September 12, 2011

In Remembrance…

The past few weeks have given me pause. Two friends —  Modoc on the left and Zoe on the right — are no longer with me and while I only saw them sporadically of late, they are always in my thoughts whenever we are out walking.

Modoc loved to play fetch and often, when Gretchen and I would wander over to the little field, we’d see him with a ball in his mouth hiding in the bushes. Yeah I know, it sounds kind of odd, but Modoc LOVED his ball and when he saw me coming he knew I’d try to “borrow” it so he’d wander into the bushes, lie down, and chew on the ball he didn’t want me to steal. (When he didn’t have a ball, we’d greet each other like normal dogs — wagging our tails and sniffing all the important places). I will always remember this about him and wherever he is now, I hope he is surrounded by multi-colored balls that get tossed over and over and over again in a huge green field surrounded by bushes in case he feels the need to take a rest.

Zoe loved life. Whenever we went to her house to pick her up, she’d bark and spin and race down the stairs announcing her joy all the way. No matter who we brought by to meet her or where we went on our walks, Zoe was happy — her big, black tail swaying her giddiness. My favorite memory of Zoe was that first walk. We picked her up, Zoe and I greeted and got along fabulously, and then I noticed that she had something on her head. “What’s that?” I asked her. “Paint,” she said proudly. “I helped my family paint their room! Don’t you just LOVE the color?” That was Zoe through and through — helpful, cheerful, and filled with enthusiasm.

Modoc and Zoe’s passing was painful for me and yes, it made me do all those things one does when they’ve lost friends and family — it made me reflect on the beauty of my life – my adventures, my family, and my friends.

In fact, all week the world looked more alive and every step I took, I took in honor of Zoe and Modoc. Every friend I saw, I appreciated more deeply and told them exactly how much they mean to me. And when we ended up at my grandparents’ house and I got to spend time on the beach with a new friend, I reveled in that as well. In other words, I did my best to live life to its fullest and each day I’m going to remind myself that that is exactly how Zoe and Modoc would have done it and that’s exactly how they’d want me to do it.

It was a full week and even though I was busy, Modoc and Zoe stayed at the forefront of my mind. I shared their losses with each of my friends. At the start of the week, it was Rosie and Tyson who didn’t ever have the chance to meet Zoe, but who knew Modoc since he’s a neighbor of theirs.

“That makes me very sad,” said Tyson, who if you didn’t already know, is a very sensitive guy. “He liked to play fetch as much as I do and he was so speedy and fast! I loved watching him run.”

“And that tail!” added Rosie. “I wish my tail curled like that!” As you can see, Modoc made quite an impression and so, while we stood at the lake’s edge, we thought of our lost friends and smiled.

On Tuesday, I got to help Rosie at the vet’s office. She goes in for cold laser therapy for her arthritic hips and back. I get to lie under a blanket and offer moral support while the warmth penetrates her aching joints. She appreciates my assistance and then we pile back into the car (after our walk) and head home.

“Do your joints feel better?” I ask her.

“Oh Rubin, you wouldn’t believe how much more fluid everything feels,” she reports. “You should give it a try sometime. It’s bringing life back into these old, tired bones of mine!”

And we’ve noticed as Rosie is more full of life and bounds around me as we go on our walks. It’s good to see her enjoying life and it makes me enjoy it all the more as well.

Monty knew Zoe and Modoc as well and when I told him of their passing, he was very sad. “Zoe was so cute and playful,” he said. “She was sunshine on a rainy day. And that Modoc, he loved to play as much as you do!”

“Well said, Monty!”

Monty and I took our friend Lulu for a walk on Wednesday and while we talked about our losses, Lulu smiled with glee because she could hang out with her two best friends. “Thanks for sharing this day with me,” she said.

“Any time, Lulu,” I said.  Often, when you lose friends it makes you realize how important friends are and so I really meant it when I said to Lulu, “We should spend more time together.” She agreed with a big smile!

After our walk with Lulu Monty asked, “Can we see Rosie today?” Monty really likes Rosie and the feeling is pretty mutual.

