Because Pets Don’t Get Obits…

How some families remember their furry members…

 9/3/13

Kathi Marrs taking Molly on her last "walk"
Kathi Marrs taking Molly on her last “walk”

They truly leave footprints on our soul when they leave their earthly bodies…we are forever changed by them…” Diane Lippard Tullia

Molly, a beautiful Golden Retriever, was just shy of thirteen when she was diagnosed with cancer. The Marrs family made the tough decision to have her right front leg amputated in the hopes of saving her. She made it through surgery, but then her kidneys shut down and she stopped eating. Before the family said their final farewell, they gave Molly a glorious send-off. They rolled her through the neighborhood on a special cart for her last walk, even stopping by a local church to pray.

Bob and Jason Marrs with Molly. The morning this photo was taken, several neighbors, joggers, walkers, babies, and dogs stopped by to say goodbye.
Bob and Jason Marrs with Molly. The morning this photo was taken, several neighbors, joggers, walkers, babies, and dogs stopped by to say goodbye.

 

Max's Remembrance Stone
Max’s Remembrance Stone

 

One of the best ways to remember a beloved pet is to seek out a creative outlet. After losing her black cat, Max, three years ago, my friend Barbara Castiglia, who writes a pet column for Family Magazine, found that using a kit to make a garden stepping-stone helped her mourn her best friend of nearly 20 years. She appreciates having a spot she can visit or view from a window when missing him. Also helpful was planting bulbs that return each year and provide a sense of the “circle of life.” Her husband, Paul, channeled his grief by composing a loving blog post tribute. Click here to read:

http://scaredsillybypaulcastiglia.blogspot.com/search?q=max

Max - He passed away just after midnight on Barbara's birthday.
Max passed away just after midnight on Barbara’s birthday.

“I think dogs/cats/pets are all extensions of the Holy Spirit, another way to let our Higher Power love us.”  Geri Krotow, novelist and animal lover

 

Tags from all the Tullia's beloved dogs who are waiting on the other side of the rainbow bridge.
Tags from all the Tullia’s beloved dogs who are waiting on the other side of the rainbow bridge.

 

“We carry both Wyatt and Sherwood’s collars in the RV. I keep all of the tags from all the dogs’ collars in a jar on the bookcase…this Christmas I am going to put all of the tags on one tree.  I also put up the stockings from every dog that we have had every Christmas.”

Diane Lippard Tullia

 

 

Marus, Patti's dogPatti Sweetin-Wolff remembers her special boy, Marcus. He passed away March 29, 2012.

He was eight.

“We have not painted over any of the toenail art that he had done on the wall while sleeping nor have we cleaned the artwork off of the windows either.  People may think that it looks dirty, but to us it is a loving reminder of our family’s companion that left us too soon in life.  We walk past his artwork everyday, and when we see it then we see him running throughout the house playing and enjoying his life to the fullest until he took his very last breath.  That artwork will remain in my house forever!”

 

Majestic & WildCanadian Author Murray Pura dedicated one of his latest books to his first two dogs who were brother and sister.

From “Magestic and Wild,” Baker Books 4/15/13:

“For Yukon 1986-2001 & Nahanni 1986-2002

We never grew tired of the thousands of trails

We never grew tired of each other.

We never grew tired of God and what he had made.

We were always glad of a life together

and a wilderness shared.”

 

We lost our beloved Chocolate Lab, Bubba, May 14, 2013. His sudden death was a shock to all of us. He was nine years old - the heartbeat of our home. His ashes and collar sit in a place of honor in my home office where he spent many a day listening to me read my work out loud.
We lost our beloved Chocolate Lab, Bubba, May 14, 2013. His sudden death was a shock to all of us. He was nine years old – the heartbeat of our home. His ashes and collar sit in a place of honor in my home office where he spent many a day listening to me read my work out loud.  Pictured to the right is our oldest son Thomas’ childhood drawing of Wolf, his Grandpa Rodgers’ German Shepherd.

“Daisy was my live-in friend through Vic’s illness and death, walking with me, staying close, easing my grief with her companionship. Until today, Daisy enjoyed her crunchies, got excited

Daisy’s gravestone and place where her ashes are buried in the woods.
Daisy’s gravestone and place where her ashes are buried in the woods

about visitors, and enjoyed sniffing around the front yard on warm days. Until yesterday, she got out the door with my help, but we’ve crossed the divide.” To read the rest of writer Elaine Mansfield’s essay about her Yellow Lab, Daisy, click here:

http://elainemansfield.com/2012/goodbye-my-miss-daisy/

…and sometimes our pets go missing and we never see them again.

