It’s early October, 2009 and my home is a little too quiet these days as I don’t hear four extra paws clicking on the worn cedar floors in my kitchen. I miss those clicking sounds which came from my wonderful dog Ranger. Ranger is part German Sheppard and Rottweiler and he’s passing away as I whisper into his ear telling him “It’s ok Ranger, its all ok. I’m right here. Mama’s right here so don’t be scared.” He passes in our front porch at 0140 August 28 with my arms embracing him. I decide to sleep with my dog this evening, not wanting to leave his side. I call my mom and she lends her comforting ear to my heartfelt words that are spoken through a lump in my throat while I sob and sob. Her voice on the other end soothes me for the next three hours.
I awaken the next morning in more control as the tears have emptied from within so far. It’s strange how I had previously requested this day off work many weeks ago for no special reason but I did have a reason; I just didn’t know it at the time. I pick Ranger up and move him to the living room which is just beyond the porch. I lay him on the day bed atop of a beautiful comforter with his head resting on a blue and white pillow. Another comforter covers his body so the only thing showing is his face and ear. This is where Ranger rests as my husband Kevin is building the burial box and a beautiful box; it is as he’s a talented finish carpenter.
The thoughtful neighbors start to arrive to pay their respects to Ranger with sympathy cards in hands while the candles are burning the scent of Vanilla. When the neighbors start to cry, I cry along with them. I spend the duration of this day reliving in my mind great moments with Ranger.
Today is my birthday and Kevin has finished the burial box and we place Ranger carefully inside atop of his favorite comforters. Family members pick beautiful flowers from our many gardens and place them perfectly around him. Photographs and doggie treats are also put inside along with a broken stick. You see, when one of my dog’s die I go and find a stick, one that is not too big or too small and I break the stick in half. I place half the stick inside the box and I keep the other half of the stick, so Ranger has a piece and I also. When I see Ranger in a place beyond this earth plane, he’ll have his stick and so will I and they will match together perfectly. The stick will be whole and so will Ranger and I. We’ll be together again like we were for so many years. All the special trinkets are placed inside, the lid is secured and the box is carefully placed in its resting spot. Cement is poured on top of the box and after it hardens the dirt is placed on top. Ranger is resting and it’s now time for me to rest and remember all the amazing times I had with Ranger. It’s true that time heals all wounds. The loss of an animal companion can be devastating and time is needed to gather closure and to obtain a peace within oneself.
Now it’s the first week of October and there is room for another unwanted. You see this is the house of the unwanted. All of our four-legged family members within our home are all unwanted by everyone but us. What it must feel like to be unwanted. It brings the most lonely and uncomfortable feeling imaginable. Maybe one day I’ll walk among them to comfort them, to tell them that they’re not alone, that a higher spirit is within them and to take comfort in that.
It’s October 2 and I’m on the computer surfing Craigslist Toronto which is a popular site for buying and selling merchandise along with job postings etc. I always go to the pet section first; here is the posting that catches my heart. His name is Trevor, an 18 ½ year old Terrier mix who needs a home as the human he lives with is dying from cancer. The posting advises that Trevor is deaf and nearly blind with cataracts. He’s small with a black and grey colored coat. I tell Kevin if we don’t take him who will? Why would no family member offer? I guess that when the going gets tough, some humans don’t have enough strength, time or compassion to care for such an animal.
Trevor is arriving tonight Oct 5 at 7pm and I’m very excited for his arrival as I haven’t had a small dog in a long time and he looks oh so cute. A car pulls up in the driveway and two gentlemen get out. Trevor doesn’t do too well with car rides, they say. They lift him out of the backseat and he immediately relieves himself, and I think to myself that’s good. We all enter the front porch of our home. Trevor has his leash and a pillow which is covered in a pillowcase fastened together with large safety pins. One of the gentlemen goes back out to the car as the other man starts to cry. He says that this is very difficult for him. I tell him that Trevor will be fine and not to worry as he leaves with his head hanging low..
As the door closes behind him, I kneel down to pet Trevor and welcome him with a tender kiss and tell him not to worry about a thing.
I carry him upstairs as he’s unable to walk them and we sit together on the loveseat. We smile for the camera that Kevin is holding. I don’t know then about the team we will become and the knowledge that I will gain from Trevor. I block off the stairway for his safety and I let him walk freely around the second floor of our home. I’m so happy he’s here and now our home is complete. He falls asleep this evening by the big wooden chest on a freshly cleaned comforter just for Trevor.
I work from home so having the time to care for him is never an issue. We go for walks three times a day and does he ever attract attention. People always stop to ask his age and a variety of questions. Everyone is shocked at his energy level and he even surprises me. For the first three weeks or so Trevor walks in circles to the left starting out in one area of our living room working his way eventually through the whole second floor of our home. What I’m learning is that he’s mapping out the floor plan as he’s nearly blind. Once he’s mapped this out in his mind, he’ll rarely hit any furniture. Everything goes fairly smooth until July of 2010.
