This is a story about our little Penelope. She left our physical world on January 31 of this year. I first need to start by saying that its taking everything in me to write this. I've been searching for the right words since that day, knowing there must be some kind of lesson from this that I can share with you all. That someone has to benefit from this. I know this may sound dramatic to some, but believe me when I say, until you have walked in someone else's shoes, you have no idea. Since we lost her, my story has changed from day to day, and will probably continue to change as we heal... so here is my best shot.
I used to work for the local animal shelter about 7 years ago helping with adoptions and putting the animals on petfinder. Jared and I had three cats and had just bought a new house with a yard. I will never forget the day that she "danced" up to me at the shelter. She was bald and smelly, and looked very unhealthy, but that didn't stop her from strutting her stuff right up to me. Despite being homeless, abandoned, sick, and having had many puppies, she still had that sparkle in her eye and spring in her step. Her little dance had me right then and there. Anyone who knows me will tell you I love to dance any chance that I can, and possibly at inappropriate times as well. I felt like she and I were soul sisters. And I couldn't have been more right about that.
When I finally brought her home, Jared was a little shocked by her appearance. He said, and I quote, "She looks like a little rat dog." Despite his "loving" remarks, he fell fast in love with her, and she became our spoiled little baby.
All that love we showered on her and several vet visits took our scrawny little "rat dog" into the most beautiful, precious, little piggy snoring baby you have ever seen. She grew a stunning mane of hair, and her personality became bigger and brighter.
She went everywhere with us and was adored by anyone who saw her. When we added a new addition to the family (a new puppy) she finally learned how to play. Even after learning how to play, her favorite things to do were sleep and eat, in that order.
Every now and then, she would get a burst of energy and want to play. She loved to terrorize the cats in anyway that she could, even though they were twice her size!
She thought she was an 80 lb dog and bossed everyone around. Here she is, thinking this gianormous bone is for her.
She and Benny Boo Boo have had a love hate relationship from the beginning. He wasn't so secret about loving her. She always pretended to be mean to him, but she'd end up snuggling with him at night.
Every night before bed, I would pick her up and carry her like a baby. She would get so excited around our bed time, waiting for mama to pick her up and carry her to bed. She would tuck her head right under my chin as we walked into the bedroom. She was my little snuggle bug.
Precious moments eyes in this one.
She loved to snuggle with her dad. She had to be on him as soon as he sat down.
She even tried to help him out with hair "pugs" for men. She thought it was funny!
She never failed to help us with a fresh load of laundry, either. Such a good little helper! He he he!
The last few years were rough for everyone. Woofy and I both went downhill health wise.
She never left my side. Even on days that she didn't feel well, she would still snuggle with me, and ease my pain.
The last 6 months were really hard on us both. Sometimes the best I could do was to move from the bed to the couch, and other days, it was all I could do to get up and go to the bathroom.
We knew our time with her was limited, and even though I have been unable to work or go anywhere, I'm thankful to have had those days with her where the two of us old ladies would nap in our recliner chair together.
I miss not being able to move my legs in the bed.
Even though we knew our time with her was short lived, we still weren't prepared for how it happened. It was tragic, and that's all I'll mention about that. It breaks my heart that God sends my sweet mother to be with me every time we get horrible news. When we found her, it felt like I was out of my body and dreaming, but I heard screaming and crying. Then I realized it was coming from myself and Jared. I remember yelling, "Why?!!" Why would God take our baby from us in this way. Why, after all that we have been through, having cancer, trying to conceive and being unable to, then falling deathly ill with my poor husband having the burden of being the bread winner and taking care of everything on his own, what could we have possibly done to deserve this?
It's taken until today for me to realize this: maybe its not about us at all. Maybe our little baby bear had been hurting for longer than we know. Maybe she was sticking around to help us through this awful time. Maybe it was time for her to get some relief.
The day before this happened, all of the pets were pouting. Lola and Benny were depressed. I remember thinking before I went to sleep that night that I better give her extra kisses before I fall asleep because I had a strong feeling I would never see her again. She ran away from my kisses, which she NEVER did. It was like she couldn't bare to say goodbye. They all seemed to know what was about to happen. And if that's the case, doesn't that mean that it was planned? Perhaps not, but in my heart of hearts, I know that it happened at the time it was supposed to. I thank God now that it didn't happen while we were on vacation.
We took her to our vet which sent her away to be cremated. They sent us a very sweet handwritten note, a plaster paw print from her tiny paw and a beautiful wooden box with her name carved on it. She now sits right by us on the table near the couch and chair, where she always would lay.
Losing a pet can be worse than losing a human sometimes, and this is why I think that is. The unspoken love that you share is unlike any that you have with a human. Its felt on a completely different level. Our pets do nothing but love us, unconditionally. They always know what to do, even when no one else does. They heal us with their companionship. They trust us completely to care for them. They save us by simply sitting by our side day in and day out. Someone told me that we know our time is limited with them, so we love them that much harder. Think of how many extra smiles and extra laughs they bring to each human they choose. They are God's angels on Earth. The voiceless innocent souls, that are nothing but love. Isn't that what heaven's supposed to be like? Just love. They are pieces of heaven guiding us while we are here on this planet. That bond...that unspoken love...it never dies. It is infinite. We may feel a loss of their physical selves, but that shiny spirit is connected to our soul eternally. I know we will be reunited.
Jared and I took some of our little Punky with us on our trip to Maui last week. This is the beach where we stayed. She got to go swim in the ocean and play with two of our other family dogs, and the dolphins and whales, where they will be until the day we get to join them. I dreamt about her and my grandma every night that we were there, and I slept better than I had in years. I thank God everyday for the tiny and sassy little grandma baby that rescued us in the shelter that day, 7 years ago.