I just burst into tears. I was watching a nature show about arctic animals and their survival skills in the brutal conditions, when on came a huge flock of arctic ducks. Thousands and thousands of them. That's when I broke down. I'd been doing that a lot lately, grieving about Luigi.
For those who don't know, Luigi was our White Peking Duck, that we kept as a pet for over 13 years. He died three years ago, gorging on sunflower seeds, that I didn't know until it was too late that the seeds were deadly for ducks. It was an awful day when Luigi died. Three days after Christmas. He was weak and the only thing that was keeping him alive was we were having a very mild winter. I was trying to hand feed and water him but he would barely do either. Then when the night finally dipped below freezing, he was gone.
I had been trying to come to terms with Luigi's death, when six months later Brut died. Then a year and a half later Silver died. I blamed myself for Luigi eating the littered birdseed from the bird feeder and that if I'd acted sooner or knew better I could have saved him. I have had no desires to get another duck. I couldn't go through that again.
That is up until a couple of months ago...I felt Luigi's spirit and the main point of our conversation was to help me forgive myself. And after I got Luigi's forgiveness, I was able to forgive myself.
I want ducks again.
Which is a huge step. I didn't think I'd ever say that again. Luigi was my first duck and was so very special to me, I didn't know if I could love another duck.
I don't know if it will be this year or next or the next, but I do know a couple of baby duckies are in our future.
Today marks Brut's 2 year and 8 month anniversary. The loss is still real. I miss my boy every day. I still think of him all the time. I suppose that will never really go away.
Our road and our yards are ice again after a mid-February thaw. So we are trying to deal with no walks for the third day in a row. It's hard on everybody.
Sometimes I think about getting a puppy and other times I don't think I could have another dog that wasn't of Brut and Silver's line. So I cherish the four that we have and that is enough for me.
I am on a Siberian Husky Facebook group. It is a bittersweet experience. For the most part all I see is dogs that are not Brut. I rarely stay long, but sometimes for a minute or two it is nice to pop by.
I have been learning how to interact with a shy, fearful dog. It is such an interesting experience and so different to having aggressive dogs. When I starting entered the dog's house, I crouched a bit and turned my face away from the dog as I passed through. That made the dog feel secure (non-threatening) and let the dog know that I knew I was in its house. I do this when the dog is giving her warning howl. Slowly the dog has felt safer with me each time I let it know, she is boss. And now a year later, we are best buds. :)
Anyone remember me telling you that Blaze has a high prey drive? She lives to hunt and goes after anything. And that included Boxer the cat. Wait until you see the next cat blog post...you will simply be amazed!!! Coming soon!
It takes a brave and courageous person to be a dog owner. Caring for them until the end. I know people who will never get a dog again the pain was so intense. And I understand.
That brings us back to our dreary, gloomy day we are having that fits my solace mood and the boy who made everything happen for me. 2 years and 8 months ago today. Love ya, Bruter.
I looked down and was in a mixed state of awe and disbelief. The smallest of the 24 Paws of Love was curled up next to me, with her head resting on my leg. On the couch, no less. Something this little spitfire has only done a couple of times in her short 10 year life. I didn't want to breathe, for it might upset the delicate balance we were experiencing.
It was dog walk time and I was feeling quite down. Too down to go through with the walks. I finally just sat on the couch feeling defeated. When Blaze came over to me and with her soft eyes began to access my pain.
One paw at a time, she ever so gently, got on the cushion next to me. And in one effortless, but swift turn, she spiraled until her head was on my lap.
I found myself at a loss, for words or thoughts. Blaze had done what no other dog had shown to the degree that she was now. She had taken the mother role that Silver had always held. Right at the exact moment when I needed to be nurtured and comforted, Blaze was there. This precious girl not only knew what I needed but how I needed it. She drew out my pain and brought me back to the real. Back to the here and now. She had done it before since her mom, Silver had died, but this was the most direct and obvious she had ever been.
I didn't want to move as I soaked in her healing powers, but with four dogs, sitting for any length of time is short lived. The moment was over, as I watched her walk off the couch. Or was it? Just those few short minutes with Blaze made me feel suddenly energized and refreshed. I felt I could tackle those dog walks. And I did and we had a blast! Still blows my mind the instinct and care that this little girl has and I can't begin to imagine the many more secrets she has up her paw.
Can you believe that? How many of you have experienced something similar? Do you find your females to be more nurturing or motherly? I am still reeling. It took me a week to be able to try and express my feelings about it and I still can't completely grasp it. It was just so precious and beautiful. Tell me dog spelled backwards isn't God!
Our cat Boxer was meant to be here. Little did I know that through all our aggravation we dished out to each other, he was going to teach me a valuable life lesson.
I got Boxer as a kitten, just 22 days after my heart cat, Sparky died. Sparky was my first pet and he was the coolest cat that acted like a dog. He made me love cats like I didn't think was possible and losing him was devastating. He had been through every significant point of my life up until his death. I grieved hard for several year over Sparky before I was able to let him go and come to peace with his death.
So what was I doing getting another cat so shortly after Sparky died?
I don't know. I just felt lead to Boxer.
