Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sincere Thanks

I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my very raw heart for your kind notes, comments, e-mails, book recommendations, poems, and personal stories. Every single comment, short or long, was supportive and encouraging and compassionate. I realize I only “know” a small number of you personally, but I do want you to know that each of you helped make a sad period a little easier to bear, and I thank you for it. Sincerely and honestly.

The kids are doing …… ok. Not great, but as expected. They have run through the appropriate stages of grief:

1. Inconsolable
2. Denial
3. Anger
4. Questioning
5. Sadness
6. Acceptance, and
7. When are we getting a new dog?

They keep dipping back into numbers four and five quite often, especially at bedtime. It helped that we left yesterday for Texas, to have Blaine’s family Christmas get together, and that we also got to spend time with dear military friends who recently re-located to Texas. Even better was that our friends have a new-ish puppy, quite lively (understatement of the century) and the kids got to run and play and laugh with him, which I do think helped them find a little joy amidst their sadness. So Renee, thank you, the boys, and Bobo for hosting us last night. And thank Duke for being such a good sport.

Our first dog, a golden retriever named Fosters (why yes, we named our first dog Fosters and our second dog Lager. No, we’re not alcoholics, just white trash who name their dogs after beer) passed away when she was twelve. She and Lager had over eight years together, and were the best of friends. I don’t give two hoots about theology or proof or reason or Biblical application, but I believe in my heart that our pets go to Heaven just like we do, and I have no doubt the two of them are having the biggest game of chase ever run on clouds. Call it corny if you like, but the thought of their reunion has given me great comfort these past few days.

I’ll tell you the full story of how Lager came to be ours some other time, when talking about him no longer makes me cry. Suffice it to say I have no doubt that coming to live with our family extended his life by about fifteen years. Although he wasn’t technically a “rescue” dog, the knowledge that his life with us was better a hundred-fold than the life he had been living, also makes me feel happy and proud he was ours.

In the meantime, we grieve, and we wait until the time is right to get another dog. We will most likely get two -- one hunting dog for Blaine, and one pound dog as well. Having two worked well for us previously and I’d love to do that again. And yes, we’ve already informed the kids that the new dogs will be named Sam Adams and Miller.

White. Trash. (we are)

37 comments:

Jeri from hawaii said...

Kristie,
I think your idea of two dogs is a good one. We had two that were together for 8 years before the first one passed on. The boy that was left was so depressed that we eventually got him a new puppy sibling. Sadly, only 6 months later we lost my sweet boy (and yes, although it has been almost a year, thinking about him STILL brings tears to my eyes). We brought another dog into our family and now the new two are best buddies.

Enjoy your time in Texas. Merry Christmas from our family to yours.

Tammie said...

I'm truly glad that you'd consider a shelter dog. A place to keep in mind when you're on your search - www.petfinder.com is where to begin. It's a database of all the dogs in surrounding shelters with profiles. There's even a search feature so you can narrow down what you want. It's great in the fact that if you don't see what you want, you won't feel bad about leaving without saving one. And the kids can help on the search. :)

I mention this because I got my siberian husky from a shelter. Best. dog. ever.

Lisa said...

Oh Kristie - I'm so sorry. I completely believe pets go to heaven. Have a hug. What a rollarcoaster you've all been on. Love and prayers for you all.XXX

kim-d said...

Just chiming in on #7. In my humble opinion, getting a new pet is the only thing that helps...and two is better. Your family has been in my thoughts and prayers and I'm looking forward to seeing the post that starts out "Introducing...."

ALDOGMOM said...

Kristie:

There is a great book called Dog Heaven that is written for children and beautifully illustrated...It really helps the grief - even for adults..

I know your two are chasing each other at the Rainbow Bridge..free of pain...

I know that these are sad, hard days for all of you..

You and yours are in my thoughts and prayers..

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy to hear that you will give a shelter dog a good home. We have 3 pugs and 2 pug mixes, all from a rescue organization that we volunteer with, and most with a terrible past history. When the time is right Lager and Fosters will send you just the right new family members. I'm glad y'all got to be with a puppy for awhile. That is the best medicine for just about anything!

Gayle in AL

Connie F-G said...

I am so sorry to hear about Lager. I know it wasn't a total suprise but that doesn't make you miss him any less.

I look forward to the escapades you'll share when you bring your 2 new babies home...thinking of it gives me a chuckle!

We used Petfinder and got our adorable well behaved white German Shepherd. She's a very sweet girl!

