Thank you @Debra300 and @Sarah977 for your kind words. Our fierce little Papillon, Ben Ben, was 16 years old and weighed less than 5 pounds when he died peacefully in his sleep this evening. He was with me and my oldest daughter, his favorite person in the world, at our Airbnb in Maine, his favorite place.
Because he lived here, I've always let people bring their dogs. Although I tell guests about the wild animals in the woods - bears, coyotes, fishers, moose, bobcats - so they'll be mindful of letting their pets run off, I don't tell them that Ben Ben always ran fearlessly into the dark night to chase off any being he felt came too close to the house. My heart would be in my throat, but he always came back with an air of satisfaction at having conquered another foe.
Here's a recent picture of him curled up asleep in Maine - I hope you'll post pictures of yours.
There's a lovely book called All dogs go to heaven, I'd like to write the sequel, Cats are waiting in heaven to put dogs in their place. It is such a gift, that unconditional love & comfort, it is such a terrible wrench to lose them, still how much sadder and anxious we would have been without them. It has been a year of loss for me as well but I am trying to keep in mind all the years of solace, humor and pleasure we were given. Bless all those loving beasts who shared our lives and made them better.
@Sally221 I love cats so much, I never understand people who say flat out that they don't like cats. They're as varied as people or dogs. Did you lose a cat this year? And I agree, it would have been far worse not to have had Ben Ben. He was there and watchful through so many highs and lows.
@Ann72 I'm not that fond of cats, although I've had a few over the years. The current one was a stray in the neighborhood for a couple of years until I started finding her sleeping on the outdoor patio cushions every morning. I kept chasing her off, and then of course when I did that, my dog, who has never paid much attention to cats, would "help" me. But no amount of chasing her off made a bit of difference, she had decided she lives here. I ignored her for a long time, she helped herself to the dog food and there's lots of lizards and bugs for her to chow down on, but then she started leaving me rodent gifts, so I resigned myself to her, as mice and rats are definitely not welcome. As a good mouser, she won.
I still didn't even name her, but then I had a Airbnb guest who asked what the cat's name was. I said she didn't have a name because I was still in denial that I had a cat. I went out shopping and when I got back, my guest was sitting at the outdoor table reading and said casually "I named the cat". "Oh, really. And what is her name?" "Cerce" after the evil queen in Game of Thrones. Which is really the perfect name for her, because she bites.
Here's one reason I like dogs way better than cats- if you forget to feed your dog on time, it just hangs around you, hoping you'll remember soon. If you forget to feed the cat, it stands and screeches relentlessly at your feet. I prefer to be the boss around here.
@Lisa723 Just an amazing story!! Thank you for sharing it and for being willing to adopt two dogs. And they're soooo beautiful. I loved when they were both lying down in the field, separate from each other but completely aware of each other.
I, along with all of the hosts who have/had furry family members, understand the emotions that you must be feeling right now. It will take a little time to get over the loss, but just always remember the funny things your dog did, and it will brighten up your mood.
We adopted Homer (aka Homey or The Home Dog) from the Berkeley Animal Rescue who were going to have to put him down, because he was experiencing kennel craze. From the first moment that I saw his picture, I knew that he had to come home to us, and we lived as a happy family for 11 years. He was a pit mix, and the WORST guard dog ever, and thought he was a lap dog. He was more concerned about when our company was leaving, and why would they break up the cozy scene and nice conversation that we all (including him) were having. He rarely barked, except stereo-typically at the courier delivery trucks, and he loved to walk on the treadmill. Yes, we taught him some tricks, but after he was gone, we soon realized he was the one who had trained to revolve large parts of our lives around him. He passed away almost two years after we moved to Atlanta, but we took some of his ashes, and spread them in the bay when we went back to Oakland, because that's where he spent most of his life.
I have a step-dog named Homer, a 90 pound marshmallow (I think he's a wee bit chunkier but that's his official weight) Homer is a bulldoggish mutt who is the chillest fellow I have ever met & incredibly polite. We will be babysitting him this Christmas. (I am a dog AND cat person)
We did lose my heart's darling Lyrah this August, something very large got her in the middle of the night, it was a horrible end for my valiant old huntress. She was a familiar, a once in a lifetime cat. Salty and assertive, she was always ready if I needed a cuddle, even when she had stuff to do. She never, ever, not once went after a bird but kept her territory rodent free and trusted me absolutely. Lyrah went on a visit to my toddler class each year and was gracious as a queen. She loved company, was condescending to dogs and had the silkiest most beautiful coat and the loveliest trill.
I have posted this before, I think, but when Jetti died I needed to make some sort of a memorial to him. He had influenced so many people so I put together this clip with various photos of his life with us.
These were all humourous moments in our life with him.
The shot early in this clip of him sitting in the drivers seat of the white car won us $500 on Australia's funniest home video show. We taped his paws to the steering wheel and youngest daughter Kate (from out of camera sight) controller the car as Jetti drove it past our house while I videoed.
We all got a laugh at him pissing on the nativity scene cut-outs. God he bought some joy into our lives.
Understanding editing a bit more now I wish I had done it a bit better, my piano playing is a bit 'hows your father' but, it's that memorial of Jetti that we will have forever!
@Jessica-and-Henry0 Minky is adorable! No wonder they miss him so much!
Those wonderful pictures reminded me I have some of Ben Ben as a puppy. Here he is the day I brought him home. He had picked me out at the pet store by fixing me with an intense stare and give one short sharp bark. That was all it took. 🙂
@Ann72Sorry to hear of the passing of your dearly beloved dog.
Always remember our animal friends pop out at us when we least expect it.
They love leaving a trace of hair in books that you will find in years to come...
Did Ben Ben have a favourite plant he would lay next to or shelter under in your garden?
Awww thanks @Helen427 - love the thought of finding traces of him in years to come.
He didn't have a favorite plant to lie next to, but he liked to lie on the bluestone terrace in the sun and he liked to lie down near his favorite people.