Lou-Lou was a miniature dachsund. I was at the pound when I saw her in the "unadoptable" pens. She was the tiniest dog I'd ever seen. She was emaciated (7lbs) and smelled terrible due to massive tooth infections and covered with ticks. She was hours past her "date with destiny" in the pound's killing room. I talked the administrators into letting me adopt her -- $10 since she was already spayed.
She stood 8-inches at the shoulder and was 14-inches long with an intelligent mouselike face. After all but 4 of her teeth were pulled she began eating well and seemed healthy, though our vet put her age at about 12 years and warned us she would not be with us long, doxies living generally 14 years, tops. She had cataracts and the vet estimated she had about 1/4 of her eyesight in one eye only. Not that this slowed her down a bit!
Lou had her own smile -- she would let her tongue hang out a bit from the side and squint her eyes. People said her tongue hung out because her teeth were mostly gone, but she did it when she still had her teeth, too.
Louie had the heart -- and bark -- of a lion. She was deferential to the cats, though, and they would eat first at her bowl. She loved the cats and played chase-and-run games with them in the backyard. She had to wear a bell so she wouldn't get stepped on around the house because she was so small. She would quiver proudly when I'd put her jingle-collar on in the morning and run around madly to make it ring.
Louie defied the housecats only twice that I know of -- once taking a caught mouse from our outdoor tiger and bringing it to me, alive, to be released. Another time we tried to hand-raise two baby mice found on an ant hill. They managed to squeeze out of a small hole in their cage while we were out, and when I got back I found her fending off the cats.
I sometimes try to save newborn kittens who are orphaned. Louie was a great helper and dearly loved these kitties. Sometimes they would die, but with her help I can count 10 babies who survived to be good pets for other people, and every one was dear to her heart. She was patient as an angel with my baby daughter and we made a song for her once:
I have a dog,
her name is Lou
She likes to hop
like a kangaroo
One eye is brown
and one is blue
She's got no teeth
so she can't chew
and when she barks she goes
Last year (1996) Louie began having "potty" accidents more and more frequently. She stopped telling me when she needed to go out and would not go potty outside even with the door wide open. She ate less and threw up frequently, sometimes with blood in it. The vet couldn't find anything specific. I considered having her "put-down" then but couldn't bring myself to do it.
Last month she stopped coming when I called, and wouldn't go out to her beloved backyard even while I did yardwork, preferring to stay in. She played less and hopped around on three legs more often, letting a rear leg dangle. Her potty accidents got worse until one night I reached down to get her for bedtime and she was lying in a puddle of pee. She looked up trustingly and wagged her pee-soaked tail, and I knew it was time to let her go.
Lou only weighed 4 lbs her last day. She died so quickly that the vet had only put in a few drops of the first shot when she fell and her heart stopped. So I knew she was truly ready to go. She died so fast her eyes were open and her tongue still hanging out in her little smile. She knew she died in perfect grace with her masters who there saying, "good doggie! What a good little dog!"
I knew it would hurt to let her die, but I never dreamed what a large hole such a tiny dog could leave in my heart and in our family. I don't think I'll get another dog for a long long time, if ever.
July 13, 1997
MY DARLING TABBY CAT
AUGUST 19, 1985- JULY 16, 1997
I had to put my precious Lori to sleep today. Words cannot describe the wonderful cat God gave to me when I was only 4. Earlier today, I wrote Lori this letter and read it to her.
Dear Loris Binkis Sweet Pea,
My darling tabby, I'm so sorry that this had to happen to you. I'll love you with all my heart for as long as I live. Everytime I look at a star, I will think of you and know that my Rose Bud is looking out for me in heaven and she is a beautiful angel. You were an angel on earth and you will be an angel in heaven. Thank you for being my best friend for 12 wonderful years. You always listened to me when I was upset and comforted me when I was sad. You purred in your final hours, you are such an inspiration. I have learned so much about love from you and I owe you so much. You always made me feel better whenever I was sad. You will always be my little girl and my first and favorite kitty. Thank you so much, I thank God for you. I love you, Delores.
Love forever and ever,
This is dedicated to Lor Lor: "If I had a single flower every time I think of you, I'd walk in a beautiful garden all my life through." I knew this day would come sometime but not this soon. I thought you would live to be at least 20.
