Tomorrow marks two months since Cleo had her surgery and I got the dreadful news that the operation didn’t go well at all. I had hoped for another lucky winning hand like we were dealt in Abbie’s case. Were despite the odds my girl that I loved so dearly would pull through. Only this time the cards were stacked against us.
|Cleo, Maggie & Zoe Monster|
I have to be honest Dr Wise hinted it would be best to put Cleo to sleep. She said that her care would be intensive and that Cleo was not going to get any better. In hindsight I am glad I got these two months to spend with Cleo and to say our good-byes.
Cleo did require almost constant care. I’ve done hospice type care on several fosters before so it wasn’t like this would be new. Besides Cleo was not a foster dog – she was my best long time friend. Over the last few months our bond grew even closer. That’s why I mentioned I thought I had come to terms with losing her. In the end each case of watching something dear to you slip away is unique – Cleo being no different.
|Toby, Sydney & Scarlett from 2007|
Sadly over the past three years we have lost fifteen of our senior hounds. Eight have been from my original crew I put together over a decade ago – my bassets Maggie, Zoe, now Cleo, Toby, Sydney, and Samantha, and Beagle and Ban Bam. Each of those losses tore huge holes in my heart. Sometimes I sit at night and wonder how I can continue to suffer such tremendous feeling of loss with each passing. The answer is really simple – life grants you great memories that come with great burdens. I would never trade the memories simply to escape the pain that comes with not being able to build more memories.
|Not much changes through the years - - from 2002|
For people who have no clue who I am or how we live to suggest my life is unhappy or I have any bottled up anger in my life they simply are ignorant and clueless. The last thing I do every night is say good night to my beloved hounds.
I don’t do that as a unit – or pack but individually. In most cases the hounds have their own bedtime routine whether it’s crawling up for a quick scratch on the chest before scurrying off to her bed like Abigail or wandering over to my bed for a pat on the head like Dano. Several of the hounds claim their spot in bed – whether its Agnes stealing my pillow or Poe stretched out by my feet.
|Rise and shine its a new morning|
Its not to say I don’t squeeze in things that need done in between including some me time on the computer or many of my other pastimes I enjoy doing. But we are a large family unit. When one passes, like Cleo and beagle – they are most missed during those daily routines. I find myself remembering how Beagle liked her dish or how I would prepare our queen something special because she was our queen.
Life goes on around here because it is a routine. I may just plow through the paces still thinking about my loss but I do so with a spirit that keeps the other hounds high-spirited. As I think about our losses I am realistic in understanding there will be more. Of the twenty hounds still part of our extended pack only six are under four years old. Only eight are under six years old. Nineteen are between the ages of ten to eighteen years of age.
|Our sweet dream Agnes|
Dreams are a strange concept. Philosophers talk about reaching for your dreams to find true happiness. I dream of days gone past. Those are the dreams that bring solace to my soul. One thing I’ve come to understand about life is you can’t turn back the page – you can’t stop the clock and all you can do is try and build dreams that give your soul the same comfort as days gone past.
Since we can’t turn back the page to yesterday and we surely can’t bet on tomorrow the only thing that works is too live each day to its fullest with the cards you have to play. Fortunately, I am still surrounded by a pack of happy, loving hounds that manage to keep me more than busy every day. We push through our daily routine looking to build more cherished memories for days to come. These moments in time are the dreams of future past.