Every springtime, the plum tree in our front yard sprouts beautiful little pink and white flowers that last only a few days before the red leaves start coming in. The flowers remind me of the cherry blossom trees that are so famous in Japan. This year, we were able to catch a photo before they disappeared.
For those who have ever known the difficulty of taking doggie photos, you’ll be able to relate to this picture… of doggie butts!
We re-visited our secret park today for possibly the last time. As I looked over the stretches of gently rolling grass dappled with patches of shade and sunshine, I felt as if I was travelling through time.
I saw P doing his bunny hop romp as his tail spiraled in a crazy circle of happiness. I saw P and me sitting under a shady tree eating apple snacks. I saw myself smiling into his bright eyes as I stroked his soft fur.
Fast forward in time, and I saw the same lovely scene, but with Heidi, Ickey, and Michelle romping ahead of me, and Bruce walking beside me. How Ickey and Michelle loved chasing balls, and how fast they were. Ickey ran like a horse, and Michelle like a mountain lion. I saw Heidi rolling happily on the grass and leisurely trotting after a ball if it wasn’t thrown too far for her arthritic little legs. I saw Bruce happy to be part of our family.
Today, Ickey ran ahead as Michelle trotted more slowly behind. Our old girl walks with a pronounced limp nowadays, but still enjoys our family walks together, just at a slower pace. As I like to say, we only walk as fast as our slowest family member so no one gets left behind.
There was some sadness intertwined with the happiness. For M&M however, all they felt was sunshine and joy as we walked in fields of gold…
Anyone who’s loved and lost a dog knows that our time with them is always much too short. It seems as if we only have them for a “Golden Moment in Time” – a time when they are young and healthy; a time when there is only happiness and sunshine.
I’ve been incredibly blessed to have two such golden moments in my life. The first was with P, who gave us eight wonderful years together before he passed away from cancer.
The second golden moment was with P’s family, who grew ever larger and included the sunshine boys Joy & Sunny, and the three musketeers (Ickey, Michelle, and Heidi). These five dogs formed an unlikely family that forever connected their hearts to P, and to each other.
This winter, our sweet Heidi girl and our sunshine boy Joy both passed away.
The heartache has at times been overwhelming.
Yet through the sea of grief and pain, I am also reminded of how lucky I’ve been to have known and loved two beautiful souls, and how lucky I am STILL to have Sunny, Ickey, and Michelle.
As I write this, I realize that there have not been just two golden moments in time. Rather, that each moment in life is a golden moment if only I’d see the present for what it is: a gift, which is all the more precious because it is so fleeting.
Take the time to appreciate your own golden moments, and never forget that each day is it’s own golden moment in time.
Ickey is one of those dogs that rarely ever barks, so when he does, it’s an unusual phenomenon.
Three days ago, as we were walking the dogs, a big cat flashes across someone’s front yard, only to quickly disappear into the foliage. Ickey lets out two booming barks, and goes into high alert – ears high, body tense and alert, and tail up in the air. He pulls on his leash and keeps scanning the neighborhood for that cat again. Ickey is not a dog that normally chases cats, so this is rare behavior for him.
The cat had very similar coloring to Heidi – black fur mixed with patches of tan and white. We wondered if Ickey, who only has one good eye, thought that cat might have been his sister Heidi and thereby continued to search for her during our walk.
It was a bittersweet thought, as it reminded us of how much we all missed Heidi, but also reminded us how she was not forgotten and continued to live in our hearts.
Ickey, that cat unfortunately wasn’t your sister, but look deeply in your heart, and you will find her forever safe in there.