Friday, June 10, 2011

Thoughts from the Week

It's been a difficult week for us.  As many of you know, Romeo passed away last Saturday evening, from heart complications at the emergency vet's.  I truly appreciate the care and concern that the pet blogging community has shown to me this week - it really did help me through the worst of the days to read your comments, blog posts, and tributes to him.

We planted catnip plants in the back corner of our yard, one for Romeo, and one for Guido, my mom-in-law's cat that passed on a couple of months ago.  It is the start of a memorial garden that we would like to make - for those two and the other animals that will join them as time goes on.  (For I know that unless we ourselves come to an untimely end, we will outlive all of them.)  We would like to make it a little fenced in area, with an arbor as a gate, a bench to sit, and of course some pretty plantings.  So far, we have two catnip plants and an Allegheny Serviceberry tree (which I planted in April, not knowing what we would eventually decide to do with that corner of the yard.)

Otherwise, we've just been trying to muddle through.  I took Monday off from work; I have a very understanding boss, and decided that I needed an extra day to get a grip on my emotions before going back.  And of course, the animals have been a great help to us.

Bit decided that I needed to be distracted...  as soon as I saw what was happening, I had a choice.

I could get upset at the shredded toilet paper, or I could laugh so hard that I cried, and take pictures.  I think you can see what my choice was.

Charlotte and Annie got along better this week than they ever have.  They even shared a recliner for a couple of days.

While neither one of them cared much for Romeo while we had him with us, I think that his disappearance made them feel insecure... either that or they were picking up on our emotions.  I was constantly walking in and finding them either sharing the chair or the couch, something practically unheard of.

Argos, sensitive soul that he is, took the emotional upheaval the hardest.  He and Romeo were never snuggle-buddies, but they did spend a lot of time together, as we'd leave them alone together when we went to work. And Argos was the only one that knew for a fact that Romeo had died... he was out in the yard when we buried him, and got his scent.  He was also upset because WE were upset.  He followed us around constantly.

He placed himself in the middle of the study, between my computer and Jeff's and would watch back and forth, highly concerned.

The foster cats were sweet, and made me laugh on more than one occasion.  Patches waits until I lie down and fan my hair out behind me.  He then lies down on TOP of my hair, and starts playing with it, rolling in it, batting at it, having a great time.  And it made me giggle, which seemed to please him.

Here is Patches, lying on the most coveted kitty-bed in the house.  It is a simple mesh bag, a freebie from LexisNexis.  I'm not sure that Lexis would entirely approve of this "off-label" use of their branding merchandise, but the kitties think it is the best.

And here is Mitchell, checking out the new drinking fountain that we bought in an attempt to have plenty of fresh water available for them.

So... the animals have kept us busy and entertained.  This is something that I am grateful to them for.  It didn't eliminate my grief, of course, but it helped keep me distracted, and gave me reasons that I HAD to get up off of the couch.  I might have been saddened and depressed, but Argos had to have dinner.  Charlotte needed her medicine.  Bit was crying and needed to be snuggled and reassured.  The fosters needed to come out of their room for some exercise.  Argos needed to be walked.  It was all a huge help, actually.  Giving me something to do was the best thing that they could have done.


  1. Isn't it wonderful how sensitive and secure our animals are for us. To keep us going and help us grieve together. It is one of the many blessings of having a multi-pet home. Our paws are crossed for you during this time. Thank you for sharing Romeo with us and your grief and letting us be there for you. You are not alone in losing Romeo, I have tears when I read your post about him. Peace.

  2. Still thinking of you and sending you hugs!!!

    Rubie and her mum.

  3. It always amazes me how animals can pick up on emotions! Miss Lucy knows right away if one of us is upset, and she instantly goes into 'caretaker doggy' mode (which is often painful, because it involves a lot of overly-enthusiastic tail wagging, sometimes to our faces lol). I am glad your other four-legged family members stepped up to the caretaker role for you guys (even if in their own odd ways)! :)

  4. I've always found the most comfort from our pets when I've suffered a loss. I'm glad yours all pulled together to get you through the tough parts! I know it isn't easy, but pets do make it more bearable.

  5. It is bittersweet in a way, a loss is suffered yet life goes on. And yes it really could be no other way, but when a loss is experienced it does feel like the world crashed and caved in, yet there is this small (and sometimes not so small) tugging of life pulling on the sleeve. It was good that the animals were there to hlep distract and reward with their playful antics..your heart will always miss sweet Romeo but he will never be forgotten.

