See You Later, Snoopey. Thanks for Everything

This picture is of Snoopey taking a nap on my arm some time ago.

Today Snoopey left us and went into the Hands of God. It was very sudden. She was fine this morning, ate her full breakfast, went outside as usual, and then came back in for her late morning nap. When I called her to go outside again about 12:30 p.m., she didn’t come. She looked peaceful, still napping, but when I touched her, she did not respond. She had passed in her sleep. No sign of pain or distress. Just rest.

For the first time, I did CPR on a dog. To no effect. I am in total disbelief. We believe it was a heart attack. It was so quick.

Snoopey came to us when she was almost 2 years old. We don’t know much about her first 2 years except that people always seemed to be trying to get rid of her. She was great with people, but not so much with dogs. She could tolerate other canines at a distance and that was about it.

When she came to us, I made her a promise that I would never re-home her. By the grace of Almighty God, I was able to keep my promise. On this earth, she was never again re-homed. Until today. This home going is the one that will last forever.

What can I say about Snoopey?

She loved sunbathing and hated the rain. Sadly, this entire week has been cloudy and rainy, and she was not able to sunbathe a single time. I tried to keep up with minute to minute forecasts so that she could go outside during the thin windows of time when it was not pouring rain.

She loved her collar. Some time back, I went to buy her a new one and took the old one off to measure it. She just about went nuts until I put it back on her. A neighbor told me that some dogs feel vulnerable and naked without their collars. Snoopey was one of those. I left her with the pet cremation people this afternoon. The last thing I did was to take off her collar. She won’t need it or miss it anymore. She’ll never feel naked or vulnerable again.

She and Tiger were enemies. True enemies. The ‘Don’t you come over here! I’ll tear you up!” kind of enemies. Both had difficult pasts. Today, after I was sure that Snoopey had gone, I brought each pack member to see and sniff her body. I kept Tiger back until the last. I wasn’t sure what would happen. When Tiger approached Snoopey’s body, she sniffed her face and front feet. The other bulldogs started to bark, and Tiger hunched down protectively over Snoopey’s head and barked back. She stayed there for a few minutes until she started to snip at Snoopey’s hind legs. I pulled her away at that point. I don’t know if she was trying to play with Snoopey or provoke a response from an old nemesis. Tiger is still sniffing around the room for her.

Snoopey was best friends with a cat. Odd for a bulldog. She and Moon the Cat got so close that Snoopey allowed Moon into her crate. No fighting. No hissing. No biting. No scratching. Just friendship. I don’t know what Moon’s reaction to Snoopey’s death will be. Moon was here in the house alone almost 8 years ago when my little Corgi, Susie, laid down and breathed her last in the utility room. I came home from work to find Susie’s body still warm. Moon did not enter the utility room for 6 months (which was awkward since that was where Moon’s litter box was).

Snoopey has been my bed buddy for the last 15 months. She is the first dog that I ever allowed into my bed. When we got up in the mornings, most times, she would sit up and lean against me and I would throw my left arm around her shoulders. They say that dogs don’t like to be hugged, but Snoopey never seemed to mind. I think that I may have been one of the only humans who ever showed her that kind of love and acceptance.

Snoopey and Stella were sisters. Stella knows that Snoopey is gone. She knows more precisely than any other member of the pack. She was sighing and crying quietly this afternoon when I returned from the pet cremation place. LORD God, God of all comfort! Comfort all who mourn and grieve for whatever reason. You Who Are Love, You Who Love Your Creation! Love each of us in the deepest place of our need.

Snoopey was the Pack Leader. Tiger wanted to be, but Snoopey watched over the others. She always checked on them every time she came in from outside.

I confess it. I am a Christian. These words give me hope and encouragement, even in the loss of a dog. God cares for His creatures.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And He that sat on the throne said, Behold I make all things new…” (Revelation 21:4-5 KJV)

Please hug everyone you love tonight one extra time, even if it is in your prayers and not with your arms. Tonight, when I go to bed, Snoopey won’t be there to hug. But Stella and the others will be.