Wishing you peace and healing in the days to come AND patience as you answer all the questions coming your way.

Hugs,

Anonymous said...

Kristie, I just now read the news about Lager. I'm so sorry for your loss. Lager was lucky to have a family who loved him so deeply that he was part of your family. I will pray for you and the kids. If you're considering getting more dogs in the future, you might want to look into goldendoodles. I know the name sounds silly, but they are amazing dogs! They are golden retrievers crossed with poodles, making them less likely to shed, while keeping that awesome golden personality. If you check pet-finder, there are usually some re-homes there, or you can try the site doodlezoo.com, there is a rescue link there. Depending on many factors in breeding they have many looks, from oatmeal-teddy-bear to wavy retriever. We've had our doodle for 2 years, and absolutely love her! She's calm, gentle with the kids, smart as a whip (wicked easy to train!) and she doesn't shed a BIT (perfect for my asthma AND my floors!) Sorry, I'm rambling... I hope your hearts begin to heal and you can look back fondly at memories of your Lager. ~Sarah (MA)

Renee said...

Thank YOU for visiting. It meant so much to all of us and the kids are still (recovering) talking about their all-night fun!!! Chat soon....

Susan said...

Kristie,
Glad to hear that you will be adding to the family mix when the time is right. Thinking about the loss of our pets still brings tears, but most of the time they are happy ones. Have a Merry Christmas!

slr8800 said...

Kristie,

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of Lager the Wonder Dog. He's been a loved part of your family for so long I know the pain you're all feeling is very real and very raw right now. I've felt that loss myself with my many pets over the years also. They become part of the family, and each one brings their unique personality and quirks. While you can never replace the ones you lose, adding another does help, when the time is right as you say.
Again, I'm very sorry for your loss, especially here at the holidays.

Sherri in NC

Bearie1 said...

Kristie, I also believe that dogs (and cats) go to heaven. Since it will be awhile before you can tell Lager's story without crying I will wait patiently to hear it.

For many years my husband refused to let me have more than one dog. But I eventually got two, then three, for while we had 4. Tiffy passed away in July and now we have three. All are rescues. I wouldn't have it any other way. If you and Blaine are ever out this way you can meet them.

Take care! Elaine

lizinsumner said...

Oh, you're too funny.....good dog names! One of "my" engineers at work recently lost his male Samoyed (Nick) and he's now in the process of waiting for his new male Samoyed puppy to be old enough to come home to his new family.....they haven't decided on a name yet. Shall I suggest yours???!!!!!!

Vanessa said...

So sorry for your loss! Loved reading about Lager and have to say that Lager lived a long, well-loved life with your family!!

No doubt in my mind that Fosters & Lager are romping in the clouds!! I know a few dogs up there that I can hardly wait to greet someday:)

Merry Christmas!

M, Ms. R, Mom, Auntie M, Marey said...

... better name choices than Pabst and Malt!

My sympathies on Lager. Uncle Wally lived to 17 and we still miss him but have a new old dog. My classroom rat went to rat heaven on Friday...for those who love their animals it is so sad. New ones are in order from Santa!

Now I am off to the P.O. to mail the last 2 boxes of plates!!!!

Lisa L said...

Fosters and Lager...wonderful names for 2 most excellent dogs! I was thinking for a little girl you could call her Corona ('crown' in Spanish.) Of course, 'Heineken' is out...the kids would shorten it to 'Heiny' and you know the neighbors wouldn't be impressed with that. I'm glad you all had a nice break away in Texas, and that there was an adorable pup to play with and help mend broken hearts.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely story!

I was going to ask if you'd like our help naming the next dog and I was, for personal reasons ;), going to suggest Miller. Imagine my surprise!

Sending holiday hugs,
Dixie in CA

D.D. said...

Kristie!
Sorry to hear about Lager - I know he was a special part of your family! You know..you could always get a cat - and name it @#$@-head! oh..... did I just write that out loud?? Ha! Sorry! Just say NO to cats!

I'm having a few of the ya-ya's over for holiday cheer today and we miss you terribly. Just want you to know that it doesn't feel 'right' without you here! We are thinking about you today!

Wilson said...

Just have to share - in our extended family, we have a Guinness (black lab) and a Molson (golden retreiver). We also have Hoover, Kirby and Dyson - after all, aren't they all great a cleaning up the crumbs on the floor?

Two dogs are a great idea! We've always had two until one of our passed away last January.

Laura said...

