Rascal (RIP 3/23/16)

Denial – I knew he was sick. But I didn’t think he was that sick. Sure, cataracts blinded him, but that didn’t mean death. In fact, I was working on an inspirational post to show how pets don’t let illness ruin them. Rascal ran up and down the stairs just like normal; he didn’t mope about because of his visual impairment. However, about three months ago, he’d started vomiting. It wasn’t a lot, but throwing up is a sign. The vet had switched him to a prescription dog food. He refused the dry. He loved the wet. Still, he threw up. By the time I’d taken him back for a wellness visit, he was six pounds and his skeletal structure poked through his apricot fur. Dr. B. guessed that it was lymphoma of the intestines. But I still didn’t think the vet would suggest euthanizing him.

Bargaining – I should’ve taken him to the vet sooner. I should’ve been a better pet owner and friend. I wished I could’ve done more for Rascal. I snapped out of these thoughts. I cared for Rascal close to twelve years and I wasn’t going to let the last three months dictate my dedication. None of us holds the fate of another being in our hands, no matter how intertwined we become.

Anger – No, I didn’t want a “replacement dog,” as my best friend suggested. No, I wasn’t going to get a fish tank, as the mail lady recommended. Fish and dogs are not remotely similar. No, I didn’t want to talk about it and re-live trauma over and over again. And no, I didn’t want to be cheered up. Unlike many, I’m comfortable being sad and angry because I know it won’t last forever. No emotion does.

Depression – I take that back. I’d never felt so much pain for so long in all my life. Uncontrollable sadness ruled me for a few days. My mother died 27 years prior. My father died less than a year ago. I’ve attended a barrage of funerals in between. But I never could’ve predicted the heartache associated with losing Rascal. I thought I would sit in the car and quietly weep. You know, poetic-like? I didn’t. I wailed. I made noises I didn’t know existed. The person who always has it together, who analyzes death as a part of life, who writes about attachment and detachment as natural occurrences could not stop crying. It continued throughout the day when I felt compelled to walk a deceased Raz that evening. It persisted the next morning when I opened the blinds and porch door for an absent Rascal to sit outside. I held myself together long enough to teach, and then when the last student left, tears streamed down my face. Surely, this would end. I just didn’t know when.

Acceptance – You never think about your own dog actually dying. I didn’t, anyway. The day he was euthanized, I washed all of his belongings and donated them to the Humane Society. I knew it was an important step in my grieving process. I thought about how grateful I was to be able to have a dog that fit our family. I’d chosen a Toy Poodle due to Dwight’s allergies. He was little and smart, just like the rest of us. He cuddled with Desi when she rested, and when Kesi allowed him to, he slept in his favorite place, a blanket next to her bed. He traveled many states because if I could bring Raz with me, then I did. I suppose that’s why there was an outpouring of love when I announced it on Facebook. If you know me, then you knew Rascal. I’m grateful that I experienced pet-owner love. People say pets are like family, but I disagree, if you welcome a pet into your home, then s/he probably is family. I know Rascal was.

img_0629RIP Rascal (April 15, 2004-March 23, 2016)

122 thoughts on “Rascal (RIP 3/23/16)

  1. Awww, Kathy. My condolences to you. I lost my beloved cat Misty in 2011 and it still hurts. I’ve never quite gotten over it and you captured all the feelings I had at that time and sometimes still do. She was 16 and had kidney failure. The vet told me I could put her on dialysis but I thought they were crazy. What kind of quality of life would that give her and I thought it would be inhumane to make her suffer like that. But I questioned whether or not I should have done it after she died. I had her put to sleep and held her as she took her last breath. Yes, I agree they are not like family, they ARE family, our babies and our friends as well. We take care of them and they take care of us too. A quick excerpt from my journal the day after she died:

    “…she’s been such a good kitty. Such a good little companion. I am done. She broke the mold…I am grateful for the memories. Grateful for your nose-kisses and head-butts. Grateful for the vet bills. Grateful for the pee-pee spills. Grateful that my heart now grieves because it means you mattered to me.”

    I had a disastrous attempt to adopt another cat last year but had to surrender her back to the shelter. It was too hard. I’ll write about that at some point.

    Until then, be comforted in knowing that Rascal mattered to you…and you to him also. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Girl, you almost made me cry all over again! Thanks for such a heartfelt and understanding response. It was truly a difficult time and sometimes I still get a little choked up about it if I allow myself to. Again, I’m glad you understand and thanks for the part about your new adoption. I know for a fact that I cannot possibly get another dog. Right now, I just love on other people’s dogs and keep it moving 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Such an adorable dog. I can tell by the photos that he was a sweet dog. I see it all in the eyes. I pray you get a chance to see him again in a dream. I always believe those are visitations from heaven. Sending lots of love and healing energy your way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Tunisia! He really was. For the longest, I felt his presence. It felt like he was walking through the bedroom door, like he always did (even though he wasn’t supposed to). That lasted about a week. Thanks so much.

      Liked by 1 person

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