“Sure,” I agreed. “Any special reason?”

“Well, I’d kind of like to tell her how wonderful she is because with Zoe, I was much too shy. And now that’s she no longer of this world, I wish I had.”

“I understand. And I know Rosie would love to share with you how much she loves you,” I said.

So off we went on a short walk with Rosie and found a place where we could smile our love for each other at the camera.

And when the time came, I gave them some privacy so they could share their inner most thoughts.

This week while sad and reflective was also more like August than September. The sun was out and really hot during the day, though the temperatures dropped 30 degrees in the evening, which made sleeping nice. Still, when I got home from work, I was beat — wiped out by the exercise and the heat. Good thing our house stays really cool.

On Thursday, I got to spend time Roux. She didn’t know either Zoe or Modoc, but she did her best to make me feel better by making me laugh. If there’s one thing Roux can do, she can make a fella laugh! And she and Lulu (who we also walked that day) reveled in their new friendship!

Rosie needed another cold laser treatment on Thursday so after my time with Roux and Lulu, Rosie and I headed back to the vet’s office and then we went for a nice walk in the neighborhood. She was pleased.

On Friday, I got to see Woobie — from afar. I had to stay in the car with Monty (we got a walk after) while Gretchen went into Woobie’s house, carried down the back stairs and let her in the backyard for a break.

And speaking of breaks…yep, Woobie broke her foot! Oh how Woobie wanted to go with us on our walk, but her activity is restricted and much to her disappointment, walks aren’t in her future for awhile. Still, as only Woobie can do, she stayed cheerful and was thrilled to see Gretchen, who broke the news to her about Zoe (and Modoc, though Woobie only knew Zoe). Woobie sent her condolences to the families and told Gretchen to give me a hug for her (which she did).

Get Well Soon, Woobie! I miss playing with you! (Oh and Woobie missed the squirrel climbing up her tree! Boy, she’s really not feeling 100%!)

And the week ended as it began…a walk with the siblings, Rosie and Tyson.

I was feeling like a pretty lucky fellow by then. “I have good friends, don’t I?” I said to Gretchen. She agreed and then, much to my surprise, she loaded me, all of our luggage, and Momma Ann into the car after her work at the pool and we drove through the night to Grandma and Grandpa’s house!

What a way to end a week! I love my grandparents very very much and was so happy we got to spend time with them this weekend. When you’ve experienced loss like I have, it’s great to let the arms of family love envelope you and that’s just what I did.

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, Gretchen and I got up early Saturday morning and headed to the beach in Port Townsend (Momma Ann wanted to go, but she was knee deep in the first week of school teacher-work and so stayed back and was pampered by the grandparents).

Not only did I get to play on the beach, but I also got to meet a dear friend of Gretchen’s – David — and his 2 1/2 year old pup, Ruby. Ruby is a Northwest Farm Terrier and as you’ll see in the photos below, the Border Collie genes are very strong!

While I may have lost two friends this past week, I’ve gained a new one and in honor of Zoe and Modoc I will do my best to be a good friend to little Miss Ruby Tuesday!

Ruby, I should let you know, is not only good at herding, but she’s a talker! Still she’s adorable and I really enjoyed meeting both Ruby and her Dad. My only regret is that we didn’t get to spend more time together on the beach.

Even though Ruby and David had to part, our time on the beach didn’t end.

And for that I was eternally grateful…what a beautiful day it was and I love spending time with Gretchen alone on a wide open beach where the life of the world vibrated all around us!

We spent time search for interesting rocks (one I posed on) and playing fetch both in the sand and in the water. (I prefer the water fetch myself, but I have to say, that water is not only salty, it’s mighty, mighty cold!)

Still, life was all around us…oyster catchers and herons…

And time with my Momma G on one of my favorite beaches in the entire world!

We sure hope you have time to pause and reflect on the joys and loves in your life. Time is short and it’s important to spend each moment not only in appreciation for what you have in your life, but also who you spend your time with. I’m lucky to have known and to know such great people and dogs, but not to sound prejudice, it’s knowing the dogs that’s best of all.

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