A few years ago, several months after our little bichon, Dolly Clementine, passed away at 12, of pancreatic cancer, I went to a local organization called Bichons and Buddies
, and adopted a beautiful little 12 year-old girl bichon, named Betty. The organization members were up front and honest about her; she had several tumors in her little body that left her with about 12 months of life, and they wanted to find her a home where she would receive full-time love during the amount of time remaining to her on this earth. I'm fully retired from the USN, and as the boss at Mortuus Aviation, LLC, I can take off as much work as I see fit, so I signed up for little Betty.She earned the name 'Betty White' from the folks at Bichons & Buddies,
because she looked a bit like Ms. White...
She and I felt an immediate love for each other; her sweet little tail would zip back and forth whenever she sensed me approaching her little 'day bed.' I say "sensed" because my little Betty was just about completely blind when we found each other, but that didn't stop me from wanting her as daddy's little girl-baby. After a couple of days living with us, she had already found her own special places she liked to walk, and all we had to do is follow along and not get lost. We'd come back after the walk, I'd feed her and give her a backrub with heated Absorbine Junior liniment, then I'd wrap her up in a soft old baby blanket from my childhood and bundle her into our bed. After my own bed preparations, I'd head into the bedroom and hear that sweet tail zipping along, side-to-side, once she heard me. I'd climb into bed, and she would pull herself over to me and slip off to sleep. If she needed to go out and do her bidness at any time in the night, she'd crawl over to me and pat the back of my hands with one of her sweet little paws, and I'd take her out so she could take care of bidness. I'd gently pick her up and take her back to the nice warm bed that was awaiting our return.
On the morning of the sixth day, I woke up and neither my wife nor our little Betty were there. I got one of those "free-fall" moments where it felt like my tummy had just dropped a few hundred feet. I was shivering badly from the cold of the morning air, though in truth that wasn't the only reason.
I went into the living room, and there was a rush of relief when I saw that my wife held Betty in her lap. The relief turned out to be very short lived, when my eyes met those of my wife. They were full of silent tears that rolled very slowly down her cheeks and then dropped ever-so-slowly to the blanket that held the body of my sweet little girl, Betty.
Betty had crawled as close to me as she possibly could and had started to softly cry in her sleep. This had gone on for the better part of an hour, when Betty awakened for the last time, looked up at me and began to give me a nice morning face-wash, something she'd given me every morning for her all-too-short time with us. As usual, I fell asleep. Betty also fell asleep a few minutes after I did and, as my Missus watched, quietly sobbing, she saw betty take her last few breaths, trying to get closer and closer to the man who'd been her loving daddy since she'd come home with us. My lady says that I put my arms around her and, without waking up, began to stroke her soft, sweet fur. A couple of minutes later, she quieted down very slowly took her final breath. My wife had then very gently pulled Betty from my arms.
A couple of hours later, it was I
who sat there, holding the still, blanket-wrapped body of our sweet little rescue girl, and it was me
doing all the sobbing over here. Stayed that way for three hours, just crying and crying...and crying.
Within a week, she'd been cremated and returned home to us, and for several nights, her little cedar box, filled with her ashes, 'slept' with us every night. We'd had her for just over five days, but in that impossibly short little period, we loved that little doggie a lifetime's worth. And sadly, we signed up for a lifetime's worth of suffering as part of the deal. That's just the way it is when you choose to love a little doggy. Sweet, sweet little Betty, we love and miss you so much.Betty White Praesepultus
1999 - 2011
A Gift Made All the More Sweet -- and, Yes, Sad --
by the Shortness of the Time We Three Had Together
"The Power of the Dog"
by Rudyard KiplingThere is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie --
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.
When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find -- it's your own affair --
But . . . you've given your heart to a dog to tear.
When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone -- wherever it goes -- for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.
We've sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we've kept'em, the more do we grieve;
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long --
So why in Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?In loving memory of our Dolly Clementine1999 - 2011And our beloved Betty White1999 - 2011
Thanks for slogging through this, fellow doggy lovers...