Until he pooped in my lap when we were taking him home. Then I began to question the mighty force that brought us together.
Boxer was all spit and fire. A wild child who was the exact opposite of Sparky cool and calm nature. It was after we got Brut that Boxer became obnoxious, pushy and demanding of me. I had a hard time accepting Boxer for who he was because I was still grieving heavily for Sparky. The emotional pain ripped through me and the more Boxer demanded to be noticed, the more I pushed him away. I almost couldn't stand him sometimes. I'm not kidding about playing aggravation with each other. We learned to push each others buttons in the battle for each others love and attention. I wanted a Sparky cat. Boxer just wanted me.
I'm not sure when the breaking point was, but we finally broke through to the other side. It wasn't easy. It wasn't fun either. But we finally began to understand and accept each other for the other and slowly have come full circle.
I never doubted that Boxer wasn't meant to be here with me. I believe everything happens for a reason and what I went through with Boxer was no different. He taught me that it isn't healthy for me to get another pet without fully going through the grieving process. Waiting until I find that peace and serenity after suffering such a loss before bringing new life into my heart. I don't want to put or go through what I did with Boxer after losing Sparky. It was too hard on him and too hard on me. Learning that hard lesson I absorbed through my relationship with Boxer is one of many reasons we are waiting to get a new dog after losing Brut and Silver. I have learned that for me, I need that space and grieving time in order to really come to some peace about the death of a pet.
I do believe everything happens for a reason and looking back I was lead to Boxer. And I am ever so grateful.
Today marks Silver's one year anniversary since her passing. The week has been hard leading up to today, but today I feel released and at peace. I think about her every day and see so many of her qualities in her kids that shine through even more since they lost their mother, Silver. In return, I see more of Silver every day. Things I couldn't see before as strongly as I can now. Mostly her giant, gentle heart. She was such a beautiful mother to her kids and to me. Those nurturing qualities have been passed on to her kids, in different ways and forms. Silver's heart will shine on.
A poem I wrote shortly after Silver died, that speaks true today:
In the depths of blackness
I have wondered if I could ever love again
Not knowing how to love the ones
It was like the love just
drained from me
into the dirt
and I didn't know if I
could feel again
How could this human
bear that pain again
It doesn't seem possible
As someone once said to me
Intensely we love
Intensely we grieve
And it feels like my heart
can not bear
Not one more ounce of the loss
until I wake from my death coma
to know Silver's love is still
in every ounce of blood
coursing with love
Four puppies who lost
and I am renewed
I am not alone
Chance is my second heart dog. He is the son of my first heart dog Brut. A heart dog is a dog that is like your canine soul mate. You connect on a different and more personal level. Brut and I were like twins. And it is not much different with Chance, though we don't reach the extremes that Brut and I did.
Brut consumed so much of my time, attention and energies. It was a wonder I could even take care of the rest of the packs. He was a very complex dog with deep inner fears and had an aggression towards other dogs. My entire being was based on his mood. I never really swore or vowed consciously, but I didn't want to go through what I did with Brut again. Thank God, there was only one Brut.
Since Brut died, for me, it has been about having equal time with each dog. Trying to make my time fair to each pack and each dog. And while it has become the norm, to go back and forth, it can still be a challenge. Especially when there is a special need to attend to, like a sick or hurt dog. Or maybe someone just needs mom's touch and love. Breaking it down two dogs in each pack helps and makes it more simple.
Then there's Chance. Chance seeks me out. He goes out of his way to be close to me. He doesn't demand attention like Brut did. He is happy with every moment we have together. It's our walks and playtime together that really bring it home for me. There is just something about Chance that is special and full of heart. Chance is a very quiet dog. He only barks when he sees something outside and for that he's a very good watchdog. He doesn't whine or snarl or cry, in fact he rarely "talks." But he has this sing song woo-woo he always gives before a walk that just lifts my entire spirit. He makes me want to sing with him. There is something about that little woo-woo that tells me how he feels about what he wants and that he's ready to walk with me.
Chance isn't much for cuddling or very much petting, but he will get up on the couch with me when he needs me. I never ask it of him, he comes up on his own free will. The couch is small enough that we are always touching when he's up there and for him to even consider getting up on the couch with me, tells me he wants to be close.
Another way he shows me he cares is when he lets me hug him, something he will only partake in if he initiates it. Well, the other day I was so down about not being able to sled with him anymore, that I laid down next to him, put my arm around him and just stayed like. We stayed like that for some time. Chance is so compassionate and forgiving that way. He knew I was sad and he let me hold him in my time of need.
What make all of these acts so memorable is the vibe that is going on when we are together. It is this vibe that is like music through my heart and soul that digs into a connection I've only had with Brut. It is alive. It is electric. And it is real. Just me and Chance. Always. All the time. It is like unblocking a blood vessel and feeling the blood rush to your brain showering you with love and life.
I haven't a clue still what to call Chance, as I am reserving the name "heart dog" for Brut. Soul dog, love dog, spirit dog, they all fit, but it is like naming a cloud, the form is in constant evolution. As I believe our relationship will continue to change and grow like life.
I don't know where Chance is taking me, but hold on! It is one wild dance!