22 September 2007

In Memoriam


I met him fourteen years ago, and loved him the moment I saw him.

He had big brown eyes (I'm not the kind of girl that falls for the blue eyed type), a great personality and an open heart. It was love at first sight, and ultimately he was a better soul than I, for he continued to love me completely and with abandon every moment that he knew me, even on the days that I was utterly undeserving.

While he loved me so deeply, his soul belonged to a different girl. A beautiful blond, with brown eyes that lead right to her soul. He slept up against her each night, their two bodies melding into one. As they aged, he became her eyes and ears, her signal to walk a certain direction or to come to greet me for treats. A beautiful girl who won't quit pacing right now, wanting in and wanting out, feebly trying to find the spot where she's certain he must be; her body jumping each time I touch her, her eyes squinting to see what she won't again. She's not known a world without him; I cannot imagine how frightening and lonely it must be.

He wasn't the smartest canine, but he made up for it in affection. In complete opposition to his wolf-like stature, his heart was one of the softest I've known. Only once did I ever see him bare his teeth, at my sister A when she came tearing up the stairs, yelling about something she was excited about. "He was going to attack me," she panted and I laughed at the absurdity of the comment until he showed his teeth to her again, this time, I'm certain, for my pleasure only.

During the course of one summer, he got into eight porcupines. Eight. (You can do the math on eight emergency trips to the vet). The final trip came after I rigged him up a run since I couldn't trust him to be alone in the yard. I came home that night, and he was pawing at his mouth. When I walked up to him, first I saw the porcupine lying there, then his mouth full of quills. "Simba, you actually met an animal dumber than you", I said as he hopped into the car, taking his seat on the passenger side, sticking his head out the window, probably dreaming of the buzz he was about to get from the pain killers.

Yesterday was the last day that he got into my car. I had to put his front paws in, then lift up the back side of him. He laid down and showed no interest in the window or the view outside of it. He walked slowly into the office, not offering a wagging tail as he usually did, gingerly stepping aside from the puppies straining to reach him from their leashes.

The vet was kind and considerate and tried to offer comfort to the best of his ability. I'd imagine it's very difficult to know what to do or say to a woman kneeling on the floor in the exam room, sobbing, rather wailing, and rocking her dog for the last time.

When he walked out to give us a few final moments, Simba's breathing was shallow. "Please quit breathing right now, please quit breathing right now, please quit breathing right now", I kept whispering. Anything to let the final decision not be from my hands, but of course it didn't work out that way.

He didn't even pick up his head when the needle was inserted into him. "I love you Simbers, Jessie loves you Simbers. I'm sorry, Simba." I watched his eyes as I held his face, hoping he could see and know how much I loved him, hoping that his last thoughts were of love and devotion.

I drove him to my sister's, where she waited to take him to the first home he knew, my parents. The home where my dad had spent part of his day preparing Simba's grave, near the stream and pond in the woods where he had once lapped water and laid lazily in the shade of the trees. They put him to rest there, my sister placing the picture of Jessie on his heart, where it will remain with part of my broken heart always.

Godspeed, Simba.

57 comments:

Jen said...

Oh, that was so beautiful. I'm so sorry about your friend. He sounds like he was amazing.

InTheFastLane said...

That made me weep. He must have been a wonderful pet.

jen said...

oh Jenn. Simba was so lucky to be part of your family. Your fierce love all the way through. rest in peace, sweet dog.

JustMe said...

so, so sorry. words are pointless. that ache in your heart? i'm trying my hardest to will some of your pain my way. i will bear the burden with you. ((hugs)). Love you.

Her Grace said...

I cried a few tears for Simba this morning, and for you and Jessie. I'm so, so sorry.

Mamma said...

I'm so sorry Jenn.

Dogs are our most loyal companions. I'm glad your family was there for you.

Belle-ah said...

I am so sorry....

Kellan Rhodes said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved pet. When we lost our beloved Sable (a Collie), a few years back, I always tell people how, when I knelt on the floor next to her, how odd it was that when I looked into her eyes ... how it was at that moment that I was very certain that she had a soul. God had shown me this, at the moment of my sweet Sable's death - to let me know that she would soon be in Heaven with Him. Hopefully, Sable will meet Simba in Heaven and they will ... play ...

justabeachkat said...