About a week and a half ago, I was getting back from San Francisco with my family for our vacation. I was a little worried about Lori the whole time because her fur was kind of matted and she just didn't look like her usual radiant self. When we got back, she looked the same but she was having trouble swallowing, so we decided to have her checked out. My mom came back and told me that Lori had a tumor in her throat and mouth and didn't have much longer to live. We were going to put her to sleep that day, but I had to go on a white water raft trip the next day and we decided to wait until I got back. The trip was fun but sad because I knew that Lori had not much time to live. When I got back yesterday, my heart sank. Today, she died, but my memories will never die. I remember when she got stuck in big trees when she was little and she couldn't get down. My dad would get so mad because he would have to pay to get my baby down. There are so many more but I don't have room to write them. I will never forget the way she looked at me the last time I saw her. She looked at me with her bright sparkling green eyes and she looked healthy and she almost looked like she was smiling. She was the sweetest cat anyone could EVER meet, and she was packed with personality. I will always remember your little curled tail and your huge purr. Say hi to Dozi from all of us, I'm so glad you get to see your sister again. I know you're an angel because you are the sweetest kitty I have ever known. I thank God for giving me such a special cat to love, and I'm glad you love me too. I'll see you when I get to heaven. We love you and you will be in our hearts forever.
Dana, Terry, Matt, Muffin, and Brooke
P.S. Muffin misses her big sister so much. She says she loves you. Brooke says she misses you and she is sorry for tormenting you with her puppy ways. Good bye my lovely girl. You mean the world to me.
A SONG FOR SOPHIE (My precious dog)
Oh child of my heart I love you.
Although you were not my child.
You were always dear and faithful
and you always had a smile.
When I came home you were always there.
You were simply my delight. You were my
joy, not just some toy. Oh, child of my
heart I love you.
You were warm and wonderful! A life that
was so carefree. A life that has always
been here, a life that has loved just me.
You asked so little but gave SO much I knew I
could never repay you. You've touched my heart,
you've touched my soul and though I knew you must
too soon grow old--
Please know that I have loved you the best that I
could and I always knew you understood.
OH CHILD OF MY HEART HOW I DO LOVE YOU.
Born May 9, 1985 -- Departed this life July 11, 1997.
Goodbye Sophie, I will always love you.
From your human mother, ivy.
Samson, Beloved Best Pal October 19, 1986 - June 26, 1997
From the moment I first met Samson as a tiny roly poly Mastiff puppy he was the joy of my life, God's greatest gift. No one could ever ask for a more loyal and loving companion...He was with me through the good times and the bad. He loved to go hiking and camping; he pursued enourmous snow "boulders" down snowy slopes; he loved to chase the waves near Malibu; the salty dog even took a trip to Catalina Island on a sailboat. He comforted me through some of my darkest hours with a loving paw or gentle doggy kisses. He was always there to greet me with his wagging tail and smiling face after a rough day at the office - stroking his fuzzy ears and scratching his belly made me feel brand new. I wouldn't trade the 10+ years he gave me for all the wealth in the world...Samson was worth his weight in gold.
When he was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma three months ago I just knew we had a battle in store. Just like his namesake, Samson was a fighter and gave 110%. He recovered from his open chest surgery so remarkably well that his regular vet called him "the dog with nine lives" and his surgeon and cancer specialist called him "strong as a horse" and "the miracle case". He tolerated an aggressive chemotherapy protocol with no side effects. He was back...barking at the neighbors, chasing the kitty around the yard(gently and all in fun), and even digging a few new holes in the lawn, bearing the evidence in the form of an occasional muddy ring over the top of his nose. He lived to the fullest until his last 24 hours, when his dreadful disease revealed its dark work. Metastatic tumors had spread insidiously throughout his chest and abdominal cavities, ruptured and started a cascade of internal bleeding. His cancer specialist concurred with my vet that there was nothing more to do but end his suffering.
During those last moments, I held his beloved head in my arms with his teddy bear, told him what a precious angel on earth he was and how much I loved him, and at 6:45 pm he departed from my life and this world. The needles and treatments were over forever.
