Rosie was the alpha of the two between she and her brother, Rocky. We lost Rocky last year in the Spring. We lost Rosie this morning. For the past 16 years she’s been a fixture in my life, the anxious greeter when we come home. Like her brother, she was never far away, preferring to always be in the same room with me or Rhonda. Like most dogs, she had her favorite spots. Curled up in a corner right behind Rhonda’s office chair. Directly under a chair to my left Inside The Yellow Studio (that’s where this picture was taken in August this year). She was marching toward 17. Okay, maybe marching is too strong a term, but she was sleeping her way there.
When we lost Rocky she was lost for about 2 weeks, but we helped her adjust. Yes, she got to sleep in the bed for a few nights – something we’ve never done with pets before. Like us, she went on with life. Just last week I gave her a bath, which prompted her usual romping through the house with a new hop in her step. Provoking her to play with her two favorite toys: a penguin and an angry bird.
I’ve wept. When a pet grows old you realize the eventuality of loss. And still we invest so much of our heart into the relationship with a living being that loves us so unconditionally. People don’t often display the happiness pets do at our arrival. Others have written about it, but if you’re not a pet owner, particularly a dog lover…then you’ve never fully experienced it.
I will miss her greatly. I missed her brother Rocky tremendously. It’s an end of an era. Perhaps refocusing me on my own mortality. Our days are numbered. Pet or person.
Walking in the door hollering her name in a high pitched tone.
Seeing her standing at the back door, peering out, anxious for our arrival.
I’ll miss wondering how long she was standing there waiting on us, especially on Sunday afternoons coming back from church (she was there just yesterday).
I’ll miss giving her carrots and other treats.
I’ll miss just knowing she’s there – right there by my side, or behind Rhonda – while we work.
I’ll miss her toenails clicking on the kitchen floor as Rhonda or I foraged for food, and her hoping something would fall. Magically, things would fall.
I’ll miss letting her lick the empty bowls.
I’ll miss hearing her whine with one of her favorite toys in her mouth, hoping you’d snatch it and toss it across the floor.
I’ll miss looking in one of the favorite spots for her.
So many things. Sixteen years go by far too fast. We endured quite a lot together, including the heart break of losing Rocky. This time it’s different. Today, Rhonda and I go it alone. When we lost Rocky we had Rosie to spoil as we worked through the grief. Today’s very different. Much more lonely.
It’s one thing to go from two adoring pets to one. It’s equally, if not more dramatic, to go from one to none. As I prepare to get ready to go to a client for the day, the house seems so lonely. There’s something just knowing that another living being is sharing your space. Rhonda went to an appointment early this morning so right now…it’s the first time in over 16 years that nobody is here besides me.
Rosie was the first female dog we’d ever owned. Zeke, a black lab, was our first dog. He was great, except for barking at dropping acorns. Next came Barney, a bichon who often vexed us. Then, Rocky and Rosie – two Westie siblings. Westie people had urged us to consider a pair. It scared us, but I’m so glad we did. They weren’t inexpensive, but it was among the best investments I ever made. As they say, I’d do it all over again today if I could.
A little 20 pound furry idget can take your heart, wrap it around their wagging tail and leave you weeping when they die. I’ve wept a lot and suspect I’ll continue as I work through the grief.
But here’s the thing – if we don’t open ourselves to the vulnerability of loving a critter who will so love us back (and more), then we’re really missing quite a lot in life. Our house just won’t be the same. Signs of her are everywhere. I can’t enter hardly any room without thinking of her, or seeing some memory of her in that space. My life won’t be quite right for awhile, but boy when I think of what I’d have missed if I had never let she and Rocky into my life…well, it makes the pain worthwhile.
I loved her very much. She was my Rosebud. I’ll miss her for a very long time!
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