08 April 2012

On Loss, and New Beginnings

T.S. Eliot got it wrong. This year, at least, March was the cruelest month. A really, really horrid month. On the 10th, we lost Sylvie, whom David had adopted as a pound kitty back in 1995. She had lost some ground from apparent inflammatory bowel issues, but we seemed to be making headway dealing with that. Within a 4 week period from February to March, though, she developed a liver tumor, most likely a biliary adenocarcinoma, and deteriorated quickly.

Sylvie was the Jan Brady of our little blended family, always complaining that her adopted siblings were stealing away her attention. In her younger years, she had been something of a teenage runaway, once escaping and getting trapped in a nearly inaccessible space between two apartment buildings in New Jersey.

Then exactly two weeks later came the cruelest blow of all. We had to say goodbye to our dear, sweet Tuck. As happens with his type of condition, his lungs had fibrosed to a point that they simply couldn't sustain him anymore. After a week of back-and-forth between home and the clinic to put him in oxygen, we finally had to face the reality of the situation and the fact that it just wasn't fair to him anymore. I always tell my clients that quality of life for a pet means they can eat, drink, pee, poop, and sleep reasonably comfortably. When all was said and done, Tuck could only sleep relatively comfortably, so he spent his last hour and a half lying on a bed between David and me, with his head resting in my hand and equal measures of tears and kisses.

And I'm realizing now why it's taken me two weeks to write this. As much as I know that it was the right thing for him, I miss my littledog so very, very much. The funny thing about grief, though, is that it's not linear.  Sometimes it sneaks up and grabs you by the short hairs when you least expect it. 

And although there will never, ever be another Tuck, his absence left a hole in our lives, so it didn't take long for us to start looking. I thought about a border collie, partly because it seemed like less of a cheat, I suppose. David, however, would have none of that. He wanted another frenchie, and really, I did, too. There's a lot of personality in a very compact, but decidedly non-froofy package - all the things I love in a dog.

So I started by looking at the rescue listings and none seemed appropriate for our household, so then I moved on to breeders. We agreed that a younger, healthy dog was what we wanted this time. Losing Tuck so soon was a heartbreak like no other, and we don't want to go through that again for a good long while. And after a bit of communication back and forth with a few breeders, David ended up driving to Springfield, MA, early this morning to meet a juvenile male, 9 months old today, whom the breeders had decided to cut from their show line. It was, apparently, love at first sight. Having such a young dog will be a change for us, but it sounds like the reason they decided to end his show career was that he was more about snuggles and lovin' than about prancing in the show ring. And that's just fine by us.

We don't even know yet what his registered name is - most likely Campcovo Bella Luna's {insert pop song title} - but we won't be keeping his kennel/call name. David informed me that it's his turn to name this one, though, so I guess we all get to wait to learn what he'll be called in this house. Hopefully he'll be coming to live in this house within the next week, so fingers crossed David hurries up.


Chris said...

I am so sorry to hear about Sylvie and Tuck. :( But glad to hear that a new little guy will be joining you and David soon.

Love This Space said...

I'm so sorry. It sucks pretty bad. I lost two of mine in the last 6 months which is very cruel. Your new family member is so lucky to be coming to live with you and Tuck was so lucky to be loved by you.

Sheepish Annie said...

I was so sorry to hear about Tuck and Sylvie. You are so right about grief not being linear. I still have Big Fluffy Kitty breakdowns every now and again. But there is room for happiness, too and I think your new addition will go a long way towards that!

JJ said...

Is he there yet?

Mark W. said...

I'm so sorry to hear the sad news, Mel. My condolences to you and David.

Your new Frenchie boy looks like quite a handsome lad, and I hope he'll have a long, healthy, happy life with you!

Angie said...

I was so sad to hear about Tuck's passing. It's never easy to loose someone you love no matter what form they come in. I hope your heart heals soon and that you can think of your Tuck and Sylvie with smiles. I can't wait to hear what you name your new pup!

sue said...

I'm so sorry to hear of Sylvie and Tuck's passings. It's so very hard to lose our furry kids. And though the new guy that is coming can never take Tuck's place, I'm sure he will help fill the void.

Lisa/knitnzu said...

It's so much harder to write about it in a blog post than fb, no?

That grief thing isn't linear, but it eases into something not quite so painful after a while. Hugs again.

We're all looking forward to meeting the new boy!

Kimberly (Melanthe on Rav) said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I just lost my dear kitty of almost 17 years less than 2 weeks ago. I feel the pain in your words. Things are never quite the same after the fur babies touch our hearts.

Best wishes.

Maureen said...

I never could have another animal after my beloved cat and dog died one after the other, in a similar manner to your own. Just can't face it again.It's been five years now, and I often think about a new pet - but it's simply too painful to lose them.

kmkat said...

I am so sorry you lost Sylvie and Tuck, but happy that they had you during their lives. Critters are such good friends. Your new boy looks lovable -- lucky for him he was too much about the snuggles and cuddles than the show ring!

Tallguy said...

I have just heard about your loss of Sylvie and Tuck. I'm so sorry that you had to go through this, and so soon together. That is really hard.

I'm glad to see that you have another little family member who has adopted you both quickly and so happily. I'm sure he will brighten up your lives in countless ways. He does have an intelligent look on his face, if such a thing is possible! I can see many little knit things in his future!

Unknown said...

I'm so sorry about Tuck and Sylvie. Oh, that photo of your littledog in his his warm woolly tugs at my heart and I never even got to meet the little guy.

I know this is months late, but for all that, it comes with love and virtual hugs from across the ocean. Love to you and David, and a shy welcome and hello to your newbie(s), and here's hoping that the puppy years carry you forwards in a merry tide of that glorious and life affirming puppy enthusiasm that reminds us that every day, every breath, every blink is the best one ever.

Antonia Cornwell said...

I know how you feel. I still haven't written a blog post about Derek: every time I write one in my head, the tears start before the end of the first paragraph. She went a year ago, and still.

We had an insane start to 2012 with replacing Derek, which is of course impossible. I realised I had to have animals in the house, though, so we had to look for a successor, if not a replacement. We had a dog that didn't work out (Oscar; allergies), then three cats that hid from us for three weeks, and by the time I let them out into the garden and they ran and vanished, I was too wrung out to care whether or not the bastards would come back.

(Of course, they came back, and now they sprawl all over the furniture like they own the place, but at the time, flghpth. Transitions between pets are so emotional.)

It isn't linear. You're right. And you are wonderful owners.