Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Clear eyes

As I’ve been crying on your virtual shoulder all week, thought I’d share a couple of things nice. Yours is not the only dry-cleaning I’ve ruined. An amazing number of people in the neighborhoods around here knew Phoebe.

Since Saturday, when I walked Albert, people in passing would ask about Phoebe. And before you knew it they were hugging me and I was drooling on their jacket.

But this evening I ran into someone I’ve known for 10 years. He has a min pin, a friend of Phoebe’s. This min pin is the same age as Phoebe; was brown when was P was brown. They grayed together.

This guy asked after Phoebe, and I told him what happened. And I didn’t dissolve into a wet and sticky mess.

When we hugged, he asked me, “How should I prepare myself? My dog is old, any advice?”

And I thought about it for the rest of the walk. Here's my advice: Don’t prepare. Don’t steel yourself ahead of time as it won’t make a lick of difference. Just give your dog or cat or whatever friend, one more kindness than is usual, every day. This will bring you comfort.

I wrote my Patch piece about Phoebe. As if I could write about anything else. And I like what I wrote; it’s not the slobbering piece you’ve come to expect from me. Really. It’s measured and true. Respectful, loving; what she deserves. At least, I think it is. I wouldn't entirely trust my own judgment quite yet.


  1. I live in denial when it comes to Scout. People say she is growing gray around her muzzle. "No she's not," I say. I can't even think about her getting old

  2. I know. When Phoebes and I were at the vet about three years ago, some guy said, "Well, and who is this old fellow." Phoebe and I looked at each other in amazement, clearly thinking, "And who is this crazy asshole?"

  3. It was the same with Flora... Only seeing her younger photos I saw she was an old lady...

    Karin it's so true what you wrote: "Just give your dog or cat or whatever friend, one more kindness than is usual, every day. This will bring you comfort."

    So beautiful and touching your article on Patch.
    My thoughts are with you.

  4. Well, apparently, I'm not done with the grieving and the crying yet.

    I've adopted all but one of my animals as seniors, so I enter into it knowing that the sun is already setting for them and do my best to give them the best retirement years I possibly can. When my senior citizen girl, Celine, yells at me for attention, I tend to drop what I'm doing and give it to her because I know the day will come, all too soon, when she won't be there underfoot any more and I'll miss her like crazy.

    You did the right thing by Phoebe.

  5. It is heartbreaking when they go but we can't hang onto them forever, only give them as good a life as possible.

  6. I love your advice, and I'm going to take it - there is time enough for grief when grief comes, in the meantime, we must enjoy each day we are given together, and celebrate them fully!

  7. So sorry for your loss, Karin. Be comforted by remembering what a great life you gave Phoebe. Walks in nature, treats, hugs, love and more walks. What more could any dog want?

  8. It was a wonderful tribute to your girl. You are right; you can't prepare. You can only enjoy each day. I had already planned Thor's "half birthday" in November, with applesauce meringue cake. It never occurred seriously to me that he would not eat that cake.

  9. I've been away for a while
    Sorry to hear about Phoebe
    I grew attached to her from the begining
    I often spoke to Winston and Ulura about her
    They are now both at that age
    Ulura the mutt is still alpha to Winston the Dane
    Both have trouble jumping the enlarged doggie door
    Sometimes they don't and just lie in the house
    I look at them and they at me
    We comiserate
    And Wait
    We have good days and better days
    I'll tell Winst and Uls about the friend they knew
    But never met
    Give her a virtual kiss for me

  10. Oh man. For several years, Phoebe was the most popular dog at the Ritz Carlton cocktail bar in Pasadena. Everyone loved her -- the cocktail waitresses, the bartenders, the customers. She had perfect manners and looked very chic.

  11. But the tears never completely dry up. They will find you, someday, someplace. Just like a wet nose in your hand or on the back of your leg - tears will be there.

    Your 'farewell' posts were lovely, and full of tears!

  12. Phoebe was a party girl? I shoulda known.

  13. Partied every chance she got. Angela left a comment about her boxers -- boxers are the ultimate clowns. They'll do anything to make you laugh, and when you do, they'll jump up and down and practically clap their paws.

    So I figure it's a process of rewinding the story to a slightly earlier place.

  14. So sad to read about Phoebe; my heart goes out to you. I've been away too and just caught up on your post for the last few weeks; so many great photos of Phoebe the Facewasher. I also just read your amazing Patch piece. The way Phoebe dealt with that angry kid who kicked her really got me. Imagine if we could all be that kind to people who kick us.

  15. Beautiful tribute on Patch. Poor Albert! That part really got me. I'm sorry I never got to meet her (or go to the Ritz with her). Hang in there.

  16. Oooooh yes. You just twirl and whirl in it for awhile.

  17. Your advice is perfect, Karin. I'm going to take it to heart and treat my furry friends with extra kindness, every day. They all send you thanks.

    Your Patch piece is beautiful.

  18. Nope, there's no preparing. Love them every day, as every day with them is a gift. Your Patch piece is beautiful and dignified. But I'm glad I'm was in my wash and wear, nonetheless.

  19. When I see the photos I took of Daisy during her last year, I am shocked to see how old she actually looked. To me she was always our beautiful Golden Girl...

    When Daisy passed, our little calico cat Sadie would walk around the house at night when we all should have been home and she literally screamed at us as if to ask what's happened? Where's Daisy?? My heart broke a little bit more, each time....

  20. I think that's the way it should be, Kathy.

    One more bit about Albert -- he's always been a dog who pulled on the leash, straining to go forward. For the past several days, on our walks, he's become a sniffing dog. Checking scents every step of the way.

    It didn't hit me until today, he searching for her. And as she marked her territory as often as I'd let her and for years, we're going to be following a false trail for awhile.

  21. The whole Patch piece is excellent, but I'm most moved by Albert's response. How much does he know? All of it? What does one do for Albert?

  22. Some years ago I hand another Great Dane and a white lab. One day, in the Lab’s 14th year, she could no longer move and we carried her into the vet’s office where she was put down. For several nights the Dane walked about the house, and outside sniffing. Then he when into the hallway, lay down and passed on. Dogs know when their loved ones go.

  23. I have cried with you everyday. I put my Little Sheba down on 12/21/2010 and I still cry when I think of her. During her last summer with me someone gave me "The Art of Racing in the Rain". I knew it was Sheba's last summer and the book made me bawl like a baby. Good luck I hope your recovery is faster than mine.

  24. Oh, anonymous. These days, I think I've felt some kindred spirits, I really do. And I'm sure yours was one. Thank you.

  25. Hiker,
    Pardon my French........ SHIT. I didn't know our sweet Phoebe was gone. Oh my heart if breaking not for her, because she was loved so well to the very end, but for you and Albert. I'm just glad I'll be there next week to give you a huge hug my sweet friend. I don't know what else to say because I'm so lame at writing what I feel.

  26. Karin, tears flowing like a waterfall when I read this. So sorry for your loss! Back in 2003, our beloved Akita, Yuki, at age 10 was diagnosed with cancer and there came a day when she could no longer eat and was in constant pain, and we just knew when it was time to make that heart-wrenching trip with her to the vet's. A year later, we got our 2nd Akita, Hana, who will be turning 7 next week. She's still as sprightly (and bonkers) as ever. Phoebe was so very lucky to have you and you to have her in your life.

  27. I'm so, so sorry about Phoebe. What a lucky girl she was to have such a fun companion to hang out with. There is nothing better than dog-love, is there?