This week a friend made a generous donation to a fundraising campaign, Paws on a Mission for our hospital therapy dog program. Instead of honoring Alex, who is one of the “furry fundraisers” with his very own fundraising page, she chose to make her donation in memory of my beloved spaniels, Byron and Emily. This thoughtful gesture brought tears to my eyes, but it also warmed my heart. Once more, I felt the power of dogs to bring out the best in each of us. Once more, I experienced the gifts that they give, even in death.
Archive for the ‘pet loss’ Category
Little Pearls, an Asheville-based nonprofit film-maker specializing in “tiny films,” has produced a beautiful, one-minute long “Dog Pearl,” that conveys a comforting and spiritual message about pet loss. The film was inspired by the death of Katie, a dog belonging to Little Pearls’ creative director. This poignant meditation, filmed on a beautiful mountaintop bald near Asheville, depicts a vision of Katie running joyful and free. Click here to view this lovely “Dog Pearl.”
In my last post I wrote about looking up at the Dog Star in the early morning sky, a ritual I found healing following the loss of Byron and Emily. I mentioned that objects with star motifs began appearing in my life, as if the dogs were letting me know that we are still connected. Thus, I was surprised and delighted to come across a new book, Pawprints in the Stars; a Farewell and Journal for a Beloved Pet written and illustrated by Warren Hanson (Tristan Publishing, 2008). (more…)
Following the loss of Byron in 2007, I began a morning ritual to connect with his spirit. Standing on my back porch, I could see the Dog Star Sirius in the early morning sky. I would take a few moments in the quiet of the dawn to look up at the star and remember him. I had a strong feeling he was watching over me, and this simple ritual was comforting.
As if he was answering me back, I began to notice star motifs appearing everywhere. Digging around in a cupboard in the garage, I pulled out an extra dog dish to take to the cabin. It was a handmade pottery dish, with a star motif. I had completely forgotten I had this dish. The circle seemed complete when little Alex was born with a small white mark on his back like a shooting star. I still look up at the stars, and think of all my beloved dogs. Browsing through my dog poetry collection, I came across this poem. (more…)
In the process of compiling Angel Pawprints; Reflections on Loving and Losing a Canine Companion, I acquired an extensive library of dog literature, including poems, stories, essays, and tributes. I love the old books with their thick, rough-edged pages and charming pen and ink illustrations. Sometimes there is a bookplate on the inside cover or inscription in flowing fountain-pen script on the frontispiece. I like to think of the book’s previous owners and how they must have loved dogs too. I’ve decided to share some favorite dog poems in this blog. (more…)
Following the loss of Marmaduke and Molly, I embarked on a project to compile poems and tributes to dogs that had died. I found them in out of print books and out of the way places. Most of the tributes that were ultimately published in Angel Pawprints; Reflections on Loving and Losing a Canine Companion were written in the early 1900s, although I included a few contemporary poems as well. Through this project I became a collector of antiquarian dog books, vintage photos of dogs, and quotes about dogs. I never tire of reading about dogs and the countless ways in which they enrich our lives. Thus, I was delighted to find this treasure, a new book called Dog Blessings; Poems, Prose, and Prayers Celebrating Our Relationship with Dogs, edited by June Cotner. (more…)
“Putting their things away is one of the hardest parts,” a friend observed as we compared notes on pet loss. What do you do with the toys, the bed, the collar, the leftover medicines? There is no one right answer. (more…)
It’s been fifteen years since that Easter Sunday when I burst into tears at the sight of lilies surrounding the altar. I was standing at the back of the church, looking over the crowded pews for a place to sit, and there were those dozens of lilies, each one representing the loss of a loved one. Tears started rolling down my cheeks. Clutching my bulletin, I rushed past the startled ushers and left the church, my head down, fumbling in my purse for my sun glasses to hide the tears. After that, it was a long time before I could get through a church service without crying. Even now, sometimes the music will bring tears. I’ve learned to have a tissue in my purse. I’ve learned also that it’s okay to honor the memory of a pet in church. (more…)