The marvelous joy and unconditional love Samson brought to my life are the greatest evidence of his good and beautifully pure soul. The life we had together and the love we shared go beyond the scope of mere words. The 3 months reprieve we had after his surgery were precious moments - every day was a blessing. Despite the great pain of this tragic loss, I'm consoled by the knowledge that our separation is only temporary...sometimes I can't wait to get to heaven to see him again and caress those silky ears.
Chico Scrappy Bonilla 1995-1997
He was such a good dog. He wasn't the smartest, and he was large and loved all that love and attention. My boyfriend and I loved him with all of our hearts and we miss him. He had a look that would break my heart and he could get anything he wanted with that look. I would give just about anything to have him back. He loved to play with balls, it would not matter what type it was, he would just chase them and play. He had a game he would play. He would set the ball down and let you try and grab it before he got it. He almost always won. He would growl and shake that ball, and slobber would go everywhere. If you sat on the ball or laid on it, he would dig and push you out of the way so he could get that ball. He weighed 133 pounds and still believed he was a lap dog. You could turn the corner in your car, and you could be a block away and he new the sound of your car and he would be sitting there waiting for you to pet him. In the summer he had his own little kiddie pool that we filled with water. He loved that pool. When he would drink water he would shove his entire top half of his snout into the bucket and he would come up just drenched. He wasn't a normal rottweiler he was so special. He loved kids. All the kids in the neighborhood would play with him, and he would not let anyone near them that shouldn't be. He always had to be the center of attention. If my boyfriend and I were in bed together he would jump in between us and want all the attention my boyfriend would kick him back off. He would always get back on the bed when we were asleep. We would be half asleep, and I would look and he would be watching to see if we were awake. If he thought we were asleep he would sneak one paw at a time and quietly sneak on to the bed and go to sleep. In the summer the only way we could keep him off the bed was to give him his very own fan on the floor.
I remember I was at work and I told my boyfriend he wasn't feeling good. He kept checking on him. He was rushed to the vet on a Sunday. He had a stone the size of a 1/2 dollar in his bladder. His urine was backed up into his kidneys. I cried all the time he was in there. I took him to a different vet for his surgery and the next Thursday we got him home. He hemeraged on Saturday night. He was back at the vet at 10P.M. and we took him home on the following Thursday with the note that his kidneys weren't doing good. I remember Thursday May 1st when I went to work I was told that his kidneys had shut down. His whole entire lower 1/2 of his body was filling with fluids. I sat with him as he looked up to me with those big brown eyes and I sat and cried and petted him for a 1/2 hour. My boyfriend loaded him up and took him to the vet where he was put to sleep. That was such a hard time for me and my boyfriend. I cried for days I still miss him with all of my heart. He is now out of his misery. He was in such pain. I feel badly for putting him through it but I had to do everything I could to save him. I will always remember him and treasure his memory. That is why I did this to give an attempt to keep his memory alive forever if possible. Everyone that knew him he was a blessing to their lives and he will always be cherished for all of his days.
Nermal came to live with us in January of 1997. She was only a few months old and the cutest little white kitten. Big kitty (Fluffy) liked to intimidate her and chased her around the house but in a few short days it was Nermal doing the chasing. She was a very curious kitty and liked to check everything out. She loved playing with the blinds and would purr so loudly at night it was hard to fall asleep. She liked to eat our food, sleep on our tummies and in the crook of our arms. She loved tuna and fancy feast and to drink water out of the bathtub. She was our little girl.
In March she came down with an FIP. The doctor did everything he could but her little body wasn't strong enough. I would visit her at the vet clinic, hold her in my arms and cry. Even though she was with us a short time, she leaped right into our hearts, and it was as if she had been with us forever.
We miss you Nermal, and we will always love you. I know the angels came and took you to heaven and we'll see you there.
Joan, Warren & Fluffy
To Sugar Bear, who was very loved -- 1983-1997
You were my dad's kitty, and very spoiled. When my brother and I brought you and your brother home, Dad took one look at your little white socked feet that looked like you were wearing evening gloves, your silky grey fur, your huge green eyes and the big spot of grey on your nose that made you look like you'd stuck your face in a coal bin, and he fell in love. He sat you on his lap and petted you for hours, I had never before nor since seen him show that much love to anything.