 

 

 

Copyright 2018 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.
 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wild, Weird Sky – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, and… hurry, hurry, hurry, Lady Human! Let me in! Weirdness is going on!

Me:        Wait. What? What’s that noise? It sounds like a bunch of dry leaves falling, but there are only a few…it’s sleet! SLEET! It’s sleeting in October! Yee-hah!

Stella:    Ice? The sky is spitting ice at me?

Me:        Well, technically, at all of us…around here anyway. This is so funny. It’s sleeting in October. It was 85 degrees two days ago. And it’s Tall Man’s birthday! Wild!

Stella:    Tall Man’s birthday? Why didn’t you say so?

Me:        He doesn’t expect you all to do anything for his birthday. Except if you can learn to sing ‘Happy Birthday’. Bulldogs singing ‘Happy Birthday’. That would be cool.

Stella:    No. No. You can forget that. Nobody tells me what to sing or when to sing it. But I think it is wonderful that the Great Creator is sending him a slushy on his birthday.

Me:        This is cool, but there’s not enough ice falling right here to make a slushy drink. And what’s falling is melting as it hits the ground. So…

Stella:    So, if enough sleet falls, everyone gets a slushy drink?

Me:        I’ve never seen that, but if a lot falls, cars look like they’re wearing overcoats made of ice.

Stella:    Freaky.

Me:        Yeah.

Stella:    But you would never leave me outside in icy weather until I had an ice overcoat, right?

Me:        Right.

Stella:    Or the others either? I act as though I don’t care about them, but really…I do.

Me:        Right. I thank the LORD every day for His mercies and for giving all of us shelter from every storm.

Stella:    Amen.

Me:        And for food.

Stella:    Amen. Big AMEN!

Me:        And for clean water.

Stella:    Amen.

Me:        And for air to breathe.

Stella:    Amen.

Me:        When did you start saying ‘Amen’ to my prayers?

Stella:    I have for a long time now, Lady Human. Didn’t you tell me that the Book He gave you all says, ‘All creation groans…’? We always hope the best for humans. It means so much to us.

Me:        Amen.

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

Saving Tiger – Part 4

“She looks great!”

The whole veterinary staff grinned when they saw Tiger walk in a week later. Tiger was one of those success stories that remind people not to give up. She favored her leg and wouldn’t put her whole weight on it. The worst wound was still draining a little from a small rift in it, but not at all as horrible as it had been.

The vet was delighted. “Keep doing what you’re doing. She has good range of motion in that leg, but just expect that she will walk with a limp, probably for the rest of her life.”

Expectations are funny old things. They are patched together from what we’ve experienced in the past, what we’ve seen others experience, what we’ve planned, and hope. A glimmer of hope, people say, as though hope is a weak candle flame about to go out. Sometimes hope flares up and spits right in the face of the past. We stretch our faith to hope for a difference and God meets us more than halfway.

Tiger had other issues. The skin on her back was enflamed and broken out and no one could confirm the reason. Not mange, not mites, or maybe it was. The test results said no, but test results could be wrong. Allergies? That would be bulldoggy of her. The skin problems had begun when she was with her previous owner before the attack and she was in a new environment, still with no improvement despite special shampoos and a changed diet. But the leg was still the biggest question.

One night my son brought his shop vacuum inside to work on it. When he turned it on, the screaming whir bolted Tiger to her feet, all four of them. Not one to waste an opportunity, he opened Tiger’s crate and Tiger followed him through the back door, wobbly on the weak leg but moving.

Her leg fought against the whole weight of her body pressing on it. It wasn’t ready to do the job yet. She looked at me with her curled lip exposing one fang of her bulldog underbite as if to ask why didn’t we smart humans know that. After a slow walk around the yard, it looked looser though. Okay, maybe stepping on it wasn’t so bad an idea after all. Maybe the humans were not as dumb as they seemed.

Tiger lived. Tiger healed. Tiger walks and runs and jumps…without any limp.

Hope and faith can be a dangerous combination. You may just get what you are hoping for.

“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:5

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved