Posts Tagged ‘death’

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Lindsey the Amazing Rescued Dog

September 14, 2013

Today we buried our sweet Lindsey girl.

This has been a rough, leaky week, as our furry family member declined rapidly. She took her last breaths Friday morning and we are comforted to know she’s no longer in pain.

Her life was hard. Who knows what abuse she endured before she was rescued? We know she ran away from her previous owners and was found with a rope tied around her neck. Her hocks were worn and bloody (indicative of being tied up on a short leash, likely on concrete) and she exhibited signs of being beat about the head. Her teeth were worn or broken, likely from trying to chew wood or chain. When we got her from Furry Friends Rescue at what they thought was about seven years old, she’d been with wonderful foster parents for about six months. They told us what a sweetheart she was, and they were right. This is her picture from Furry Friends’ Web site that captured my heart the moment I saw her:

Lindsey immediately after being rescued

Lindsey, a short time after being rescued.

We brought her home on a bright sunny, summer day, with her Aunt Diane in the back seat comforting her during the transition. Once home we discovered she didn’t know “normal dog things.” She didn’t know how to climb stairs, wouldn’t walk on hard indoor surfaces, and didn’t know how to play. It took a few days, but she learned the stairs with some coaxing.

Day one: Afraid of stairs.

Day one: Afraid of stairs.

Giving it a try.

Giving it a try.

Her first success without coaxing.

Her first success without coaxing.

Ours is likely the first back yard she’d ever been free to roam. In little time she discovered squirrels that she chased and barked at, tunneling under the deck after other critters, and climbing in my garden.

Running free and safe.

Running free and safe.

She loved the squirrels.

She loved the squirrels.

AND my garden. :-)

AND my garden. 🙂

We buried our sweet girl today deep under the same spot in my garden she used to love to dig. The alstromeria, from my father-in-love’s garden, will remind me of her daily.

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“Rest in Peace.”

Lindsey turned out to be THE BEST little road trip dog. She loved long road trips up to my mom’s in Washington, a 10-12 hour drive. Then when we got to mom’s she settled in like it was her second home. She loved the back yard with all its space and new critter smells.

Chillin' on I-5.

Chillin’ on I-5.

There are REALLY cool smells on the other side of this fence.

There are REALLY cool smells on the other side of this fence.

And I'm going to sit here until I discover what it is!

And I’m going to sit here until I discover what it is!

She was also an amazing companion. When I had major surgery a couple of years ago I slept downstairs and walked slowly and with pain for the first several days. Lindsey-girl slept right at my feet and if I got up, she would slowly walk right beside me. She never left my side. You just knew she knew I hurt. Until she got too weak to climb stairs she was my constant shadow. Then this week, when she was the invalid, I slept downstairs and helped her get up and walk, or just caressed her when she was beyond rising.

Always watching out for me.

Always watching out for me.

And I watched out for her.

And I watched out for her.

Good friends of Lindsey visited often this past week, taking time to share their love with her one last time and say goodbye. My besties brought flowers that continue to brighten my day and remind me that good friends share the sad times as well as the good times. Dozens of friends have left the kindest messages on Facebook. The commonness of loving and losing canine companions is evident in the heartfelt sincerity of their words.

Auntie Diane was there at the very beginning, and here at the end.

Auntie Diane was there at the very beginning, and here at the end.

Bright flowers on a dark day.

Bright flowers on a dark day.

More flowers today, from Lindsey's second mom.

More flowers today from Lindsey’s second mom.

Now the house is quiet and neat. My strong husband quietly gathered her beds, bowls, collars, and blankets while we waited for the mobile vet to arrive. The presence of these things would surely add to my grief, yet their absence is still new and strange.

Lindsey's favorite blanket and pillow. She LOVED to burrow in her blanket.

Lindsey’s favorite blanket and pillow. She LOVED to burrow in her blanket.

Jay built her a raised food bowl when her hips got weaker.

Jay built her a raised food bowl when her hips got weaker.

Dr. Marianna Juergens could not have been more compassionate when she arrived with her colleague. They sat with us and fading Lindsey, until we were ready. They were gentle, patient and kind. They were liberal with hugs afterward. After their departure, and my husband and I had a good cry, we prepared to carry on with the rest of the day. The doorbell rang and my sweet next-door neighbor was on the step to give more hugs. She’d seen the mobile vet leave and, a rescued dog lover herself, could empathize and wanted to share in the sorrow. Her kindness lifted some grief and I was comforted yet again.

We thought we’d have our four-legged friend for more than three years. We learned from our wonderful vet recently that she was likely at least 12 now, rather than 10. Still too young to die, but we are so grateful for the time we had. She was the sweetest, gentlest dog, literally changing “non-dog people” into those who wanted to find one just like her!  She leaves us and so many others with the best memories. I grieve for the pain she experienced for the first several years of her life, and the last few days of her life, but am SO glad we were able to redeem some of the “lost years” and make her final years on earth happy and filled with joyful experiences.

