Missing My Duffy

“Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really.” 

Agnes Sligh Turnbull

Last Monday marked the one year anniversary of the day I said good-bye to my Duffy.

I miss him.

I miss the way he shared time spent on each of our laps, his twisting and turning when he was excited and happy, his well-disguised Alpha persona, his way of barking at something as a diversion tactic in order to get his preferred resting spot, his lazy pace on our walks, and most of all, his Lhasa smell.

My dear Duffy, I know beyond a shadow of doubt you made sure we’d find our Abby Rose. It’s what you always did–took good care of us.

I was and am one very lucky human. Thank you, little man, I love you.

 “It may be a cat, a bird, a ferret, or a guinea pig, but the chances are high that when someone close to you dies, a pet will be there to pick up the slack. Pets devour the loneliness. They give us purpose, responsibility, a reason for getting up in the morning, and a reason to look to the future. They ground us, help us escape the grief, make us laugh, and take full advantage of our weakness by exploiting our furniture, our beds, and our refrigerator. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Pets are our seat belts on the emotional roller coaster of life–they can be trusted, they keep us safe, and they sure do smooth out the ride.” 

Nick Trout, Tell Me Where It Hurts: A Day of Humor, Healing, and Hope in My Life as an Animal Surgeon

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace be with you, my dear friends.~

 

Little Moments

“It probably wouldn’t last. It never does. But it would come back around again. That’s how life works. And that’s why it’s important to treasure the peaceful times-so you can persevere through the other kind.” 

Jean Ferris, Thrice Upon a Marigold

The past few months have been difficult.

Yesterday I found myself stuck in some tearful moments.

July 1, 2019, marked two months since I said good bye to my precious Ruby and three months since I said good bye to my little man, Duffy.

I was sad.

As the tears flowed,  I missed them both even more because that would have been the time when they’d worm their way close to me and find some goofy way to cheer me up. Just simply leaning against my leg or pulling at my shoe string would make me smile.

I miss them.

Every single day, I miss them.

Today, I sat and watched and laughed at the outlandish spirit of our Abby and thanked God for the strength of our twelve year old, Bud.

What I’m discovering is the empty place in my heart is pulling in all the little things I never would have noticed. I would have been too busy to sit and watch Abby race around the yard and Bud patiently waiting for her to “do her business.” Watching a puppy push their limits, learning how to climb and jump and trust you to always be there for them.

Retirement has given me the gift of time. My awareness of the magnitude of this blessing grows stronger daily.

Dear God, 

I thank you for the growth in the awareness of my many blessings.

I am grateful for the expanding gift of patience which allows me to take time to actually see the many layers my gifts often contain. 

God, thank you for the many loving souls surrounding me and the sweet memories of those who are with you now.  

I ask you to send your angels to comfort those who have also lost loved ones.  May they find solace in your love and continue to heal knowing they are never alone.  Amen.

Barbara Jo Burton Hibdon

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace be with you, my friends.~

Resting

“He died that day because his body had served its purpose. His soul had done what it came to do, learned what it came to learn, and then was free to leave.” 

Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain

It’s been especially quiet in Hibdonville today–the three of us are hanging close and resting.

Parts of yesterday are a blur but this orchid remains a powerful reminder of an important part of the day.

We’d been watching this flower start its blooming process for weeks. For days, this flower looked like it would explode. Early yesterday morning it did exactly that!

While I was marveling at the vibrant colors, my heart skipped a little beat. I knew at that moment Duffy, in typical Prince of Royal Court fashion, sent that burst of energy to us.

Duffy was telling Michael and I he was waiting for Ruby. It was time for us to get ready for a very different walk.

Duffy and Ruby had always waited for each other during our walks.  As we leashed everyone up, Duffy would be nipping at Ruby’s legs, trying to speed her up and Ruby would be waiting for Duffy at each and every corner because Duffy had only one walking speed–slow.

It was such warm and comforting memory on this dark and gloomy day. Sometimes God works in very subtle ways.

“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” 

Anne Lamott

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

 

A Change of Worlds

There is no death. 

Only a change of worlds. 

~Chief Seattle

Today, my friend, Judi, and her husband, Ernie, said good-bye to their beloved Nina.

I met Nina for the first time nearly two years ago.  Judi and I had compared dog notes for sometime before I actually met Nina and her younger sister, Ira. I knew Nina had been struggling and had certain expectations set in my mind. I was 100% wrong.

The gray-faced dog greeting me at the door both surprised and impressed me by her agility and determination. It was if she was telling me she may be old but she was still a lady and a competent, gracious hostess.

In one short run to the door, Nina won my heart and my admiration.

