June 17th 2015 5:41 pm
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Petunia, you breathed your last here on Earth March 27th, 2015. According to the accompanying documentation we received with your ashes from Midlands Pet Care, you were cremated on what would have been your 14th birthday, April 1st- (the one we assigned to you based on the vet's best estimate after your serendipitous arrival in our farmyard as a stray in June 2001). You were ever an adventurous dog so I decided pretty quickly that we would not keep you in a fancy box/ urn as some sort of shrine indefinitely. I tried to ignore the velvet bag that contained a small box of ashes that had been residing in an increasingly accusatory manner beside the pencil drawing, a fair likeness, and your collar by a lamp in my office. Without school to distract me, I began to feel this procrastination was no longer (if ever) appropriate.
So this morning, Peter and I scattered some of your remaining cinders in diverse places around the farm as we shared memories related to each location. When we arrived (via your once favored "Mule" golf-cartish vehicle) at the old pond, several cows happened to be there. As he poured some contents of a vial in the water, we smiled to remember how much you enjoyed swimming- sometimes chasing ducks or geese- never catching them. I also wanted to sprinkle some on the edge of the woods just a step beyond the pond dam, but was a bit intimidated by the large Beltie cows- even more so when Peter said that it could be snaky there. However, holding the little vial in one hand and my MOMA umbrella with the black exterior & blue- sky interior in the other hand, I walked forward. One might choose to believe that you helped me herd them. They kept moving just beyond us without confrontation as I approached. You loved to herd. You loved to chase. I recalled the time that we were there without a leash. You were sniffing just ahead of us, and I called you because we thought it was time to go. You heard me, you looked at me, you looked in the direction of the woods, and you looked back at me again- I could swear you were wrestling with your conscience/ weighing the consequences- before bolting. into the fence- bordered forest. Apparently, you were not in agreement. that it was time to go that evening. You eventually wandered back into the yard, exhausted, as it was just getting dark.. We scattered some more near the northern side of the house by your former main potty area among the cypress trees on both sides of the gate. In your youth, you would run like a released greyhound with thunderous speeding paws when we opened that gate. We proceeded to the back porch, beneath which you used to nap sometimes on warm days, in the cool earthen hole you dug out, back before we boarded it up for fear we would be unable to get you out once the evil arthritis had begun to set in. You seemed content enough your later summers and winters napping in the house on various rugs near the climate controlled vents. Then, we dispersed a bit in the flower bed where you used to forage daily for Phoebe the cat's poop deposits, that has some of the zinnias we got from Diane, your groomer.
Then, the last bit for today, we released, was just outside the front entry gate, the great unexplored adventures waiting beyond our temporary home border. Run, sweet Petunia. Good dog, be free, but at the same time, stay. Continue to inhabit the home you made in our hearts and minds- the one that causes the involuntary pause of my foot before I step into the middle room where, for just a nanosecond, my subconscious still expects you to be there napping, knowing you are loved, & comfy on the rug by the bed.
March 28th 2015 6:50 am
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When I look into your almost fourteen year old eyes, you tell me in secret dog language that I need to let you go. You tell me everything is a struggle for you now. To emphasize the point you stumble a few feet as you painfully try to relieve your bladder. You nearly fall because your two front legs (in addition to the problematic hind right one) are starting to let you down as well. I am listening to you. We arrange for the vet to come. We feed you the bacon you love. We wait for Dr. James. I whisper to you that in heaven, dogs don't need wings, because you run and run like you loved to do when you were a little pup. I stay with you, and stroke your head when the vet administers a shot, and the next one. I whisper that I am here, that I love you. I tell you that you are the best dog. I remind you to look for Marty, who loves Baby, and loved you when you both were in the mountains that time. I whisper in your other ear, to come find me one day. You get the last shot. I continue to stroke your sweet face. You snore until you stop snoring. You are gone before 5:00 PM. I can't say the words, goodbye, run free, but I think you somehow understand, our beautiful, extraordinary Petunia Grace. Thank you for finding us. Thank you for allowing me to be, now and ever, Petunia's Mama.
January 31st 2014 2:39 pm
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This is the old black and tan mutt signing off for good. It was lovely while it lasted. I wish every pup (and kitty) and their peeps the very best now and forever.