All these empty spaces
Where my Velvet used to roam –
So many empty spaces
In a silent, empty home!
We have another dog,
But things can never be the same:
We’ll never have a dog like her,
Nor one who shares her name.
Our german shepherd looks outside
To see when she’ll return.
Because he does not know she died,
He wonders now – and yearns.
I’m yearning for this friend myself
And feel the bitter rift
Of losing my sweet, faithful dog,
Whose friendship was a gift.
March 7, 2014, one hour after we had to euthanize our precious doggie-love.
We all cried. Then after Sergei drove us home, our son Damien went to bed, then later vomited. I felt a little vomit-y myself.
Even though Velvet had been in a lot of pain for several months, and we thought we were sparing her more pain, I never realized how quickly life would change without her friendly, kindly presence in our home. How sorrowfully she would watch us leave the house for church, school, errands, etc., and how joyfully she would greet us with a big smile as soon as we got home!
And whenever any of us fell ill, Velvet was the nurse of choice, always camped out next to the sick person until he was better and she could relax and find someone else who needed her.
In my stories, Velvet was “Fluffy” and she was quite a character, teaching us volumes both about the sin-nature of selfish creatures in a fallen world and about the grace and love that freely flow from a generous heart fully devoted to family. Everyone in my family has shared many laughs and cried many tears both with and about Velvet, and her latest antics.
At various times in my life, she was my baby, my friend, my best friend, my confidante, cookie taste tester, Christmas secret keeper (the only one in the house who truly succeeded at keeping any big Christmas secrets – except for my husband, who can easily take any secret entrusted to him straight to the grave without telling another soul), automatic floor cleaner (especially when anyone either purposely or accidentally dropped food for her), willing and encouraging listener to all kinds of musical practice on both tuned and untuned instruments, and sometimes-enthusiastic walking partner.
There were times when Velvet would surprise us. For example, soon after we brought her home, we quickly learned to put any and all food where Velvet couldn’t reach it, i.e, behind locked doors, because Velvet was quick and a surprisingly good climber in her youth, meaning any food left up on the counters even for a few minutes was fair game in Velvet’s book. Her favorite food in the world was chocolate, which we tried to hide from her, with limited success. Yet, every Christmas Eve, when the stockings were filled almost to overflowing with chocolates and other goodies, Velvet always left them alone. Of course, she refused to extend the same courtesy to chocolates that had left the safety of the stockings. Nevertheless, considering that our other dog would try to eat the candies while they were still IN the stockings, I was always overwhelmed by Velvet’s restraint at Christmas. Perhaps we might call that her Christmas present to our family.
Anyone who has loved and lost a special dog knows exactly what my family is suffering now. It is a pain that others cannot understand, which reminds me of a verse from the Bible: Proverbs 14:10 “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.” A verse that I think also relates is Psalm 34:18 “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Praying for your sorrows to draw you closer to God, who loves you where you are,
P.S. Technically speaking, I still don’t really know what I am doing here. Right at the time I had hoped to take an on-line Word Press class, something more important came up, and I had to pass. Lacking the expertise I might have gained from said class, I was unable to pair Velvet’s photo with this post, but you can look at the previous post to see a photo of my doggie. For personal and security reasons, I won’t be able to post photos of human family members, and I hope you will understand and indulge me here. Thank you.