What a beautiful tribute for your beloved pet. I'm so sorry. I'm thinking of you.

Hugs!
Kat

slouching mom said...

I'm sorry. He was a wonderful, good-hearted guy; I know because your words told me so.

Becc said...

Sobbing)))) I am So sorry, my love.

I can offer no words to alleviate your pain.

I remember the moment that I had to say good-bye to "my Buddy".

I hope they know how much we love them.

Hugs)))))

Jonas said...

It's heartbreaking to say good-bye to such wonderful hearts.

Joker The Lurcher said...

is so so sad to lose a dog - at least we can helpthem on their way rather than them suffer but it still feels awful. hugs

BetteJo said...

Oh that just breaks my heart. I totally understand the loss.

(((HUGS)))

Sarcasta-Mom said...

Ohhhh, I'm so sorry for your loss. Losing a beloved pet is truly like losing a member of your family. Simba will be happy and free in grassy doggie heaven...

Scout's Honor said...

oh, still wiping tears here. I'm so sorry. This is like looking a few years into the future for us.

We have a 9 year old male Golden Retriver Sebbie that is the companion for our older dog Grendel who is going blind and deaf. The parallels just got me. I don't know what she would do without Seb.

I don't know what we would do without him.

I love that you buried him in just a loving manner.

Blog Antagonist said...

It's so hard to lose a pet. They touch our lives so very, very deeply. I'm so sorry for your loss. He sounds like a truly wonderful dog.

MamaLee said...

You got me crying. Simba was an amazing part of your family - I know that for a fact.

I'm not looking forward to the days with my dogs. Alas, it's part of our journey, and we are better people for having them in our lives. I wouldn't trade them for the world, and I'll never live without a dog.

That being said, I hope you know that Simba will always be with you. I'm so sorry for your loss.

canape said...

I'm so glad you were with him. I think that is wonderful.

I had to walk away from the computer before I could comment. My heart is broken for you and your girls. I'm so very very sorry for the loss of Simba.

Sending you lots of love and the hope that all of your happy memories of Simba will comfort you.

jtcosby said...

I am so sorry! We had to do this about 2 years ago with my then, 13 year old baby. I couldn't even stay in there, I asked my husband to do it. I thought I was going to be sick. I applaud you for staying...and showing Simba such love!!!

carrie said...

I am so sorry.

As the momma to a new dog, I can tell you this post made me weep buckets . . . just as I was thinking that this puppy business was getting waaay too hard.

So, thank you, for that. And thanks for sharing your Simba with us.

luckyzmom said...

Trying to compose myself. We had Barney for over 18 years. We too took him to the vet because he was too friendly with a porcupine. He would lay on my feet while I was on my knees doing yardwork and I still sometimes feel him beside me when I'm doing yardwork. He became unable to climb the stairs in our home and had to stay in our daylight basement. I still feel bad that my husband and I were away when my son and his friend found Barney no longer breathing. He brought so much joy to all of our lives. I am so sorry for your loss.

flutter said...

Oh baby. I am so sorry

RIP Simba

bgirl said...

sweet simba. oh, this must be incredibly difficult. you said goodbye as any good dog-mama would.

i too have a loyal soul that keeps eye on me and the little dude, she is turning 12 next weekend and i can imagine the grief you must be feeling.

thinking of you.

Chaotic Joy said...

Beautiful words for a beautiful love. I am so, so sorry.

Maggie said...

I'm sorry, Jen.

Christine said...

this made my heart hurt so much for you, love.

farewell, Simba.

xoxoxo

Christy said...

Goodbye Simba, you will always be loved and severely missed.

painted maypole said...

Pets are family.

There's a wonderful picture book called Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant, that I highly recommend.

B said...

Im sorry to hear about that Jenn

Kelly said...

As someone who lost the dog of my teen years in June of 2006, this made my heart ache for you and Jessie. The love of a dog is so pure and enchanting, and I'm so incredibly sorry for your loss.