My best friend Jill once said you looked like you should be wearing a tiara, and I agreed. And, true as any royalty, often you didn't deign to do what you should, and there were many carpets you ruined because you decided you didn't want to use the freshly cleaned litter box.
When Dad was dying, lying on his hospital bed, he made me promise I would take good care of you, and I know I did. I always made sure the little Sugar Bear had everything she needed, including lots of love.
You were 14, blind, and missing most of your teeth, but you were still beautiful. Unfortunately, you had also decided the couch was going to be your new bathroom place. I knew then it was time. I made Chris take you in the room by himself, because I knew it would hurt too much to watch you go. I was crying as he took you away, and the vet techs all looked at me with sympathy. I felt like a crud anyway. Even Chris, who never could tolerate your rather cavalier bathroom habits very well, had tears in his eyes.
You were loved, you little stinker, no matter how many carpets you ruined! The thought that you're with Dad and your brother now, sitting in his lap while he pets you and feeds you bacon, makes me smile and feel very glad. I know now you were trying to tell me it was time, sweetie, and I'm glad I listened.
SUGAR WAS MY BABY
AS ONLY SHE COULD BE
THE DAUGHTER THAT I LONGED FOR
A FAMILY GIRL LIKE ME
SHE WAS MY LITTLE SHADOW
AND LISTENED WHILE I TALKED
SHE WAS WITH ME EVERY MOMENT
NO MATTER WHERE I WALKED
SHE FILLED MY HEART WITH GLADNESS
AND MADE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD
A CLOWN, SHE WAS, MY PRECIOUS
AND ALWAYS RATHER PROUD
SHE LOVED ME WITH NO LIMITS
SHE WAS LOYAL AND SO SWEET
AND EVEN WHEN SHE WAS NAUGHTY
SHE FILLED MY HEART COMPLETE
SHE WAS PESTY AND DEMANDING
AND SHE TOLD ME WHAT TO DO
BUT I DID IT ALL TOO GLADLY
BECAUSE I LOVED HER TOO
AND NOW MY HEART IS BROKEN
MY SWEET "SUGAR" DOG IS GONE
NO MORE WILL SHE COME GREET ME
LIFE WILL BE DIFFERENT FROM NOW ON
I KNOW SHE KNOWS I LOVE HER
AND I'LL NEVER BE THE SAME
SHE TOUCHED ME LIKE NO OTHER
AND SUGAR WAS HER NAME.....
BORN: MAY 20, 1985
DIED: FEBRUARY 17, 1997
MUCH LOVED AND SORELY MISSED..........
MONETTE -- MY POODLE, MY BEST FRIEND
May 9, 1981-May 23, 1997
You entered this world on the Ninth of May,
Nineteen Hundred Eighty-One.
When Nana could not sell you, I was relieved.
You were the best birthday present, I had ever received.
Boredom defined my being an only child,
That is until you entered my life, bringing with you a smile.
You were so tiny, with your fur as black as tar,
You always loved going bye-bye in the car.
Breaking down on one of our trips to New Jersey,
Mom has always been there to protect you and me.
Finding you in the hamper one Fourth of July;
When left home alone, you would always cry.
You hated taking baths and being all wet,
You'd run around the house, like a crazy little pet.
At first you were referred to as "Little Tiger", by Auntie Maymay,
And then as "Monette My Pet", by someone whom did not stay.
Mommy always called you her baby,
And referred to you as my sister;
I would just laugh,
As you would kiss her.
But you will always be our "Beautiful Little Girl",
Regardless of whether you are no longer for this world.
Dog food...what is that?
People food is what made you fat.
Hot dogs, prime rib, and beef stew,
Mommy always made sure there were left-overs for you!
Cookies, ice cream, candy too,
Daddy would say, "Just One", but you always took a few!
Fresh water, snacks, and being fork fed,
Sleeping under the covers, only in my bed!
Your pillow, your little bows and your disks,
You with your belongings are sadly missed!
My number one fear of going away to college...
Thoughts of not seeing you again; I did very much dread.
A few of your last months we spent together;
Although, you will remain in my heart forever!
Now all that I can do is ask why...
All that I wanted was to say good-bye.
But as the saying goes, "Life is not meant to be fair."
For your last days, I just wish that I could've been there.
Please Monette, ALWAYS remember...
