Sunday, June 14, 2009

Moving On: The last Lucky post (perhaps)

My friends, (including the bloggy "imaginary" ones), coworkers, family and extended family have been totally awesome as I have spent a fitful, sleep-deprived, starving week of missing my precious Lucky. This will be my last post about him, as I am determined to live with the wonderful memories and not dwell in misery.

Move on.

I never thought I would miss him so much, particularly since his last few days he was
struggling so. But with Ron Burgundy always working evenings, it has been Lucky and me, just the two of us, all the time for nearly 15 years. In his able years, evenings were our walk time, snuggle in bed time, discipline time, bite realtors in the crotch bark at the doorbell time. Remember, he was terrified of people who wore sunglasses.

These last few months it was simply nurse and patient. Loving, palliative care given by former. Looks and gestures of sincere appreciation by latter.

It was a bond that was all too familiar, as so many of these interactions conjured up thoughts of my dad as he lived out his final years in the throes of Alzheimers. I think my dad always knew more than he was able to communicate. I could see it in his eyes.

There were some real God moments that got me through this week.

Lucky put his head back and looked me straight in the eye as his pupils dilated,
his heart thumped its last beat, and he crossed to the Rainbow Bridge. That puddle of pee was probably his final hurrah for me, too. But in that moment, his cataract-covered eyes became that deep chocolate brown again and appeared instantly healed. I didn't think much of it at the time. It was probably just a physical change that was occurring as life left his frail body. I was too selfishly distraught at that time to cry out to God and thank him for eternal healing of those beautiful expressive eyes.

We bundled Lucky up like a baby in one of the boys' old bedspreads to bring him home to his resting place. The vets and their staff, all teary and compassionate, ushered us out the back door to the truck. When we got in, Ron Burgundy's lip trembled a bit as he recollected what a loyal friend Lucky had been. I slowly uncovered Lucky's precious face and held him like a baby. "The tumor on his nose seems like it's hardly there," I offered. I'm not sure RB was paying attention. I stroked Lucky's ears and nose all the way home, and we proceeded to dig his final place of rest.

RB went back to the garage to get a different shovel, and sitting beside the lifeless bundle, I lifted the bedspread back one more time. His face was so perfect. I stroked his ears. His open brown eyes did not freak me out in the least. They were clear and beautiful.

And then I stroked his nose. His perfect nose.

I swear, as God is my witness, there was no tumor there.

I didn't say anything to RB and we proceeded with the burial, but the vision of that perfect nose will forever stay with me. A few hours later when talking to my son's girlfriend, I told her. Good ole Rachel, she got to be the first one to bear the brunt of my post-mortem meltdown crazies. I hesitantly told her about the tumor being gone.

"He's healed now," she said. And she didn't think I was crazy at all.

Yesterday, a letter arrived from my mom who is up at her trailer on the river summer home in Wisconsin. She had run across a disposable camera with expired film that she decided to get developed last week. She included three pictures that were on that film.

We have no idea when they were taken, at least a year ago, but what a bittersweet thing to receive them. Just another God thing - she never really wanted to waste film on the dog.

Wasn't he beautiful? Look how his ears are perked up! That was his healthy self.

Almost as healthy as he is now as he is perfectly healed.

No. More. Tears.

Tea tonight: Genmaicha


Alix said...

Maybe no more tears for you, but you still have me crying like a baby.

I am so strongly bonded with you through this experience, Candy, because I know my time is coming with Augie. He's fifteen, and although miniature Dachshunds can live to a very ripe old age (the Guinness Book of World Records oldest living dog title belongs to Chantel, a 21 year old Dachshund) the inevitable will happen. I just don't know how I will bear it. Augie is every bit as much a real family member as the rest of us, and watching him age and get rusty is heartbreaking. Augie too has those cloudy cataract eyes and white face. For now, he remains healthy and has pep in his step, but for how much longer? Can't say. We hope and pray he'll be around for a good long time, but we also know that his quality of life is of the utmost importance. When it is kinder to let him go, we will. For now though, he is fast asleep in bed snoring soundly. I wish everyone could have the kind of connection we have had with our beloved pets. There is no question that it makes us better people to love our animals with reckless abandon. For that is exactly the way they love us back.

My thoughts are with you, Candy. I love and admire your strength and the beautiful way you have imortalized Lucky in our minds.

Thank you.

Annie K said...

Awww Candy....What awesome pictures of that big ol' Lucky Dog.

Beth E. said...

Like Alix, I am crying, too! What a sweet post about Lucky. He was truly blessed to be in such a loving home, part of such a wonderful family. I know he was a blessing to YOU, too.

Praying for you, my friend...

Helen said...

Very awesome pictures of a very awesome dog.

Beth in NC said...

I can hardly see through my tears to leave a comment. I am so sorry about your loss Candy. ;o( Pets truly are a part of the family.

I pray God will comfort you as you spend evenings alone.


Steph @Red Clay Diaries said...

Awwwwww... Yes, you had me sniffling too. Such a tough transition for you. I'm glad for the little gifts God gave to ease it a bit. said...

What a special companion your dog has been to you. It is sad reading of this void in your life.

How awesome that his eyes and nose were healed at his last moment. comfort.

Take care of you.


Vicky said...

Ohhhhh, I just clicked over from Gitz's... what a beautiful tribute!! I'm so touched by your words. We face this soon ourselves, and my heart is breaking over it. So sorry for your loss! My Dakota is 12, almost 13 and having good and bad days, but we're treasuring them so!

What a beautiful dog Lucky is, and such a fitting name, they do make us lucky, don't they? Hugs to you during this sad time. I wish you many fond memories!!

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