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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Pet's Love

We buried my little dog, Cuddles, a couple of nights ago. She had clamored for my attention and indicated that she needed to go outside to "do her business." So I put on my coat, opened the front door, and we both went outside.
I watched her sniff around for the best place to potty, and I enjoyed the crisp clear sky. There was very little wind, and Cuddles was enjoying romping around in the yard, even though it was dark.
Suddenly, a pickup truck pulling a flatbed trailer came around the corner and headed our way. Cuddles, for some reason, has always felt threatened by noisy trailers and UPS trucks, and immediately ran to the street to bark and growl at it. I yelled for her to come back, but she took her protector-status very seriously, and kept chasing the trailer.
In an instant, it was all over. She must have gotten too close to the tires of the pickup, because I heard her yelp and saw her roll under the pickup. She yelped again as the tires on the other side of the pickup rolled over her little body. One more yelp as the trailer bounced over her. By the time I could get to her, she jerked a couple of times and was gone.
I picked her lifeless little body up and hugged her to me. She was still warm, but there was no heartbeat. Her eyes stared lifelessly straight ahead. She made no sound.
The driver and passengers of the pickup pulled over to the side of the street and walked back to me. They apologized over and over and offered to take her to the vet. I told them thanks but she was already gone. I know they felt badly about it and it certainly was not done intentionally. They hadn't even seen her.
I carried Cuddles back into the house and laid her on the floor on a blanket. I tried calling my daughter, Becky, but she didn't answer. I sent my grandson a text message, telling him what had happened and asking him to come and help me bury Cuddles. I called hubby, Dennis, and cried like a baby while I told him what had happened. He felt so helpless, he said, being so far away when I needed him. I reassured him that I would be alright, but was naturally upset at the situation.
Dennis told my son, Jason, who called Becky's husband, Rusty, and told him what was happening. Soon Becky called me and said she was coming over.
While I waited for them to arrive, I did some straightening around the house, just to have something to do. I couldn't sit still for even a moment or I felt like my world would go spinning out of control. I wasn't making a lot of sense, even to myself. Shock must have been setting in.
Soon Becky, her two youngest daughters, and Regan, my oldest granddaughter, arrived. After hugs and a few tears, they asked what they could do to help. I didn't have much of an answer for them. I continued to clean, just to keep busy.
Becky offered to set up my new Christmas tree. She assembled it, and put the little girls to decorating it. It looks very nice, perched up on top of my folding table. But I could find no real joy in it that night.
Rusty and Colin arrived with flashlights and shovels, and we headed across the street to the back of the empty lot we own. The first hole the guys and Becky dug had too many tree roots, so we filled that one back in and abandoned it, and moved farther north. I held a flashlight on the hole so they could see what they were doing. It was getting much chillier, and we shivered as we stood there by the hole. Finally it was deep enough and Rusty laid poor little Cuddles in the bottom. I saw him caress her little head and almost lost it. I felt like I should say something about Cuddles, but the words just wouldn't come. I finally choked out, "she was a good little dog. I'lll miss her."
After the hole was filled with the dirt again, a little mound was left over her grave. Rusty said he and Colin would make a cross to put as a marker. Becky gave me a hug and said "Cuddles is in Doggy Heaven now." Doggy Heaven. That must be a very special place. So many loved ones laid to rest. So many broken hearts to heal.
When I called my mom, she cried when she found out that Cuddles was gone. She has a new puppy of her own. She told me she would give her dog, Peggy, a hug from me.
Since that night, I have cried myself to sleep every night. There is such a huge hole in my heart. My house is so still and quiet. The love and spontaneity are gone. It's like the house misses her too.
I have realized how much that little dog had come to be such a huge part of my daily routine. She slept snuggled up to me in bed, keeping my back warm, or my legs, depending on where she decided to settle down for the night. She kept my toes warm when I was sitting.
Every morning, as my alarm went off, she bounced up to come and lick my face good morning. She would nudge me with her cold little nose until I got up, and then bounce off the bed and lead the way to the bathroom.
She sat and watched as I showered, and when I had lathered up with soap, she was right there to lick it off my legs, helping me to bathe, she thought. When I stepped out of the shower, she was right there to play tug of war with the towel. She'd take off into the other room to find one of her toys and drop it at my feet, wanting to play fetch.