I am grateful for the bravery she taught me and how she showed me to just forge on. I will remember her every morning when I “chat” with Judi as remind myself I do not need to ask about Nina because I know she is at peace.

Those of us who are lucky enough to have dogs or had dogs in our lives know a dog gives you some of the best days of your life but also one of the hardest ones.

I think part of the dog’s magic is their ability to erase those pain filled last days with the more vivid memories of their crazy, mischievous ones. Come on, I know you know exactly what I’m talking about–those chewed up remote controls, shoes, brief cases, and dinners cooling on the table when you turned your back for just a second. Those things that made you crazy and endangered their very existence.

These and many more are the memories that will bring slow smiles to your face and a much needed lightness to your heart–

It’s true—

When I come to you in dreams,

I’m really there.

When you see me out of 

The corner of your eye, 

I’m really there.

When you ‘sense’ me

Around the place, 

I’m really there.

I haven’t left you, not really.

My spirit is everywhere,

But especially with you. 

~Author Unknown

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~

 

 

 

A Very Large Paw Print

“People leave imprints on our lives, shaping who we become in much the same way that a symbol is pressed into the page of a book to tell you who it comes from. Dogs, however, leave paw prints on our lives and our souls, which are as unique as fingerprints in every way.” 

Ashly Lorenzana

Every year when Halloween approaches, I think of my dog, Fanny.

I’ve written about Fanny before–I think it was Halloween last year when I shared the story about how she disappeared from our backyard.

Fanny was my first dog and the soul who comforted me after my Mom died. When my stepmother joined our family, Fanny was one of the first things to go.

Sadly, I never knew why she disappeared–I went in search of her for days and days–especially on Halloween when I knew people could be mean to animals. It was weeks later when the phone rang. I raced to answer the phone–being a teenager I was certain it had to be one of my friends. As I listened, I heard a very nice woman tell me she had just adopted our dog–my dog–from the Waterloo Humane Society. She needed to know if she was current with her shots?

My heart broke into so many pieces.

Part of me was happy because I knew Fanny would never leave me. But…I also learned, in a flash, people and things are not always as they seem.

On that Saturday afternoon, I lost my trust in most adults.

For some reason Fanny has been on my mind. Maybe it’s because our oldest dog, Bud has been following me closely the past few days. His intense gaze reminds me of Fanny–maybe she is visiting?

That thought, my friends, is very comforting.

Thanks, Fanny. I love you always.

“The very best thing about dogs is how they just know when you need them most, and they’ll drop everything that they’re doing to sit with you awhile.” 

Steven Rowley

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

 

 

Tricked

“When no one you know tells the truth, you learn to see under the surface.”
― Cassandra Clare, Lady Midnight  

It was a mixture of drizzling rain and sleet combined with a steady northerly wind, discouraging even the hardiest of trick or treaters. This Halloween I did not have to worry about the weather. I’d been grounded since I’d snuck out a couple of weeks earlier. Honestly, my punishment was tolerable. My homebound isolation was worth every minute it in exchange for the fun and freedom I’d had that exciting, if unwise, night.

I had another worry nagging at me as I stood looking out the back door. Fanny, my big goofy dog, had been missing for over a week. As I’d walked down the alley from school that afternoon, I did not see her waiting for me at the end of the driveway. Sometimes she fell asleep over to the side of the house–but her dog time clock had always been accurate. As I got closer to home, I could see her chain stretched across the drive–she was gone. My dog was gone.

I had begged for a dog forever. As a way of stopping this constant nag, Dad told me a friend of his had puppies she was giving away. If I still wanted a dog, he told me to go up and see if she had any puppies left. Well…I took off–running as fast as I could to her house. What I did not know was Dad had already talked to her and knew she had just given away the last puppy. What he did not know was in the time since he’d talked with her and I got to her house, the person who’d come to pick up that last puppy had changed their mind.

Needless to say, when I got home with that ball of black fur, he was speechless. What could he do? He’d already said I could have the dog. Not only that but by the size of her paws, she promised to be one very large dog. Because of that, she would have to be an outside dog. And–Dad said firmly, her name would be Fanny–named after the lady who chuckled as sent that promised puppy home with me.

The garage became the home of my most loving and loved best friend. I’d head out to talk to her when I was sad or happy or just needed a place to go. For years, she’d always been there for me–until now.

Every minute I was not at school I looked and called for her. Halloween made me very nervous thinking someone could do something mean to her. My searching and calling intensified that night. I finally gave up when the window in the back door began to frost up. Coming through the kitchen Dad and Irene had little encouragement for me–stating the obvious sad facts–if she had not come home by now, someone had probably found her or something had happened to her.

Time moved on. My search continued–until a week or so later.