We like the alcoholic names too. Our cats are named Kahlua and Martini and had a cat named Cosmo. When we do get a dog we plan on continuing with the theme. We're right there with you.

Beth L said...

Kristie and family,
I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of Lager. I know you were dreading this day. There is a website we found after my sister lost her cats only weeks apart. It's www.rainbowbridge.com
You can view the residents of Rainbow Bridge and een create your own memorial if you so wish. It's a sad site, but to see the love people have for their animals is just amazing.

I was wondering if we might be able to get your new home address? I would love to send you a Christmas card but wanted to save it going all the way to Georgia first!

Also, I wanted to congratulate Kendrie on her 2 year (and 1 day!) anniversary of being done with treatment! Wow, has time flown or what. That's already 2 years of being able to eat ice cream before bed!! WOOHOO!!!

Sending you all lots of hugs from snowy Ohio! Love, Beth (beanieb@earthlink.net)

Lissy said...

It's hard losing pets...they become such a big part of your family. (heck, i still cry when i think about my cat Punky dying...and that was 10 years ago..).
Lager led a good life and he was truly loved by his family. And that is what matters most.

and for the record, i don't think its trashy at all to name pets after beer...our cats are named Natty Boh (National Bohemian) and Miller. (not to mention our hamster's name is Pilsner.)

Cate said...

Don't forget Shiner as a possiblity. I always joke that one of the things I learned in Texas was Shiner is a beer and not a black eye.

Pam Doughty said...

My gosh, I can't believe everyone is overlooking the PERFECT dog beer name.... BUD!!!! (his full name could be Bud Light Escoe...).
Of course, if you happened to get an Irish retriever, he could be Killian's Red; if he's an Irish retriever mix, he could be O'Doul's (not the real thing).
But, for now, spend some time grieving and remembering a wonderful, loving family member (probably the ONLY one who really appreciated everything you did for him). It WILL get better over time, but he will always hold a special place in your heart, and he'll be one of the very first to greet you in the great beyond!

Toes in the sand said...

Hi Kristie~
I have been meaning to comment on the loss of your fur kid and every time I wrote something I couldn't see thru my tears. So here is another attempt. I lost my 4 legged baby this past summer. He was my first baby before I had kids. He was my little buddy. I grieved for so long. Just when I thought I could not spill any more tears, I cried some more.

I know your pain and I am so sorry you have having to go thru it. I am so sorry for your kids. Your hearts will heal in time and you will look back at Lager with smiles instead of tears.

I am not sure if you have read the poem below, but I wanted to share it with you. It helped me so much after we had Andy put down. Be good to yourselves and take comfort that Lager IS with Fosters. And even though they both miss you, they are whole and happy and waiting ever so patiently for their family to join them someday. Gentle hugs to you.

The Last Battle
If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done,
For this -- the last battle -- can't be won.
You will be sad I understand,
But don't let grief then stay your hand,
For on this day, more than the rest,
Your love and friendship must stand the test.
We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn't want me to suffer so.
When the time comes, please, let me go.
Take me to where to my needs they'll tend,
Only, stay with me till the end
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don't grieve that it must be you
Who has to decide this thing to do;
We've been so close -- we two -- these years,
Don't let your heart hold any tears.

-- Unknown

Debbie said...

Kristie,

I second the other poster about petfinder.com. That's where I found our dog. You can search within a certain area, by age, breed, size, etc. They were very honest about the temperaments and special requirements that some animals need. (It's better to find this out before you see it and fall in love, then end up with a holy terror.)

I also recommend the books by Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer. He has some great tips on how to raise a happy, well-adjusted dog, and they start with the minute you bring them into the house. My son (9-y-o at the time) immediately started trying to teach our dog tricks when she came home. Because of that, he's the boss in her eyes.

We adopted a 9-month old lab mix that was 43-lbs, which we thought was the perfect size. (Our previous dog was 25 lbs.) She's now 85 lbs and sheds like mad. Something I wasn't prepared for. We love her to death, but there is no way I could handle 2 of them. Sometimes it's hard to know with the mixed breeds how big they are going to get.

Jeanette, chilly in Georgia! said...

How could any creature with such a sweet soul not go to Heaven?

This is even more white trash- my best friend in 6th/7th grade was named Sherry, her little sister was Brandy and her mother once said her next daughter would be named Margarita. (Which she always had a blender full of by noon.)

Anonymous said...