When I was dry, she'd lead the way to the bedroom where I would dress, then she'd lead the way to my desk, where I'd do my blood sugar tests and take my medicine. All the while, she'd be wanting to play fetch.
I had learned that the easiest way to leave her for the day, was to give her a few treats, then she'd let me go without howling and whining. When I'd return, she was always right there behind the door, waiting for me.
Dennis had learned not to say the word "well" around Cuddles. Cuddles had come to know that when he was getting ready to leave, he'd stop what he was doing and say "well--I suppose" and then get up from his recliner and leave. That always made Cuddles very anxious, thinking she was going to be left behind.
Another word we had to use in moderation was "outside". She knew that word quite well. If we said outside, she would run to me, her little ears perked up and a big grin on her face. She'd jump up on my lap, then turn and jump down, run to the front door and bark, then run back to me and repeat the process. She'd do this over and over until I got up from my chair and took her outside.
She loved to wave at people that came to visit. She'd stand on her hind legs and wave her front legs together up and down over and over and over. It always made people laugh. Sometimes she'd sit on my lap and do this at people. She really loved people.
When she was outside, I'd sit outside with her and do fill-in puzzles or read a book, while she'd explore the yard. If someone walked by, she'd have to run to the street to greet them. She'd stay just out of reach, doing her wave, or barking and running around in circles around them, her little tail wagging as fast as it could go.
She loved making friends with other dogs too. Sometimes that got her into a bit of trouble. We have neighbors that have bigger dogs--dogs that aren't that friendly. One day Cuddles ventured over toward their yard when their dogs were exercising in their yard. Suddenly one of them growled and started chasing Cuddles. Cuddles ran back to me as fast as she could run. She had very short legs, but a long stretched body, like a dachshund, only stockier. She could run like the wind, and loved to do it. Even with that dog chasing her, her tail was wagging. She loved it. But I noticed she didn't venture over that far again.
Cuddles didn't like to ride in cars. She'd whine and whimper and although she only got carsick twice, she'd tremble and shake like she was freezing. I didn't take her in the car very often, usually only to the vet and the groomer, but occasionally, I'd take her to my workplace, where her older sister lived as a therapy dog. I also took her out to my mom's farm a couple of times.
Cuddles loved to share my food with me. I was careful not to give her anything that would hurt her, and she'd only get the last bite of my sandwich. I didn't want to make her fat. She loved doggy treats. I'd give her one in the morning, and one when I got home from work.
She loved to snuggle with me in the recliner. If I'd go to sit in the recliner, she'd usually beat me into the chair and scootch herself down between my leg and the arm of the recliner, with her head facing the tv. Sometimes she'd watch tv, but usually she rested her head on my leg and watched me until she drifted off to sleep. I loved those special times with her.
We've talked about getting another dog, but I doubt I'll ever find one that can replace Cuddles. She will always hold a very special place in my heart. I may write a book about her soon. There are so many facets of our relationship that I have not even touched upon yet. I'm not sure if anyone would want to read it. But I'll feel better about writing it.
Goodbye Cuddles, I miss you. I love you. Sweet dreams.


  1. I'm sorry for your loss, NurseArtist. Your fine eulogy let me feel as if I knew Cuddles a little bit. She'll be missed, I know. :(

  2. I'm so sorry about the loss of Cuddles. I cried all the way through your post. I totally understand about wanting to write about your speical friend. I've done this for each pet I've lost over the years.

    I waited over two years after Scoot died to get Einstein. You'll know when the time is right.

    And you're right that they'll never be another one like Cuddles, yet....each one is unique in their own ways. :)

    You're in my thoughts!

    Take care,

  3. Nurse Artist~
    I knew you said something later about having lost your Cuddles but until now, I assumed she had died of old age. I am so sorry you lost her in this manner.
    You have honored this great little doggie with a lovely and loving message. I hope you do write more about her, although my tears fell for you, about such loss, throughout my reading of this portion of her story.
    Having been through a too-early loss of a much loved-dog-of-my-heart, I know time helps heal, and the good times are remembered with smiles. Other doggie pals can be enjoyed and much-loved, too, creating their own special paw-shaped places in our hearts, similar to, but not exactly the same, as those who already imprinted there.
    I wish you the best good...


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