Monday, July 31, 2017

LIFE AFTER DUKE: TWO DAYS LATER . . .


We call this picture of him "Sly Duke"
This is an especially difficult Monday for me. When I got up, I felt draggy, tired, and depressed. I'm told that those are classic symptoms of grief. If so, then I have a classic case of grief.

As I sit here at my computer in the office (which also doubles as a guest room), Duke is supposed to be lying on the bed over there as I type. In fact, it was never too long before he came to join me in here from any other part of the house, especially if Clark was outside (which he is now) or off to run errands. I find myself looking over at the bed often, at the spot where Duke always lay: on the right side, just in front of the pillow. I always covered him up with his little blanket that Holly gave him after his back surgery. Of course, I still have that blanket, and I'm going to make it into a pillow.

We still have his collar and his leash, but we gave Holly his toys for Sunny and Bruno. Duke dearly
loved squeaky toys, but he usually "killed" them in five minutes flat! That's a dachshund thing that doxie lovers know well. We also gave Holly his fleece animal print blanket which he loved to chew on--he always did that before he went to sleep. I suppose it calmed him.

His bear, 2007
His stuffed kitty? We buried it with him. We found that black stuffed kitty at a yard sale, figuring that it would be an inexpensive toy for Duke to chew on. But ya know what? He never chewed on it--he
lovingly licked it and didn't like for anyone to have it but HIM. It had gotten a bit smelly from his licking it so much, but I didn't ever wash it (he only had it a few months, anyway). We had no idea when we brought that toy home that it would outlast Duke.


So . . . this is where I am today, two days after Duke left us. The house is too quiet, too stifling, too sad--but I can't muster up the desire to go anywhere or do anything. Oh, Clark has coaxed me out to eat a couple of times (so I wouldn't have to cook and he wouldn't have to clean up the kitchen), but that's about it. I always thought that grieving people should get out, do things, see friends. But that's much easier said than done, my friends. Much easier said than done. I'm told it will get better, and I know it will. I feel better here and there, only to come crashing down in a vale of tears a few minutes later. I know God is in control, I know He is watching over me, and for that I am so thankful--but my heart hasn't yet caught up with what my mind knows is true. I can look out the kitchen window and see Duke and Shadow's graves across the creek. That doesn't make me sad: I recall how much Duke was suffering, and seeing his grave brings some comfort that he IS no longer in pain.

Typical: begging for some
of our food!
But I miss my dawg so much. My constant companion, he was what Clark and I called "a force" - he always knew what he wanted, and always managed to get it! If he was hungry, he'd sit and stare at us. When we looked up, he'd look over toward the kitchen. Being the intelligent humans we are, it didn't take us long to catch on. He'd look at what he wanted. When he was sick those last few days before we realized he needed the hospital, he'd stare at his water bowl (which we had moved into the living room after his back surgery in March). Clark would lift him and carry him over to his water bowl, then bring him back and place him wherever he wanted, which was either my lap or on the couch beside Clark.

Tug-of-war, his favorite thing
(besides food, of course!)

Soon, I know this sadness will be replaced with all the happy times we had with Duke, of which there were thousands, over the ten years he was part of our family. Granddaughter Annika called me last night in tears because she missed Dukie. I comforted her as well as I could, because I knew exactly how she was feeling. That dawg was downright human in his personality and emotions!

I had said, before we even started searching for a dachshund in 2007, that above all, I wanted a dog with personality--not a dog who would just lie around, eat, and sleep. Well, I got the dog I was meant to have, and he gave us far more than we ever dreamed possible. When we visited the dachshund farm that day, the breeder had about a hundred doxies running around and playing in her large yard. We didn't really know about rescue organizations back then, but this breeder had a high rating from the AKC, and all her dogs were well cared for. (Read I AM DACHSHUND, Book 2, to learn more about Duke's adoption). I wanted a black-and-tan boy, just like Shadow, so she took us inside to see Duke, her only black-and-tan male puppy ready for adoption that she had at the time. He licked my hand, then peed on it . . . the rest, as they say, is history. He made me smile every single day. He showed his love to us every single day. And now, I yearn to rub his ears, which he loved, massage his sweet face or back, feel his shiny black coat, or play tug-of-war with him (that scoundrel could nearly pull your shoulder out of the socket he was so strong!). When he looked into my eyes, I saw love, playfulness, joy, humor . . . and finally, suffering. I hope I will soon be able to forget the image of his suffering eyes near the end.

A better day will come soon when I can think of him without tears. I wish I could just skip over the grieving and the sadness, and go directly to happy memories beyond that--but that's not the way it works. I've lost other pets, but none of those losses were as heart wrenching as this one. I have heard this saying all my life: "The deeper the love, the greater the grief." Now I know what it means firsthand.

If you are reading this post, please don't feel sorry for me. I'm not looking for that, honestly. Writing this post helps to express how I'm feeling, and I sincerely hope that someone out there will be comforted because they are grieving, too. God bless all pet owners, because they will all face this moment at some time or other, too.

I am planning on writing a book soon to chronicle my journey through my time following Duke's passing. I want to be a comfort to other grieving pet lovers.

Enjoying the yard when he was healthy
Dachshunds . . . they become a part of your heart, but take it with them when they leave us.

8 comments:

  1. Grief is the hardest journey we go through. Praying for God to give you comfort ❤

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  2. Thank you Connie.

    Grief is not something that has a shortcut. One day I'll be past it. I really appreciate your prayers. Blessings, Mavis

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  3. Thank you, Mavis. Having to lose Oscar this past 19th, I know how you feel. I could see the pain in his eyes also. I saw that "it was time." One of the hardest things to do. He was only about 4 or 5 years old. I put my Sam, 17 yr. old Beagle mix, down in Feb. after I got Oscar. Oscar had malignant anal cancer. A big hug for you.

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  4. Grief is the hardest. I thought when we lost Scrappy last year that I understood grief. I had lost my fiancé when I was 25 (I'm 52 now) and that was gut wrenching for me. Well we lost Molly (a dorkie and a puppy mill breeding dog) last Saturday. She was in pain and suffering. The vet kindly suggested we say goodbye. I'm gutted and miss her! She loved to "hide" under my chair while I was knitting or crocheting. She loved watching me play with yarn. She also loved watching me eat or cook...I think she was hoping for a morsel to drop...lol. I loved and miss my sweet Mollygirl!

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    Replies
    1. Cora, Thank you for sharing, and I'm sorry for your loss, too. Some fur babies are so much closer to us than others, although they are all special. I will pray for you, and thank you for commenting <{{{<

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  5. Sheilagh, I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for your comment--I know you must be grieving, too, but took time to comfort me. I will pray for peace for your heart ��

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  6. As I sit here reading your story, the tears are running down my face. I have 5 of them, and the oldest bonded twins, male and female, will be 12 this month. I hope I can handle their passing when it comes with as much grace and acceptance as your are. You sound like a wonderful lady. God bless you and may you rest assured he will always be by your side - memories give us that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Anonymous,
      I don't know that "acceptance" is the right word for my grief. I am mainly fueled right now by the fact that we did the right thing for Duke by ending his pain and suffering. There are times during the day that I yearn to hold him, cuddle with him, and whisper to him that rverything will be okay. I miss his sweet dogginess.

      When the time comes that you are in my shoes, I pray that the pain you experience will pass quickly. In the midst of my grief, I know God loves me, and as His child, He will get me through it. Thank you for your kind words--I appreciate them more than you know.

      Delete

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