Hi Kristie-

Perhaps you received this poem from someone else already. It certainly helped my family out one our Golden had to be put to sleep a few years ago.

Marci

"Just this side of heaven is a lovely place. It lies along a tranquil river and is connected to the Eternal realm by a simple, sturdy footbridge, wide enough for two. When a dog passes on, as we all must some day, he comes to this beautiful spot. It is a land filled with hills and forests and fields, flowers and meadows and ponds. All dogs find their way here and spend their days in peaceful play, romping, cavorting, and swimming, enjoying the same toys that once so delighted them in life. Their favorite foods are abundant, the days are sunny, and every animal has a dry, warm place to sleep at night. To sleep. And to dream...for it is in his dreams that he can see and remember the one and only thing missing to him now, that one joy that would make his eternity so glad, so perfect.

Dogs who were old are here restored to the full vigor of their youth. The sick, the hurt, the injured are made whole for all of time. It is a happy place, and every dog has his rightful spot. He is made welcome no matter where his play may take him. He can't get lost, he cannot stray; for this is a mystic realm created to repay a noble creature for each and every selfless act he ever did during his numbered days on earth.

And regularly, in the midst of joy and play, a dog will stop. His nose begins to sniff the air...both ears alert; his senses strain to catch a long, familiar scent. He bolts the pack and runs as fast as his strong limbs and noble heart enable him along the winding path that leads downward to the earth. And soon he catches sight of the single thing that now creates for him an eternity perfect in each and every detail. For he has caught sight of you, the one, true friend he knew in life, the one human being he would have gladly traded his mortal self to save from harm.

Your reunion is perfect. He kisses you with wet and sloppy tongue across your wrinkled face. You hug your friend and scratch his head and gaze intently into those trusting eyes. He wags his tail; you quickly find that tickle spot that so animated him in life. Strong hugs for him; his paws upon your shoulder with claws that do not scratch or tear or hurt. For nothing can ever harm either of you again."

Jen from WI said...

I too believe our pets go to Heaven. God Bless.

Deborah said...

We got our goldens together. They were brother and sister. Getting 2 at once gives each other an automatic playmate. And ha! Those are good names. I'd name one "Smirnoff Ice". Just because ;-) And have you put a page up for Lager on Dogster.com? We have pages for our dogs: Hunter, Bodie, Pug and Lucy. Check them out! This page is for Lucy, and you can link to the others in her family.
http://www.dogster.com/dogs/446509

On a personal note, would you resend your new address? I actually made cards this year, and would love to send you one! d_bolig@hotmail.com

Love you tons and have a Merry Christmas!!

Anonymous said...

My brother had a Molson Golden Meadows that produced some great puppies! yea for the beer!!!
mcr
mn/ca

Hyzymom said...

I'm commenting a day late on the previous blog, so I don't know if anyone will see this, (story of my life :o)) I second and third the comments about Cesar Milan AKA "The Dog Whisperer." He is amazing I TiVo his show, read his books and use a lot of his techniques with my dogs (who I wish now I had named Chaos and Desi - short for destruction). I refer to Cesar's techniques so much that my husband calls him my "boyfriend." As in, "I don't really care what your boyfriend says about those stupid dogs!" Hope things are looking up for you today.

Dianna in Louisiana said...

Oh Kristie--- So, so sorry about the loss of Lager.... he was a good ol' boy who was very, very lucky to have such a great family!

Lauren said...

My dad, who brews homemade beer on the weekends, says that Lager is the ideal name for a dog and he's just sorry he didn't think of it first. :)

If it makes you feel less like white trash, we named our yellow Lab "Little Caesar" years ago because he was the same color as cheese pizza! (We lost Caesar about this same time of year in 1999, and we still get teary talking about him. My heart genuinely goes out to your family.)

Monica H said...

I have a cousin named Sam Adams :)

Anonymous said...

Kristie - I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of Lager. You're not the only one who tends to name their dogs after alcohol. Our dogs names were/are Jack, Pepper and Scotch. After getting Scotch my sister asked if we had a thing about naming our dogs after alcohol (Jack Daniels, Peppermint Schnapps and Scotch Whiskey). I never realized it until she pointed it out. Yeah - we must be white trash to!

Have a good Christmas!
Nancy L in IA

Tracy said...

I think 2 dogs works best also. They tend to keep each other company. I love watching them interact with each other.

I didn't realize that Lager was a rescue dog. He was truly blessed to have found such a loving family.

He can keep my Jake company. He loved to run and play.