Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Spring Cleaning

Spring is in full swing in my neck of the woods. For those of us here in the South, the heat, humidity and hurricanes are literally around the corner.

I took a few minutes today to give Sammy’s gravesite a spring cleaning, so to speak. Rather than pick out the leaves and sticks littering the mulch, I decided to scoop up the old pine nuggets and put down new. His grave marker I purchased online from was wiped clean and restored to its original luster. Tomorrow I’ll replace the dead succulents in a small stone planter atop the mulch with live, healthy plants.

It felt good to spend a little “quality time” with him, working and visiting. It’s a place of respite and reconnection for me. I think he enjoys it too!

Warm Regards,


Sunday, April 22, 2007

In Memoriam

July 14, 1995 – April 22, 2006

Today marks the one year anniversary of Sammy’s death.

It’s been a year of emotional ups and downs. Tears, intense sorrow, guilt, depression and loneliness have mostly given way to acceptance, a lighter heart and even joy for having been blessed with a most incredible little dog.

So tonight me, my husband, son and the cats, Mazy and Mr. Biggles, will gather ‘round his grave and light a candle. We’ll bring the photo album and smile and probably cry as we take another stroll down memory lane.

And to Sammy, as sure as the sun shines, my heart beats and my love for you lives on, I know you are patiently waiting for our grand reunion.

So am I.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Timing Is Everything

We’re fast approaching the one year anniversary of Sammy’s death. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him. I still miss him. I still grieve for him.

So does my son. So much so, that he told me again yesterday that he never wants to have another dog. I know these are just the words of a raw, grieving heart, but I have to admit, part of me feels the same way.

This possibility of getting another dog came out of the blue this week when my husband happened to be at a local pet store he did consulting for. As he is speaking to several of the employees, a sheriff’s deputy walks in and serves them with an eviction notice.

Knowing they have puppies they will need to find homes for quickly, he takes a look at what is in the store. They happen to have a Westie with kennel cough in the back room, he informs me that night. I really like that particular breed. So, the seed is now planted.

I go by the shop the next day, without any real intention to “rescue” this puppy but more out of curiosity to test my feelings. Well, he is awfully cute (but aren’t all baby animals?) I tell myself and the store employees. I take him out of his crate and observe his behavior. Typical puppy stuff, nothing unusual or out-of-the-ordinary.

As I watch him run around, I ask myself, where’s that spark? Where’s the overwhelming feeling that I just had to take him home? You know, the one where you just want to gobble him up, hold him and never let his little paws touch the ground again?

Well, none of that was there. Coupled with my son’s insistence to never own another dog was as clear a message as I needed that we are not ready to make that commitment any time soon. The grieving process knows no time frame. When the time is right, we’ll know.

Warmest Regards,

Friday, March 30, 2007

Good Grief

Death affects each of us differently. How we cope with death and the ensuing grief is a unique process as well.

The death of a beloved pet can be a profound loss. Many of us need help coping with the avalanche of emotions this can trigger.

The Humane Society of America has a helpful article on some of the basics of coping with the death of a pet. Just go to to read the article in its entirety. Click “Pet Care” on the left hand side then scroll down the list of alphabetized articles to find Coping with the Death of Your Pet.

I hope this helps answer some questions you may have and provide a little comfort too.

With warmest regards,


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Someone to Watch Over Me

Someone To Watch Over Me

There are so many things I miss about my dog, Sammy. You know what I mean. But one of the things I miss the most is he was my protector and watch dog. Take what just happened, for instance. The UPS man delivered a package to my backdoor. When he knocked, I jumped about ten feet. I didn’t hear his truck idling in the street or his footsteps in the garage despite the house and back door windows being open.

I could always count on Sam to sound the alarm if someone or something foreign stepped foot on our property. Even though he only weighed ten pounds his bark let you know he was capable of tearing you limb from limb.

It’s in moments like these that I miss him the most. I’m made acutely aware of how really alone I am when I’m home by myself. I don’t feel quite as safe as I used to because with Sammy here I was never really alone. As the days and months have passed, I’ve adjusted to that aloness, or so I tell myself. Only until the UPS man comes knocking again.

My warmest regards,


Thursday, March 8, 2007

Life Lessons 102

Life Lessons 102

Not long ago, I phoned a good friend of mine only to find out he was waiting for the veterinarian to arrive at his home to euthanize his ten-year-old lab, Casper. Casper had been suffering for some time with terminal cancer. Sadly, less than a year before, they had to unexpectedly euthanize Casper’s brother, Ace, due to a sudden illness.

I remember when they told us about Ace’s sudden illness and untimely death. I expressed my sympathy for their loss but didn’t really feel it. My pets were healthy at that time and I had never dealt with the loss of a pet.

What a difference a year makes! I would have never believed we would be faced with that same painful decision and now I understood. Really understood. It is a pain like no other.

Dealing with the death of one beloved pet is traumatic enough, but two in one year? My heart ached for them. It brought back a rush of painful memories and emotions.

It’s been almost a year since we said goodbye to our dog, Sammy, and I still grieve for him and miss him. The pain has subsided and time has afforded me some perspective on his death. There will always be a special place for him in my heart and memory.

I’m so grateful I had ten great years with him. Pets will teach you a lot about yourself and life if you’re open to those lessons. The most important lesson, I believe, our beloved animal companions teach us is about love. Not any old love, but unconditional love, the rarest kind of all.

My warmest regards,


Thursday, March 1, 2007

Life Lessons 101

Life Lessons 101

I was clueless. Completely. No idea. Not even an inkling. I’m still flabbergasted. And it’s been 9 months.

What am I talking about? If you’ve experienced it, you know. If you haven’t, but own a pet you love with all your heart, you will.
I’m talking about the grief, the sorrow, the heartache that you feel in the pit of your stomach when your pet dies. Oh, it gets easier as the days and months go by, but it also hangs around like a fog that just won’t lift, a chronic headache that aspirin only dulls.

Pets, especially dogs and cats, enrich our lives in ways no other living creatures can. They understand us, communicate with us, enjoy and seek our company, show physical affection, desire our approval, sleep with us and share our meals. They truly become family members, often the most enjoyable to be around! And unlike their masters, unconditional love is what they’re all about. Just a little affection from us goes a long way with our furry friends.

They teach us valuable lessons if we’ll pay attention. Lessons about unconditional love, the need for interdependence, service to others, responsibility, selflessness, forgiveness, joy, spontaneity, humor, flexibility, gratitude, living one day at a time and I’m just scratching the surface.

Pet ownership is not always a bed or roses, I know, especially when they get sick or hurt requiring medical care which can be expensive. They may need life long treatment for a medical condition or disease or require a special diet. But they don’t ever seem to complain. They take it in stride. They don’t make everyone else around them miserable. When these situations occur, most pet owners are more than willing to bear the added expense and inconvenience because their love runs deep for these beloved companions.

Studies have shown the physical and psychological benefits of pet ownership especially for elderly individuals living alone or in nursing homes. Pet ownership enhances the quality and longevity of their lives.

Let’s face it; our pets just plain make us smile. And so do their memories and that’s always a good thing!

My warmest regards,