Lindsey giving joy to mom and daughter besties.

Lindsey giving joy to mom and daughter besties.

Lindsey loved everyone, especially the ones that loved her.

Lindsey loved everyone, especially the ones that loved her.

She loved to give kisses.

She loved to give kisses.

She especially loved her "dad."

She especially loved her “dad.”

But he didn't much care for cats on her special blanket.

But she didn’t much care for cats on her special blanket.

Road trips were her favorite.

Road trips were her favorite.

She eventually learned to share with others.

She eventually learned to share with others.

I like to think that I’ll see her again. Regardless, it’ll be a very long time before these wonderful memories fade.

She was an amazing part of the family. We will miss you, Lindsey!

She was an amazing part of the family. We will miss you, sweet Lindsey girl!

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Jenny

November 19, 2010

 

She was my best friend. Pretty sure she was the best friend I’ve ever had. I am older now and making new and deeper friendships, and had she lived, and had we reconnected, we would certainly be the epitomy of earthly friendship.

But let me explain.

We met at 19. Two young, immature, (THIN), fun girls, crazy for Jesus and crazy for each other. WE-JUST-CLICKED. From day-one. It didn’t matter that the controlling church in which we met tried to rule our lives and the limits of our friendship, somehow we found a way around and through that. It was a weird and wonderful time.

Then she moved. Away. To California. And left me there in Hawaii. I pretended to be happy for her. But I was devastated. She was pregnant, I had an infant. She had to go; I had to stay. Serving in the military is like that. Hard. We were in the Air Force, they were in the Army. (She was with me when my daughter was born. And I mean WITH ME. Friends do that.)

So fast forward a couple of years. My husband and I leave the military and take a job with an airline company in the San Francisco Bay Area, near Jenny and her family. It’s a GOD THING. We reconnect. Our kids grow up together, are homeschooled together, in and out of each other’s cars and houses.  We attend the same church. We are once again inseparable.

Then the unthinkable happens. People who you think are “good” are not. Leaders in the church twist things; manipulate. It’s not right, hopefully it doesn’t occur often, but it happens. And it happened to us. It happened to me and it was me.

Here’s the great regret in it all: As close as we were, we let the “authority” of the church dictate the way in which we responded (or more correctly, did not respond) to each other. She believed one thing and I believed another and neither one of us felt like we could just pick up the phone and say, “WTH?!?!?”  Now: I wish I would have. I SO WISH I WOULD HAVE!

I missed out.  On a lot. Not only the high school years of our daughters together, the maturing of ourselves as sisters in Christ and aging physically, but the final knife: Her illness and early passing, of which I had no part. After she moved on to a better place I heard later that some old “friends” were “there” for her in her last weeks, but she wished they weren’t; I heard that she had a different perspective on things. Rumors only to me now: I have to wait to see her in a few years to really know.

But the weeks I was out of town while she was suffering, while her memorial service was held, were very conflicting for me. I wanted to see her while she was alive. I wanted to honor her after her passing. But so many “others” were in the way. I hadn’t yet fully known or understood what caused the canyon between us.

Then came FaceBook. And some mutual friends with whom I reconnected, who set me straight on more than a myriad of things; more things than (to this day) I can fathom. It is so sad that we believe things that aren’t true. It is so sad that we assume things that aren’t so. It is so sad that we don’t ask, seek, probe, learn, love. I lost because I did not do these things. Neither of us did these things.

Yet one thing I know: I will see Jenny again. We will likely hold each other tight, but not so tight that we cannot dance with delight. And all the while we will laugh: The kind of laughter that rarely happens between friends but often happened between us. I remember it well and I hope to repeat it often in the eternal years to come and the friendship ultimately sustained because God is GOOD and He knows we should have always been friends. And, I really think He liked the sound of our laughter.

Jenny: I would say that I love you more than you could ever know, but you now know more than I ever could. So, I will just say that I love you, and I am sorry.

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Sunset of a Life

February 17, 2010

Beside the swollen river
Naked willows bend to drink.
A loon sounds in the distance
As I sit alone and think.

Many seasons I have spent here
On this little patch of land;
Praying for a myriad,
Pouring water on these hands.

It is the end of winter,
And so, too, perhaps, for me.
But as it is with seasons
Brand new life is yet to be.

If I should fall asleep here,
Never more to wake again;
‘Tis only this old body,
Not the soul that is within.

And when I meet my Maker
I pray He will say to me:
“Well done, My faithful servant,
Home now, for eternity!”