One day he has a seizure and I’m right beside him. I know how to deal with seizures as I comfort him through it and then Trevor runs for about ½ hour to release a build up of excessive energy Being at the age of 18 ½ the vet advises that any medicine could harm him as he is so old. So we take things as they come and we deal with them together; Trevor and I are becoming that team I spoke about. The seizures happen about twice a month and he is always fine afterwards.
Starting in early October little Trevor sleeps through the day and is up all night. I work in my home office during the day while Trevor sleeps close to my desk on a soft light green doggy bed with colorful flannel blankets to make him extra comfy. Trevor usually awakes when it’s time for me to go to sleep. At first this is fine as he makes his way around the room with no issues, but as time passes I have to be up with Trevor as he is losing the action of backing up and sometimes gets stuck in a corner. My ears are becoming very tuned in to Trevor’s cry and I wake up when he starts to whimper. By mid October the living room is my bedroom and my companion for the evening is a sweet little old dog who needs me more than anything else on this planet. I try to catch a few minutes of sleep here and there if Trevor doses off but usually we’re awake together all night and I don’t mind at all. I am faithful to Trevor and I never let him down or be alone where he might possibly hurt himself. This time in my life is an extremely special one. During the middle of the night my other animals come and sit beside me for many hours while Trevor walks around. I gaze at the flickers of dancing flames from the fireplace and relax in the warmth within the company of my furry friends. It’s a picture perfect site with my cat Sully on one side of me and my Pit Bull Terrier Arnold sitting on the other side. If Trevor gets stuck in a corner or has troubles getting up I’m here to help and he knows this. He turns his head and licks me right on the lips and I’m honored every time. Little Trevor loves me and I love little Trevor.
I start to call Trevor the name Trooper Trev (short for Trevor of course) as he’s a little Trooper. This little dog has an abundance of energy and he never gives up. I take in some of his energy and I also learn never to give up, even when the going gets really tough.
The weeks go on and I watch him as he sleeps so soundly during the days. He is at peace and so comfortable in his little bed covered with a soft blanket. I stare at him in awe and I’m so thankful that he’s in my life. When I’m awake for over 48 hours I ask for energy, strength from within and I receive it. This is where the energy of life is, within our selves.
It is now nearing the end of November and Trevor is unconsciously urinating while he sleeps so he’s always getting warm showers. He’s so small that I hold him under the warm water with my left hand and shampoo him with my right. He’s blown dry, brushed and sleeps for about 3 hours and I sleep also if time allows. The quality of his life is dropping due to the increasing seizures. If he falls down I pick him up and then I’ll get my Trevor kiss. I love his special kisses.
It’s now December and I know that I have to give him peace. I relish when he sleeps during the day as he looks like a normal dog sleeping in comfort, but at night he isn’t normal and I have to face this hard reality. My energy is wearing thin and I don’t know if I can continue this routine and is it really fair to Trevor? Does he have a good quality of life? The answer is no but his kisses tell me otherwise. I have to make a hard decision in order for Trevor to have peace.
Today is Dec 12, 2010 and my little Trooper Trevor is scheduled to be put to sleep at Pickering Animal Hospital. Pieces of my heart break off as the time draws closer to his departure. It’s difficult for me to give him his shower, blow dry and brushing today as this is the last time I do this. Trevor falls asleep on his little bed with soft covers atop of him. We arrive at the animal hospital with Trevor still asleep as we make our way toward the examination room. Minutes later, I hold his head and tell him, with tears streaming down my face, “It’s okay, Trevor; it’s ok. I’m right here with you,” as the needle enters his little leg. After a few minutes the doctor says, “He’s gone”. I instantly feel I’ve let him down, even though I stood as strong as I could for so many months. I can still see him and feel those Trevor kisses today. Trevor’s urn sits on my fireplace mantle with his collar resting atop. That first photo of us is there along with clippings taken from his coat that sit in a freezer bag behind the picture. I will never forget Trevor and we will be together running one day at theRainbowBridgewhere all my unwanted four legged friends are waiting for me to arrive.
Trooper Trevor left his mark with me on this earth plane and I have an abundance of energy and stamina thanks to him. If he can do it, so can I, and when life seems hard I think of my little Trevor who trooped onward and onward, never giving up. He kissed me till the end and I kissed him back showering him with all the love that I had to give. It’s all about giving you know!
Tammy Mackay Bio:
My name is Tammy Mackey and I reside in Pickering, Ontario which is in the eastern suburbs of Toronto. I’m a country girl at heart who lives and loves life to the fullest. I believe that I’m born as a part of nature so my connection is extremely strong towards all living creatures including animals, flowers, rivers, and trees. Nature soothes my soul and calms my mind as it erases all stress and anxiety from within myself and without it I would not be whole. Planet Earth is my school for raising my level of consciousness. My goal is to make a postitive difference and live an enlightening life while learning new knowledge that can benefit myself and others. Heaven can be here on Earth when you are mindful, kind, thankful, generous and giving of yourself is important. I wish well for all!
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