November 26th 2013 6:54 pm
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Getting on Dogster is hard.
I have realized that the reason I have drifted away - perhaps it is the reason many of us have - is because seeing the profiles, all the dogs that passed away, it was always so sad to me. When I first joined, it wasn't as sad. Because it wasn't my dogs. That may sound selfish, but it's not that I couldn't empathize with the owners. I could. I knew it had to hurt to lose your best friend, your partner in crime, your furry companion, your pet. I knew how much it had to sting, how much pain each and every one of them were in. I admit, I avoided the sections of the site dedicated to pets who have been loved and lost. I avoided them because I empathized with the owners that much. I have never been good with people, so I always turned to animals. I empathize with animals far more than I ever have with people. So, seeing animals all over Dogster and Catster who had passed away. It broke my heart.
And then, it happened. Chance was the first to move on. He passed of old age in 2009. When I had joined, there were already pets I'd lost on my account. But I'd finished my grieving, or they were pets of my childhood, so seeing them didn't hurt as bad. But losing Chance was especially hard. I loved Chance for a decade. He grew up with me. And as I became an adult, he became a senior. I watched Chance go from a puppy ridden with illness because he'd been a stray, to a healthy dog who could romp around the yard with the best of them, and then to a senior with arthritis and senility taking over him. We thought we'd have to make the decision to put him down. During his last days on earth, he was in so much pain. He didn't want to get up, he didn't want to play anymore, he just laid there. Miserably. We were discussing the possibility that week. Then, he had a good day. He got out of his dog house, he barked, he played. We thought for sure he'd make it. That night, Chance passed away in his sleep. The next morning, we said good bye to a family member and I had to update his page to 'This pet is no longer with us'. That was the first time I felt a bit stung coming onto Dogster. But there was so much support from the community, that I came back regardless.
Then, we lost Spot and Gypsy. Their deaths happened so close together that we barely had time to grief the other before the second was gone. My mother took Spot's death hard. She has never cared much for cats, but she loved Spot as much as she had loved any dog she'd ever owned and been owned by. Spot was a cat full of personality. A real grouch, she was never a people cat. But my mom loved her. Gypsy was more of a cat's cat. He and Malik were the best of friends. When Gypsy passed away, Malik began his decline. I have heard and seen people swear that animals do not pine away. Watching Malik, I do not believe that for a second. After Gypsy passed away, Malik began to pine away. But with Malik's death, I'm getting ahead of myself. Eventually, I was checking the box for 'no longer with us' for Gypsy and Spot, too.
Then. There was Cinnamon. Cinnamon hit me the hardest. It would be a lie if I said I did not favor her. Like Sandy and Sweeney, Cinnamon was my own dog. She was a big part of my heart. She possessed a part of my heart, and still does. Cinnamon was one of the most gentle souls I have ever known. She would not hurt anything or anyone. She loved every animal, every person, everything she met. Watching Cinnamon explore the world was like watching a toddler do so for the first time. Everything was new to her, even if she'd seen it every day. She saw the world with wonder, with amazement. She seemed to appreciate everything, and took life in strides. I learned a lot from Cinnamon. She taught me more about life than any human has in my years on this earth. Cinnamon passed away suddenly. Her death was unexpected. We were not prepared. I sat beside Cinnamon as she left this world, and after she left me, I never really got past the grief. I will never forget how she felt, how she was in those last moments. But I will never forget how she was during her life, either. So gentle, so caring, so loving. Cinnamon taught me a lot about loss, about love, about life. And when I had to check 'no longer with us' for Cinnamon, I lost it. I mourned her for a year. I'm still mourning her in many ways. And we lost Malik that same year. I slowly stopped coming on Dogster and Catster.
And Lilo followed. Lilo was an elderly dog, so we were a bit more prepared. She had her first seizure a few weeks before she passed. We were told to keep an eye on her, so we did. She had her last seizure the day she passed away. I was not even home. I was not there when she was rushed to the vet. I was not there when the vet had to put her down. I was not there when she passed from the world. And my not being there hurts me even now. I checked the box for her, and I lost it all over again.
I try to come onto Dogster every now and then, but I often find that I cannot. Seeing Cinnamon's profile, Lilo's profile, Chance's, Spot's, Gypsy's, Malik's... profiles. It hurts so much. And it makes me realize that I still have so much grieving left to do. I loved each and every one of them, and I'm still grieving some of them. Each dog, cat, hamster, gerbil, guinea pig I lose reminds me of how much of my heart I have given to my pets. And when they pass, we trade pieces of our heart. Some day, I like to think, that my heart will no longer be human because of how many pets I have owned. That same day... I will possess the same love, the same caring, the same hope, loyalty, wonder, devotion, passion for life as every animal I have and will eventually own. For now, though, I am mostly human. And the hurt is just so strong. I try to come onto Dogster, but I cannot. So, most days, I do not. I often find myself wondering - as I stare at the forums I used to frequent - if these thoughts, these reasons are the same reasons other people no longer log in. And I find that I can empathize with them even more now.
And I realize, animals teach us so much. We only have to listen. Listen to their silent tail wags, listen to their purrs, listen to their gentle stare, and listen to their souls.
January 16th 2011 4:12 pm
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It seems I was dog of the day recently and I completely missed it! I still got all the nice rosettes, though, and wanted to say thank you to everyone who sent them. :) Being Dog of the Day was an honor, even if I wasn't on that day.
December 18th 2010 2:10 pm
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I just wanted to say thank you to my Secret Santa for the rosettes. The poems are lovely and the gifts are, too. I don't know if you were given a new dog or not, but I'm grateful for the presents nevertheless and I'm terribly sorry that I missed out on half the month. I just wanted you to know that they are appreciated. Merry Christmas everyone! I hope everyone's enjoying their holiday.