Sweetness and Light

January 7, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Posted in Family, The Pups | 29 Comments
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When our behemoth black Lab was a wee pup, just barely one year old, he ate our remote control. (I’m not kidding.) We didn’t have children yet. We both worked. And one ordinary Tuesday, he got bored while we were out bringing home the Bark’n Bac’n.

Shortly thereafter, we decided to get him a canine friend. Someone older, wiser, more mature. Someone who could teach him more manners than we’d been able to. (Because he had eaten the dog-training book, too.)

Yin and Yang.

My husband chose Polly from a local dog-rescue website. With her shaggy, blonde face smiling up at him, her brown eyes glittering with that Disney-dog aura of hers, I’m pretty sure he was a goner from the first click. And a few days later, she came to live with us.

Actually, she came for a weekend trial. It lasted for seven years.

Because she was the perfect foil for our Lab. She was calm and quiet and gentle. She allowed him to push past her, beat her to the top of the stairs, and bowl her over when he needed to be the alpha dog of someone, anyone, in this ever-more-chaotic house filled with pint-sized ear-pullers. And she never ate things she shouldn’t, save a few crayons, the occasional litter-box cookie, and, once, a bag of lollipops.

She also never barked, except in her sleep when the terrier in her subconscious romped with abandon after squirrels and rabbits. She snuffled when we trimmed her Gandalfian eyebrows. She smelled like fresh tortillas and charmed all the neighborhood postmen.

Sweetness and Light.

We lost her this weekend.

She settled down for the night on her worn green-and-brown bed and never woke up.

She was old. She had arthritis that made it terribly painful to stand up and lie down. She was mostly blind and mostly deaf.

So it was a blessing that she passed peacefully, at home, in her favorite spot.

I know that. I do. Still, I miss her. I wasn’t ready for her to go.

But she was ready.

I have to take comfort in that. Somehow, I have to.

Care to share a funny or sweet story about your pets? About the strangest thing they ever ate? About how your heart manages, somehow, to heal once they’re gone?



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  1. We lost our pup too last year. But we had to make the painful decision of letting her go by putting her down. It was so very hard.

    We comfort ourselves knowing that they’re at least no longer in pain. But oh how we miss them don’t we?

  2. So sorry you lost your dog. We have something in common though. My golden retriever has eaten 3 remote controls, an internet phone, lots of pens, a few rocks and part of my couch. Last night he also ate my wooden spoon (at 5 years old). My border collie has eaten a bag of dark chocolate, a sock (which required surgery to get out), resuable nursing pads, and steels plastic baggies with change in them.

    I grew up with a golden retriever and he died the summer after I left home. I keep a picture of him on my dresser still (5 years have passed). I still miss him but we had lots of good times.

  3. What a beautiful tribute to sweet Polly. I am so sorry for your loss!

  4. Oh, Stacia. This hurts my heart for you. I still get shaky when I think of my sweet Scout. It gets better, slowly, but not for a good long time. This new young whippersnapper we have is growing on me, but she’s no wonder dog. Not yet. We are so fortunate to have such sweet souls let us love them for a time, aren’t we? So much loss this last year, it makes me wonder how we can stand it. The only thing I can think is that it makes us somehow so much more sharply aware of the great love and joy that we are allowed to have in these little lives of ours. I’m going to be thinking of you, and I’m going to be imagining sweet Polly and sweet Scout meeting in heaven (before you and I here in real life! imagine that!), and what fun they are having romping together. Take care.

  5. I’m so sorry to hear you’ve lost your dear friend. I’m not sure it’s ever easy or we can ever be ready for it. I’m glad she went peacefully in her sleep. I’m not sure there’s a good way to move on either, but those fond memories and photos and the fun stories help.

  6. You know I’m a big dog lover too and while it’s sad news, I’m sure Polly knew how much she was loved and appreciated.
    My oldest dogchild is Ally, 10yoa and right now she’s eating paper–magazines, bills left on the coffee table, anything made of paper! I’m not sure why…a friend suggested digestive issues but I think its related to the strange mole on her tongue and irritation from that. Carmie, my 8yoa mutt, leaves her toys everywhere, every day! So on cleaning days, I make time to pick them up and put them in the dog toy pile only to repeat this at least a couple of times a week! Please know that you & the fam are in my thought as you mourn dear Polly and give them all hugs just as I’m giving you one from afar! Take care….