Betka, missing from Denton, TX since June 24, 2013

Thomas Rodgers’ black cat, Betka, went missing weeks after our family dog passed away in May. Here’s Thomas’ plea for help on Facebook:  “Hi Animal lovers! My cat Betka has been missing for two

Betka (missing since June 24, 2013 from Denton, TX.
Betka, missing since June 24, 2013 from Denton, TX. Thomas and Brittany are still hoping she comes home.

days. She’s very friendly and will usually go up to any stranger. She has a clipped left ear, a cloudy left eye, and was wearing a red collar with a big gold bell on it. She’s microchipped and registered in Denton. Please keep an eye out for her! She’s one of our beloved kids! We will reward the person that finds her or has any information. She was last seen on Elm and Prairie.”

 

 

 

Bubba's bird guards the front garden, reminding us of the nine years Bubba blessed our lives.
Bubba’s bird guards the front garden, reminding us of the nine years Bubba blessed our lives.

To read more about her work, please visit her website: www.kathleenmrodgers.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published by

kathleenmrodgers

Author of the novels The Final Salute, Johnnie Come Lately & Seven Wings to Glory. Former contributor to Family Circle Magazine and Military Times. Future work represented by agent Diane Nine, Nine Speakers Inc.

11 thoughts on “Because Pets Don’t Get Obits…”

  1. Grateful for all the folks who shared their stories and photos with me for this project. I believe there is healing in sharing our stories, especially when we’ve experienced losses or disappointments.
    Thanks everyone.

  2. Thank you, Kathleen, for this moving piece and for allowing me to be part of it. My girl Daisy stood at my side through the hardest times in my life and even though she was 11 years old, she was still willing to take three walks a day with me. She didn’t roam and circle as she once had. She walked beside me, just where I needed her to be. My first dog Amigo was my constant companion through my dad’s death when I was a girl. Two years later, a friend left the backyard gate open and Amigo took a hike. Not unusual for him, but he never returned. I searched and searched and wept many tears, but never found him. I can’t imagine life without a pet companion.

    1. Elaine – Thank you for helping me with the blog and sharing a portion of Daisy’s story here. Her devotion to you during some of your toughest years tugs at my heartstrings. As for Amigo, I hope someone kind took him in and he lived out his earthly years in a loving home. I can only imagine how his disappearance only compounded your grief after your father’s death. And you were at such a tender age.

  3. What a moving blog! Thank you to everyone who shared their stories. I love, love, love dogs. And cats, but dogs are special. Too bad my husband is not a dog lover (insert frowny face). Very good post!

  4. Thanks so much, Kathleen, for sharing this wonderful tribute to our beloved furry babies. My little Pekingese was 19 when she passed away last year. Oh, the terrible grief of losing her after such a long time with her as my “baby.” I ordered a memorial stone for her, a small one with a replica of a “peke” on it and her name and dates with…..I will love you forever inscribed. When my little adopted poodle passed shortly thereafter, I ordered a stone for her, too. I see the stones each time I walk out to the garden. There they are honoring my two little babes.
    Now, I have 3 more fur babes, all rescues. I believe that my angels guided me to adopt these wee ones so that I could begin to heal.
    I do hope that Betka finds her way home or at least that someone has found her and is loving her. And I love that Bubba is still watching over your garden. What a precious idea. Sharing this article, my friend.

    1. Joy – Oh, how I wished I’d known to ask you about the memorial stones in your garden. I would have included them here. Maybe sometime you can post them to Facebook or your own blog. I’m so glad their deaths didn’t harden your heart and that you opened yourself up and gave three more doggies a good and loving home. Thank you again for your friendship and awesome support and we move forward on this journey.

  5. Last year I lost my 20 year old cat, Mouser. She was older than my daughter. I found her wandering the street while out walking with my then 8 year old son. I was pregnant with my daughter at the time. She saw me through so many hard times, as well as good times. She was a furry nanny for my daughter and a wonderful friend. I miss her so. I have gotten another cat, though Mouser will never be replaced. I made the attached video made from old photos and put it to music. I can no longer listen to that song now without crying. But it hasn’t quite been a year. I miss you, beloved friend.

  6. Dear Cathy,
    Thank you so much for visiting my blog and telling me your story about Mouser. Although the link you sent to your video didn’t show up in your public comment, I was able to access it and watch it from my admin site. What a loving tribute to Mouser. I liked the music that accompanied the photos. If you don’t mind, I’ll share your link here and on my Facebook page. Thanks again, Cathy. Hope to hear from you again. And please accept my condolences for your loss.
    Kathleen

    Here’s the link to Cathy’s video of her beloved Mouser 1992-2012
    youtube.com/watch?v=bVNOjD3W6fc

  7. Excellent tributes and wonderful comments back from others! By now, hopefully, your mail has delivered some pictures I found in Dad’s effects that I thought should be returned to you guys, especially those of Bubba Dog! Love, Mom

    1. Hi Mom,
      Thanks for visiting my blog and reading the stories of others who have lost their beloved pets. Yes, we received the package of photos, and I must say, it was a bit emotional. Thanks so much for sending them back to me. I will cherish them.
      Love,
      Kathy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *