Look, A Butterfly!

Today I bought myself a metal chicken at the dollar store.

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It’s nothing special, just a cheap little ornament for the garden and given my affinity for chickens, it seemed like an appropriate and inexpensive pick-me-up on a day I’m feeling a little low.  I stuck it in the box where my runner beans are trying to grow as slowly as possible.  And it’s the weirdest thing … the metal chicken keeps disappearing and showing up somewhere on the lawn.  In this respect, it’s not unlike a real live chicken.  However, it can’t move on its own … this means either it’s MAGIC, or somethievingorangedog keeps stealing it from its roost.

While at the dollar store, I also bought the dogs a giant soft flying disk with a big butterfly on it.  It’s didn’t last very long, because it was cheap.  But the BEST thing about it was how pissed off it made every single dog, because it was awkward and nearly impossible for them to carry, which you can totally tell in the photos.

Seriously?

You like seeing me suffer, don’t you?

This is the only time I’m retrieving it.  After this one, you can suck it.

I try and I try to be a good boy, and you repay me with this bullshit.

I am SO over The Food Lady.  Her and her stupid metal chicken can blow me.

There was an even bigger one; I think I’m going to go back and get that one and torment my dogs some more :)

Greeeeaaaaat.  Thanks.

I was looking through old photos of Tweedles as a puppy, because I am having an acute attack of Want-A-Puppy-Real-Bad-isis.  Currently I am obsessed with this working bred cutie who is, of course, located in Serbia, of all places:

serbia puppy

(The Internetz tells me that it will cost between “$70 and $1000″ to ship a puppy from Serbia, which is less than helpful)

He was *the* cutest puppy in the world.  I wish I had a DSLR back then (did they even exist yet?) because I have only a handful of photos of him that I am pretty sure I scanned into the computer, and he presented so many opportunities for adorable photos.  This one was from the first time he went to the beach, when he was just 7 weeks old.  He walked right into the water because he thought it was a solid surface, and he was right pissed off when he sank.

Playing with a giant ferret!  I had really ugly furniture back then!

But this is one of my favourite pictures of Red Dog “eating” Tweed.  This was shortly after Briggs decided he didn’t want to murder Tweed and that he was fun to play with.  Considering Briggs spent much of his life on a mission to destroy other dogs, the fact that he played with this itty bitty vulnerable puppy belly so sweetly is an amazing memory to have.

I expected it to feel weirder without him around, but it doesn’t feel all that different.  Maybe it’s because there are so many other little faces popping up and down for attention, but I’m not looking for him, or forgetting he’s not here any more or any of those sorts of post-loss experiences that I thought would happen.  When I think about him, I’m often sad, but its not hitting me in the gut over and over again on a regular basis.

This in turn makes me feel bad.  I worry I’m grieving *wrong* – shouldn’t this be so much worse?  The problem is I’m a “thinky” person – even in the middle of feeling sad, I think about it instead of giving into it.  A friend of mine, upon hearing from her vet that her beloved dog had terminal cancer and had very little time left, SLUGGED HER VET!  She screamed at her and then punched her.  I LOVE this story – not because I think we should go about assaulting our veterinarians when they give us terrible news (don’t worry Dr. Jeff, I won’t ever pop you one!), but because I love how much passion she had for her dog, and how thoroughly she could give into those emotions.  It’s just not in me to do that.  It was hard enough to cry in front of the clinic staff and my friends.

So that’s why, when yesterday I received this amazing gift in the mail at work, I was so very surprised.

necklace

 

This is from one of my readers, Fay, and came along with a lovely card expressing her condolences for Tweed’s passing, and it looks just like him, ears and smile and all.  An ACO dropped off the package, so I opened it rather idly, thinking it was something I had ordered for work.  And when I opened the little box and saw what was inside, I burst into tears.

As I was in the middle of completing the adoption of a dog to a woman (she was doing some paperwork when I opened the box), it was a bit of a shocker for everyone.  I told her I had just lost my 15 year old dog, and she started crying too, and gave me a big hug.  And all my staff stood around with their mouths agape like I had just started singing an aria from Carmen or something.

My friends have been amazing, and have surrounded me with lots of love around the loss of my boy.  And you readers have sent so many wonderful condolences and memories of Tweed stories that stuck with you.  Work paid for Tweed’s cremation so I could keep him with me.  Aldergrove Animal Hospital gave me a clay paw print they made right after he died.

pawprint

The Sadist, and my Bestie Fiona, and Auntie Corey all paid for Dexter to enter the pre-qualifier for Nationals because he had to miss Regionals and I’m broke (vet bills).  I am lucky.  I am blessed.

But this was the most amazing gift, Fay, not only because it’s beautiful and it means I get to keep Tweed close to my heart at all times, but because it gave me the gift of raw, honest emotion.  I cannot thank you enough for this amazing present.  Thank you so much!

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.

An Honest Dog

My good dog Tweed died today.  He got a swift and ugly cancer, and he was hurting, so I let him go.

I have no words of eloquence for my good dog.  He was a simple dog, and so I mourn his loss simply and without fanfare.  He was honest.  When he had an opinion, he shared it. When he had a feeling, he let it be known.  And when it was his time to die, he asked me to let him go.

I know what loss is – I feel it keenly now.  I know what luck is, because I was lucky that he was my dog for *exactly* 15 years.  I know what love is, because we shared love deeply.  We grew into one another, and although his body is gone, we will never be apart.

Thank you to all my friends at the Regionals that I could not participate in, who shed a tear and hugged him goodbye, because he inspired that kind of fondness in people who were not his own.  Thank you to Auntie Heather, for taking care of the bits that I could not.  Thank you to Auntie Kim for the roast chicken that was the last food he ate.  And thank you to Dr. Jeff Bowra, for releasing from his painful body.

Thank you Tweed, for being part of my very soul.

Valar morghulis.  Dogs too.  Even mine.

Tweed May 6th 2000 – June 8th 2015.