  7. Oh this is beautiful. Definitely brought tears. Lost my 18 year old kitty Sammy last May. He died in my daughter’s arms. A beautiful way to go but even now I am so so sad. Thank goodness for these sweet, loveable characters in our lives, huh? xoxo

  8. Oh Stacia, I am so sorry. I have been a dog lover for years and have had my share of loss- and know it is one that runs deep. I cannot imagine a more peaceful way to go- you are so blessed to have known her.
    We most recently had 2 labs. One is with family and the other is working as a service dog to help children with autism (!) but I miss them dearly. However, ahem. Before we had kids- I was teaching. Most days we took them to the doggie day care- but the others we had a person come to the house to let them out. Well, Napa and Henry heard a noise in the wall. I came home to find that they had bashed a HOLE in the wall and ripped out the insulation and wood looking for it. It was about hip-high and in my only really nice room- the dining room. I could have killed them! But of course, instead too pictures 🙂

  9. Oh Stacia…I’m sad that your Disney Dog has gone on to her next role. Polly was always such a sweet soul…except when let off leash at Bull Creek! 😉 As with any significant loss, I hope your memories can provide some comfort…and that Rocky will be extra generous in his sloppy kisses. Uli sends his love and sympathy. As for me, I can’t bear to think too much about it or I will end up in a puddle on the floor. I love you…and Polly.

  10. I am so sad to hear this – and know your heart is broken. When I lost one of my girls last year – Cricket – I went to Pikes Nursery and picked out a little tree that reminded me of her – it’s a tiny japanese maple with the lace type leaves. I planted that in my backyard, then surrounded it with other plants – little ferns – that also seemed like her. Also added a doggie statue and a tiny windchime (which I hear sometimes even when it’s not windy, and I tell myself she’s saying hello to me). Anyway, the tree project was a bit of a healing process for me during a very tough time. Perhaps you need a Polly tree…

  11. Stacia, I’m sorry. These four legged beasts are treasures, aren’t they. I can’t think too much now… My cat of 12 years is on a downward slope. No. For now, the thoughts need to run on the silly side.

    My childhood lab once extricated a granola bar out of a backpack without damaging the pack. Oh, but the things she ate!!! My current mutt is more finicky, but went through a crayon phase. The only positive is that cleaning the back yard was easier.

    Remember the fun. Hold dear the memories.

  12. Polly is running without pain & getting lots of good ear scratches in heaven. It gets easier but she will never leave your heart.
    When my Mocha was a pup, I came home to find my Bible shredded throughout the living room and a container of wall spackel half gone. I will never know in which order she did these things: Was she trying to be a Jewish carpenter or reading about forgiveness of sins?

  13. Stacia, I’m so sorry. She sounds like a wonderful friend who has definitely earned her spot with the other furry angels. Losing a pet is one of the hardest things… my thoughts are with you. (((hugs)))

  14. I am so sorry, Stacia. Most of my anecdotes with my own dog are sweet (versus silly), like things having to do with his patience in the face of Li’l D’s pushiness. Like Polly he ate “kitty roca” while we had a kitty. Unlike Polly, he did it numerous times, until we put the box in a place he couldn’t reach and covered it.

  15. So sorry to hear of your loss.

  16. Beautifully written. I am so sorry for your loss. Sweet Polly is romping around in Heaven right now so joyfully with all the other animals.
    Take care and big hugs to you!!

  17. Oh Polly. Oh Stacia. I’m sorry for your loss, and I hope the kids are doing okay.

    Amara has already shed tears about the eventual loss of our not-yet-7-MONTH-old dog. The death of our neighbour’s sweet dog a few years ago still makes her sad.

    Hugs to you dear friend!

  18. We have a new dog so I can almost get what you mean. It’s so sad to even think about. Peace.

  19. Aww, I’m so sorry! That was a beautiful retelling of how she came to live with you and how she touched your lives. ❤

  20. I’m sorry for your family’s loss.

  21. I’ve had pets my entire life. Each and every one is difficult to lose when they pass on.

  22. So sad and such a heartbreak. I miss my Daisy every day. So sorry for your loss. xo

  23. Stacia, I’m so sorry. I have never had a pet and so have only known of such a loss through close friends who have lost their dear pets. I know from them how heartaching it is, and what a void this leaves in their lives. I hope your children are hanging in there. Hugs, my friend. I am thinking of you xoxo

  24. I am so sorry. 😦

  25. This was just so wonderful, such sweet adorable photos, and then one of my favorite, e.e.cummings quotes too!

  26. Please ignore, my last comment, it was meant for your post with the little boy. Not sure how I clicked wrong. Such sadness with this post of your pet (I have a 13 year old dog) who is just barely hanging on, and it’s the hardest thing ever. Hug that young man with all your heart and kind of like my post, for Alphabe-Thursday- we’ve got to think fondly on the good points and keep them in our thoughts everyday.

  27. I’m so sorry… A dog’s life is too short for the amount of joy the bring to us. I totally understand your loss and hope you guys heal with good memories…

  28. Stacia,

    My belated condolences to you and your family. I am so sorry.
    I’ve never owned a pet, but know friends that have lost their beloved buddies. I realize that it can be such a heartbreaking loss. Sending hugs.

  29. I’m so sorry for the sudden loss of your pretty girl. I’m new here and love your pics, writing style and got caught off guard w this post so am typing w tears in my eyes. I have the same “salt n pepper shaker set” u have, one yellow lab, one black. I call Sadie (11 yo yellow lab) my peace and serenity. I’m sorry you lost your Sweetness & Light.

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