It was noontime on a warm fall Saturday, our new family unit altogether for lunch when the phone rang. Since I was not grounded from the phone, I rushed off to grab it.

The female voice on the other end asked if this was the Burton residence. I said, yes. She then asked if we were the people who were the previous owners of the black poodle she found at the Waterloo Humane Society? She wanted to make sure that the dog was current with all of her shots.

I don’t remember saying much. I’m sure I was polite and answered her questions. There was so much I wanted to say and ask her–the words would not come–she thanked me and I slowly hung up the phone. I walked back to the kitchen table and told Dad and Irene who had been on the phone and why she had called. The needed to know. That would be all I’d say to anyone for a very long time.

I don’t remember even walking back to the table. I quietly told Dad and Irene who had been on the phone and why they had called. There was no response and Fanny was never discussed again.

Like so many things in my life, Fanny had simply disappeared.

I told myself I now knew Fanny was safe–she had a home–hopefully she had another kid to love and care for–I could stop searching and rest.

One phone call had turned what was left of my world totally upside down.

Yes, my friends, trust is hard-earned and easily, often forever, lost.

And then all of a sudden she changed. She came back a different person with a new mindset, a new outlook, a new soul. The girl that once cared way too much about everyone and everything no longer cared at all. 

I am…

B…simply being…

Love you and wish us all peace.

 

 

 

Prince, Otherwise Known As, Duffy

When you read about the Lhasa Apso breed, you find that some people say there is the spirit of a Dalai Lama in a Lhasa. When you meet Duffy, you will tend to believe that statement.

Michael found Duffy at a time when our oldest Lhasa, Pearl, was pretty sick. She was 14 years old and failing. Honestly, I feel Pearl hung with us and tolerated our intensive care because she did not want to leave Bud with Gracie. Gracie was our rescue dog. Like most rescue animals, she was also older and had her own health issues. As time slide by us, it became obvious Gracie was not going to be a long-term companion for Bud.

Michael found Duffy in an internet ad placed from Utah. What caught his attention was the fact that Duffy and his brother, Andy, were ready to come to us immediately. They were seven months old and had been staying with the breeder waiting for their original owner to recover from breast cancer. Unexpected complications of that surgery forced the owner to make the difficult decision to give them up, opening up the opportunity for us to have an older puppy.

Our main focus was making this change in a way that was easy for both older dogs. After extensive conversations with the breeder, we found a way to get Duffy to our home in Denver.

Duffy arrived at DIA by way of Delta Airlines in his own very roomy dog carrier. Inside the carrier was a new little dog bed, a book of instructions on how to care for him, food, water, and his toys.

Our house became his home immediately. Pearl gave him a sniff and a glance of acknowledgment. Gracie ignored him. Bud taught him how to use the dog door and let him know who was the boss.

Duffy arrived on Tuesday. That Friday, our Vet, Dr. Munger, called to tell me Pearl’s latest bloodwork showed she had severe diabetes.

It was time.

Pearl was ready. As I looked around me, I realized she had retreated into her own space, opening up her corner of this world. She was easing away from all of us while getting her world in order. She was moving on.

I lost another part of my heart that day. I cry as I remember and tell her story. I am grateful we had such great care from our vet and his staff. Pearl was a fighter. She died peacefully in the place where she had fought so many battles. She was finally free of the pain. She will always be one of my biggest and strongest heroes.

From the day he arrived, Duffy has been both the instigator and the peacemaker. He has grown and expanded his own spot in my heart. Oh, don’t be mistaken, he could never ever fill anyone else’s spot–that is impossible. What has happened is he’s smoothed those rough edges by his unconditional acceptance of me. His being has allowed me to be joyful again.

It is the inevitable truth about having a dog. We dog owners know this, but it is a fact we ignore. Yes, ignorance truly is bliss. After walking this road many times before, I now understand that I each day with these special souls is a blessing. I work hard to live each day with this knowledge close at hand.

In the heaven I envision, dogs are on the front line. Well…seriously…of course they are the first souls encountered by anyone coming that way. And yes, they really are at that rainbow bridge spot. In my mind, when a dog dies, there is another dog soul standing in the middle of the rainbow bridge. Each dog is waiting for the other because the dog-in-waiting will soon be on the way to wag his way into the life and heart of the human left behind. That puppy powered with puppy energy and puppy breath will smooch and soothe away the ragged edges of loss.

God understands that it is only another brave, adorable puppy soul who could even attempt to ease the type of pain that comes from the loss of another dog.

For me, Duffy is another champion. He wasn’t waiting for Pearl at the bridge. He knew he had to get a head start because he had some HUGE paws to fill.

I am…

B…simply…being…

Love and peace, Y’all.