Most know by now that our dear, loving fur-child, Sheba, passed over to the Rainbow Bridge (as the poem goes) at 6 a.m. this morning - about five minutes after I left for work (nursing clinicals). I believe my usual words of parting "Mommy go to work now. You be good girl" allowed her to let go and move on to the peacefulness of death.
For those who don't know the history, when Jim and I got married in November of 1997, I moved from Michigan to Ohio. I continued my work in Michigan as township clerk and my wedding photography business there. Most every weekend I traveled the 300 miles back to Berrien Springs to shoot a wedding. My local vet knew I was looking for a dog, so one weekend he told me about this little puppy that had been abandoned along with several other siblings.
I selected the little puppy with the most pleading eyes. Her siblings were put to sleep. We named her Sheba after the cat food I saw in the store. Sheba became my loyal, never-leave-my-side fur-child baby. She grew up in the back seat of my car as I traveled back and forth from Columbus to Berrien Springs every weekend. We shared ice-cream cones along the way. She slept on my pillow in motel rooms and learned not to bark at strangers in the hallway.
About six months later, we got another puppy, the Golden we named Ching-Ching.Hubby reminded me today, through his tears and choked voice, that our sweet Ching-Ching Golden left us almost to the day one year ago on November 4, 2008.
Many have left messages of comfort on my Facebook page that have been greatly appreciated. I didn't know some of you even knew I had a Facebook. Thanks so much.
Oldest son sent a personal e-mail, and my friend, Edith, called several times to make sure we were doing alright. I was riding to work with Edith when I got the call from hubby to return home. I think Edith would have given up her clinical day to stay and support us, but I urged her to go on to clinicals (and so did our instructor).
Oldest son and Sheba had a long-distance relationship. When he called, he would always 'talk' to Sheba on the phone, and Sheba would race to the door looking for her favorite uncle whom she only met three or four times in her life!
My little sister talked by phone to encourage me today. She feels almost as badly as we do. Their little dog, Star, and Sheba became furry friends during our family reunion in September. Actually, Star became Sheba's little nurse once she discovered how feeble Sheba was. Star allowed Sheba to eat out of her treat dish, and Star dropped her favorite toys at Sheba's feet. It was so cute to watch. Sheba would wag her tail real fast as her way of saying, "Thanks cousin".
This afternoon, hubby and I cleaned out most of the doggie things in the house. Both of us crying our hearts out. This was very hard, but I'm sure all those who have lost pets understand just what we are going through.
You will love the following "Sheba story". A couple weeks ago, a man walked past the front door with his dog. They didn't see Sheba lying in the grass until they were almost on her. Sheba was startled and jumped up awkwardly barking with unseeing eyes. The man actually jumped out of his shoes as he ran away from Sheba with his dog. I felt badly for that, and when they returned from their walk (staying clear of our lawn area), I went out to explain that our dog was blind and sick and enjoyed lying outside even though the rules of the apartments where we live ask that we don't leave the dogs unattended outside. (I was also afraid he would complain to the office about Sheba.)
The man was quite pleasant about it. He stuck out his hand and said he was a police officer who had recently moved in with his wife and their dog a few doors down. I wrote down their name and the apt. number.
Today, hubby and I carried several bags of unopened dog food, treats and toys to their apartment door and left them outside their door. I put a picture of Sheba and a note on their door so they would know where so much dog food had come from.
Tonight, that man stopped by with a beautiful card. Someone (he or his wife) had hand-written the poem about the Rainbow Bridge where pets wait for us. (Look it up on Google. I can't bear to write it now!) I wasn't home, but Jim says he could do nothing but stand there and cry at such kindness. He couldn't even talk to the man. But I think he understood - as each of you do who have loved and been love by one of God's creatures.
Loving a pet is such a special kind of all-knowing, unconditional love. Both ways.
If only the rest of the world would catch on. This world would be such a different place. If we would treat each other as our pets treat us, we would really think we were already in heaven.
Take Care on the Journey,