  6. Our pets know us so well, which shouldn't be surprising considering we are their world, yet it's so gratifying to know they notice and they care. Good for them!
    Take Care, Trish

  7. Dear Carnies, I join 24Paws in tears, again -- but these are sweet ones. I am so touched to imagine about your garden idea. It's heaven. You are the best. Will you give us a picture? And to read of how you and the rest of the family coped with the grieving process -- again heaven. I myself have considerable difficulty connecting with feelings, but I have learned that when they get through my defenses, even if they are sadness and often they are, I end up feeling better. More ease, more full -- more human. Or maybe I even prefer to say: More animal. I thank you very, very much for your fluency with emotion, and your willingness to share that ability of yours with us your community, your friends, your pals, your compadres -- Somebody better stop me, because I enjoy these words so much I might just keep going until this little box quits on me. With love, gratitude, ((((hugs))) Anita & Bugs

  8. Our pets will do as much for us as we allow them and if we allow them to do everything then they will:) Those of us who allow our animals into our hearts are so lucky. I think even though they will eventually break our hearts, it's been worth it:) Hugs to all your family, 2 and 4 legged and I love the poster of Romeo.

  9. It is so nice that everyone pitched in to try and cheer you up and take care of you. It's a rough time for everyone. Purrs and hugs.

  10. Oh I'm SO sorry! I didn't see the earlier posts and this is the first I've learned of Romeo. I'm really so sorry for your loss.

    I'm glad, however, that you have other animals at home. Only once, when my dog before Layla had to get put to sleep did I have an empty house. I'll never go through that again because it just magnifies the emptiness.

    Layla and Casey deal with death in different ways. When my hamster, Dusty died, before I buried her I gave the dogs the option of coming over and sniffing her. I had her little carrier in my lap, with her body in the carrier. Casey came over, sniffed her, and laid his head on my lap next to it. It was a hug, clear as day. Layla on the other hand, came into the room, looked at the carrier, and turned and walked right away. She wanted nothing to do with it. Earlier in the year (almost a year ago exactly) my Grandmother was on hospice and at home, more or less already dead, but breathing nonetheless. I took Layla with me over to my dad's house because the family members (myself included) could benefit from her more than my unconscious Grandma. Layla was fairly close with my Grandma (we lived with her for about the first year of Layla's life, and Grandma spoiled her rotten) and she wanted nothing to do with seeing her, either. She wasn't freaked out. She just walked away.

    Sorry if it seems like I hi-jacked your blog and went off on a tangent, but I have nothing to share but grief and sympathy over the loss of a pet and I thought a story might help the grief a bit.

    I'm really sorry about Romeo. I believe you did 100% everything you could have for him - took him to the vet countless times, got him his treatment, gave him a loving home - there are just times when everything isn't enough. You guys were wonderful to him. Please let me know if you need anything, and I'll try not to attack you with another rambling story.

  11. Thank you, everyone, for your ongoing support. Our other pets do truly make it easier to endure a pet's death; if nothing else they keep the house from seeming too empty, but of course they also want to comfort and be comforted.

    I will definitely post pics of the memorial garden as it progresses. As with any project that we undertake, I tend to do it slowly and ponderously, so it will take awhile before it is complete. I'll post pics in stages!

    I'm glad that my lingering sadness does not appear to be off-putting. It's honest emotion, and it's fantastic knowing that I can show it instead of hiding.

    And no fears regarding hijacking! It's always fascinating to me to see how differently animals react to things; they, just like us, have their own personalities and ways of coping.

  12. Bless our hearts!! I am so sorry for your loss and I am so sorry for my lose.
    Bambi has been gone 10 days now and I am starting to feel a little better. We have a pet cemetery where Bambi was buried. There is now 4 dogs and 2 cats in the cemetery. I am going to keep blogging and celebrate her and the others life with me.
    Thank you for your kind words when I needed them so badly.
    I am so sorry for your lose. It is the part of pet ownership I don;t like!!!!
    Keep looking in on me please.
    xx, Fern

  13. Heya Melanie, good morning. I thought of you fondly today, when I saw DOG OF THE DAY for June 14. Check it out.

  14. That's great! (Or should I say greyt!) I shouldn't let Argos read that, though; he only has two beds of his own.

  15. It sounds like you are working through it day by day, which is the only way it can be. It's wonderful that you have other animals to help you by providing love and entertainment and a distraction. I do know that many animals take the death of a housemate just as hard as we do. I love the idea of a memorial garden, and think it bring you a measure of peace. My thoughts and purrs are with you.

  16. I'm so sorry your loss. As you posted on my blog, we are only a week apart in loosing our boys.

    You are in my thoughts. We will both get through this. Hugs to you.