We love you and miss you, and will forget you NEVER!!!
Join Lucky, Speckles, Psycho, Nole,
Jackie, Spice and Skippy and just have fun!!!
Love Forever and Always,
Rachel, Mommy and Daddy
Bandit: The Miracle Bird......
Our youngest son found this cedar wax wing in our yard with a broken wing. We knew right away this was a special bird; because he allowed us to feed him, even though he was injured. The Vet amputated the broken wing due to gang-green and gave us three weeks worth of antibiotics at no charge. We named him bandit because of a black mask over his eyes. He had poor balance with only one wing. Bandit drowned several times, by falling over in his drinking water. My husband was able to resuscitate him each time. We had a cat named, Smokey. She watched over the bird; when ever it fell out of its cage, even in the middle of night and all night long. Smokey and the Bandit were the best of friends. Sadly, our miracle bird met his demise from a wolf spider bite. But for six years he miraculously beat the odds.
Spot: A Lop-eared Rabbit......
Our sons had been begging us for a dog. My husband and I decided on a rabbit, because they don't bark and keep the neighbors awake at night. Our boys named him Spot. Spot loved to play ball with them in the back yard. He even came to us when we called him by name. Every year he helped with the easter egg hunt. Spot also loved to sit on our lap and watch T.V. There was this one time that we took him to a poodle groomer. He was pampered and given the full treatment. The groomer raved about how well behaved he was while being bathed and clipped. Spot was loved by everyone that knew him. He eventually went blind and died of old age. We now live in the country and have four dogs, a cat, and chickens. However, Spot will always be special to us; he was our first dog.
Cheryll Kastan, left, and Winnie. Cheryll adopted Winnie from the Agoura, California, Animal Shelter.
Windsor (Winnie) Kastan --- 1985 - 1997
Angels. There's no such thing as angels. A construction of a fertile and godly mind, the harmless product of some zealot of old -- well-meaning but misguided. Certainly not a concept of the 21st century, this notion of angels, when science will most probably ascend to its long-sought place as ruler of our systems of belief.
Yes, science is good, something we can see and experience. Rivers and bays have been cleansed, medical miracles seem to abound, and we may be beginning to understand ourselves, our planet, our universe.
The problem with understanding angels is we're just so darn literal. It's difficult for us to speak seriously of creatures with gossamer wings and faces of pure light winging about doing God knows what? And just how many of us have seen an angel lately?
I have. Two. They've been with me for three years now. They are so familiar to me, so much a part of every good thing there is about me, that I can't imagine how not to believe in them. And they are so alike, not in physical form, but in their strength, joy, and love, the essential elements of their beings.
In many ways they're just like us. My two angels have feelings, they experience the whole range of emotion. And my angels are soul mates. They share a great love, one that started long before they met. Winnie always knew that someday Cheryll would find her, would love her. And when they did find each other, they knew. Cheryll gazed upon Winnie and saw eyes that knew her. Now, Cheryll can't remember the time before Winnie. The love they share spills out in a radiant shower, blessing all those near to them.
Somewhere between a dream and a wish I see their faces of pure light and goodness, their heavenly wings. They make me smile when I am sad, they suspend me in their perfumed air when my weight is too heavy. They give me voice, song, life itself. Because they are with me, I can only guess that somewhere along the path of my life I did something right.
It's the job of angels to show us how to love. It's a huge job because there is a huge need, as the newspapers tell us daily. There are not enough angels to go around, what with so many people needing, wanting, asking for love. So angels must move on, to help others. That's their job, after all.
On May 3rd, 1997, Winnie moved on. She was needed elsewhere. She may never find another Cheryll, and, as difficult as it is for them to part -- because, like I said, they feel pain like us, they grieve, they cry -- it's their job to touch as many souls as possible.
I think somehow Cheryll and Winnie will find each other again. It takes two to make a love big enough to do the job.
I will miss my beautiful angel Winnie. And my lovely angel Cheryll will grieve. But one day those familiar eyes will once again shine back at Cheryll, and some fortunate mortals will be blessed once again.
There are many thing I do not understand, but because of my angels Winnie and Cheryll, I know love.
Lucy Eakins, Malibu, California
In memory of Winnie Kastan, and
In tribute to Cheryll Kastan, Malibu, California