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ve read your blog for the past 3 or so years not just because I love your pics but because it reminds me of the almost 14 years I was lucky enough to be owned by a border. Reading about their crazy antics and quirks you Tweed and the furry crew make my day. Its never easy loosing a member of the pack so lean on your furry crew they’ll help you through. Take care.

  19. Still so sad for you and mourning for Tweed as well.

  20. So very sorry for the loss of dear Tweed. I know what a huge hole it leaves in your heart. I lost my best buddy Raven a year ago to a sudden cancer. Treasure all those wonderful memories of your years with your best friend, Tweed. He was a noble fellow.

  21. i cried when I read that Tweed had passed. I only knew him from your posts, but it was obvious heat he was a lovely dog and that you two had an I abiding love for each other. That separation is always so hard. My heart aches for you and I hope you are focusing on the great years you shared. Tweed is there with youalways!

  22. Laura in California says:

    Seeing the group pic without Tweed brought me to tears (again). I wanted him to live forever for you and for us too. That sure was a nasty cancer, I’m sorry he didn’t get through the bucket list. How cool that he has his own yarn color named after him, his story gets to live on – through knitting! Hang in there, you’ve got a great group of friends and your pack to keep you going.

  23. Well, shit. Bawling again. But smiling, too.

  24. Lee Ann says:

    What a beautiful tribute to Tweed. Thanks for sharing him all this time– I have loved all the photos and stories. Sending you hugs and light.

  25. Danielle says:

    So sorry to hear of your loss, but what a beautiful story … the part that really struck me was the response of the other dogs. I think something can really be learned by how quickly the majority of dogs bounce back. Why dwell on the past when there’s an amazing future to still be had!!!

  26. {{{{{{{ hugs. }}}}}}}

  27. What a beautiful tribute. I don’t have the words to adequately express how sorry I am for your loss. Hold Tweed close in your heart. He’ll always be there.

  28. I know you feel bad about the bucket list, but here’s the thing: Tweed had a great life. He got to go to the beach many times. He got ice cream cones. He got to play agility for years. You gave him so many wonderful, great, fun activities during his life. Hundreds of them. So try to let go of the guilt for not having “one last…”. Cherish all the memories and photos of the times you DID have. That’s what helped me when my first dog passed away very suddenly.

  29. Maria Shanley says:

    Dogs do grieve, but I think showing a lot of outward signs is something you see with one half of a bonded pair. I have seen this most recently with my two Huskies – when Prince died almost 2 years ago, I thought Sarah would follow him. She had a rough couple of months, but our other dogs got over it quickly. I have seen before with deaths from cancer that the other dogs seemed almost to expect the loss (maybe could tell by scent). Hugs to you and all your dogs.

  30. suzanne says:

    I was completely shocked when I logged onto your last post having been looking forward to your tales of Regionals and miss spring… shocked because your previous post with the photo of Tweed in the pool was only a week old… and then he’s gone?????
    I have been reading your blog since before you lost Briggs and I always look forward to your wonderful photos and commentary. Please let me know if you have access to my email. I am a lifelong knitter and if you can email me your snail mail I will make something for you in “Tweedles” in his honor.

  31. suzanne says:

    I have thought about you and Tweed a lot over the last several days. My most recent loss was a year and one half ago and I still weep for him. But I lost him the same way you lost Briggs… a couple of years of increasingly frequent vet visits (which he hated)… try this med, try that med, try this remedy, that remedy, this food, that food etc and he hated every minute of it. So even though it was clearly a shock to all of us and probably for you as well, it would seem (from 3000 miles away) that it was certainly better for Tweed to go from zoomies to gone in three days rather than endure a long and protracted illness… not that that is any big consolation.
    Re your other dogs… many years ago I lost a dog who had been sick for quite a while. She was a seriously alpha female and not only did my other dogs notice when she was gone, they were absolutely thrilled… practically breaking out the party hats. Tweed and Piper had been together a long time.
    I know there is another Suzanne who posts here, so if you would like to have something made out of “Tweedles” my email (the one I gave in order to be able to comment here) is the one that starts with the word “animal”.

  32. Andrea/Schnitzie says:

    I’ve cried about Tweed several times this week. Thank you for talking some more about him with us. Tweed was a Great One who will live in many hearts forever.

  33. riosmom says:

    From all I’ve read and experienced, most dogs don’t show grief at the death of a companion – who knows what they feel? My cat would stretch and roll in Max’s favorite spot – missing him or claiming it as finally hers? Gracie, a dog who notices the slightest change in the house, didn’t seem to notice Rio’s absence. Dogs are such mysteries – such wonderful mysteries. Happy for you that you have the dogs to pull you back into the world. Tweed would want that.

  34. Oh my gosh, Tweed… This the first I’ve heard of Tweed’s passing. I saw the title of the latest post and wondered, “What’s happened to Tweed? Oh no…” This page couldn’t load fast enough. Bless you, Tweed, for being brilliant.

  35. I know exactly what you mean. I had 11 dogs and lost 3 within 7 months. All 3 were older (they were rescues so I don’t know their exact ages but the best guesstimates were around 20 yrs each; American Eskimos live a long time) and fairly quiet. Their passing was expected at some point but as each died, a gaping hole appeared in my life. And none of the others missed them in the slightest!! But I do…every day.

  36. Crying again…you know Tweed will always be with you in your heart. Biggest of all hugs to you!

  37. So sorry for your loss. Three tissues in I can finally express my condolences. Why can’t they live forever? Well, I know we wouldn’t want them all to live forever but at least those so close to our hearts!!

  38. Evie Douglas says:

    I still miss my red twin-Tweed girl after 2 years. Reading this post made me cry for the loss of both of them. RIP Tweed, RIP Rosie.

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