May Simba rest in peace.

Amanda said...

I so believe dogs go to a special meadow. Sniffing bottoms, marking trees and chewing delicate, leather stilettos.

Amy York said...

Oh, sweet puppy. So sorry for your loss, Jenn.

Whymommy said...

Oh, I am so, so sorry for the loss of your sweet friend.

Wiping the tears from my eyes....

Lawyer Mama said...

Oh, Jenn. I'm so so sorry. It must be especially hard to lose him now, even if you know it's for the best.

((HUGS))

Teryn said...

I'm so very sorry ...

Janet said...

Poor, poor Simba.

Bean said...

Words could never heal the pain you're feeling. Just know you gave him a true "dog's life". Love you.

KC said...

Oh, Jenn, Simba knew. xo

Major Bedhead said...

What a lovely, sad tribute for your dog. It sounds like he was a wonderful friend. I'm sorry for your loss.

Jen M. said...

What a sweet dog. I'm so sorry.

Jacquie said...

My heart is sad for you all. :-( I sit here with tears. Our pets become such a part of the family. We are so lucky when we find the ones that fit so well.

PDX Mama said...

I am so sorry for you and all your girls.

b*babbler said...

I'm so very sorry.

deb said...

I'm sorry

Aimee said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. What a gift to have a pet like that . . .

Thinking of you . . .

Not a Princess said...

There you go, making me cry again. When I had to put my sweet Chili dog down I remember waiting for that last breath. He was so tired but he was always trying to make me happy and he wouldn't lay down without me. I held him and cried and kept telling him "It's okay to rest; Mama will be the guard dog now."

Your beautiful words brought it all back... but the words are beautiful and if Simba wasn't so busy chasing rabbits right now he'd thank you too.

T with Honey said...

He was a handsome guy. No wonder he stole your heart and will be dearly missed.

Christine said...

I can hardly see the screen, I can hardly breath...I'm so sorry for your loss.

I have a photo of my first dog on the desk in front of me...he was also wolf-ish (a husky) and my heart aches every time I think of him. It's been twenty years since he died.

They are family.

Loralee Choate said...

When my husband and I separated for 6 months, my cat was extremely comforting to me. I can imagine the void this leaves. I'm really sorry.

Anonymous said...

You made the tough choice, and I am sure he is panting down on you in thanks.

Leslie said...

This made me cry and think of the following poem. I hope it helps in your grieving your own Simba. (I have a Simba too).

The Rainbow Bridge

There is a bridge connecting Heaven & Earth.

It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of its colors.

Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge there is a land of
meadows, hills and valleys with lush green grass.

When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this place.

There is always food and water and warm spring weather.

The old and frail animals are young again. Those who
are maimed are made whole. They play together all day.

There is only one thing missing: They are not with their special person who loved them on Earth.
Each day they run and play until the day comes when one suddenly stops playing and looks up!
The nose twitches! The ears are up! The eyes are staring!
And this one suddenly runs from the group.

You have been seen, and when you and your special friend meet,
you take him or her in your arms and embrace.

Your face is kissed again and again, and you look once
more into the eyes of your trusting friend.

Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together, never again to be separated.

*Author Unknown

Orangeblossoms said...

Oh Jenn.... again. Eloquent and tender....

Lauren said...

I am sitting here at work with tears streaming down my face. I can only imagine how hard that was to do. I am so not looking forward to that day with our dog.

I am truly sorry for your loss.

crazymumma said...

Simba.

You lived well and gave much joy.

Jenn was blessed to have you.

Lulu said...

My God, your story just made me completely break down. I speak from experience when I say that the pain of losing a pet is almost unbearable. When my little Jack Russell, Abby, died, I could barely speak about it, let alone write about it.

All that I know is that time heals wounds, even though they never, ever go away. And while I truly want my memories of Abby to be sweet, it's so difficult for me to get past those last moments in the vet's office.

I'm so very sorry for your loss.

Sheila said...

Though my tears, I am saying a prayer for your heart to be lighten in some way. And I am praying for your other pet, Simba's companion to find comfort.
Much love
Sheila