Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Beagle Ornament


Blogging Friends.... It is two weeks from Christmas!! And I have some holiday-themed queries to ask. Every year, Santa Claus writes a "Naughty & Nice" list. Behavior-wise, I have made some cosmic positive life changes in 2012 alone. But I still falter. Does that earn my name on Santa Claus' "Nice" list.... Or "Naughty"? How does Saint Nick feel about a "work in progress" like me who is obviously still "in transition"? Truly others can relate!!     

Grief is an interesting concept. It's weird. Grief is unique, depending on the individual walking that path. Some people are emotional to the extreme. And that is okay. Others are seemingly strong. And that is okay, too. In my experience, once you think grief has passed, every feeling and every emotion resurfaces itself. As though progress was never even made. I always think about and miss Shadow Sunshine, my Beautifully Unique "blond" furred German Shepherd/Golden Retriever cross, at Christmastime. She was euthanized on June 15th, 2010. I have an entire decade's worth of Christmas memories spent with Shadow. Of filling her stocking. Of purchasing treats and dog toys. Of celebrating December 25th with my mutt. I recall as though it was yesterday our final Christmas together. Shadow had been showing inevitable signs of aging: Deafness, stiff joints, senile behavior. I somehow knew within my heart that this would be our last. I could feel it. So I made our final Christmas count. Every moment of it. And boy, did I create a lasting Christmas memory!! It is one that will remain within my psych forever. Shadow no longer played.... Spending money on tennis balls seemed irrelevant somehow. Instead, I filled her stocking with treats, treats, treats and more treats. Nothing else. Because, although Shadow was never a "food-lovin'" girl like Rose, throughout her final years, she loved treats. If memory serves me, I purchased pizza-flavored Canine Carry Outs, Snawsomes twists, and salmon Yummy Chummies. It turned out, that my "maternal" intuition was correct. Less than six months later, Shadow died. We would never enjoy another December 25th together again. And, during Christmas of 2010, three months after adopting Rose, I was still struggling with grief. Still. It came upon me suddenly, like an ambush during some far-away war. 2010 was already a Christmas of firsts. Colossal firsts. My oldest brother no longer lived with us. For he married his lovely bride in May. It was my first Christmas with Rose. It was my first Christmas sans Shadow. I bought Rose a fuzzy red and white Christmas stocking. I purchased her gifts. Yet somehow, the memory of Shadow's last Christmas haunted me that year. I missed her so much!! It felt selfish and wrong somehow to be experiencing such a palpable longing for Shadow.... When I have Rose!! But, nonetheless, there were tears, sorrow, and heartache. One Saturday, we drove downtown to do some Christmas shopping. I was feeling really depressed. I wept in an antique shop while looking at merchandise. Wept. And, although I tried to hold those tears within me, they flowed anyway. My eyes were "leaky". For lunch, we ate fast-food at Jack-In-The-Box. I ordered my usual favorite. The Ultimate Cheeseburger--minus ketchup and mustard--plus onion rings. While awaiting our meal, I walked toward a restroom to compose myself. I then stared in their mirror and attempted bravery. I'll be okay. I'll be okay. I'll be okay. Later that day, we discovered this quaint little store. It was decorated for Christmas. Everything looked so lovely!! On display, there was this small artificial tree. So festive!! Hanging on its branches were various glass dog breed ornaments. Naturally, I felt drawn to the Golden Retriever, which is "half" of Shadow. No. I thought. Move on. Time to move on.... Be in the "now". Walk away from that tree!! Walk away I did. Then suddenly, I felt God softly whisper in my ear. He said: Go back. Go back. Look for the Beagle. I walked over to that artificial Christmas tree once more. And.... There it was!! A glass, glittery brown, black and white Beagle!! Oh, "she" is absolutely flawless!! The ornament may as well have been custom-made!! Black on its back, a white chest, this adorable brown-colored furrowed forehead.... Just like Rose!! I purchased the ornament. How could I resist? Its tag read: Beagle: Dogs selflessly give humans their unconditional love and loyalty. Beagles are one of the most popular scent hounds because of their energy, willingness to work and sweet dispositions. They make great family pets and truly enjoy their status as "man's best friend." Wow. Minus the "energy (and) willingness to work" part, that describes Rose spot-on!! Loyal. A sweet disposition. Loving. I will treasure forever that sparkly glass Beagle ornament. Because one glance at it reminds me of so much. That first Christmas without Shadow. My emotional meltdown. Healing. Plus everything that Rose blesses me with!! She is an incredible one-of-a-kind, friend to me!! My four-legged "kindred spirit". Rose is different, like me. She's amiable, submissive, and easy to train. Sneaky, strong-willed, plus sometimes naughty. I love it all!! She is Beautifully Unique!!

 

18 comments:

scotsmad said...

It's always difficult to say good-bye to a loved pet, but that's part of being owned by them.

How incredible to find an ornament that looks like Rose.

XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

Molly The Wally said...

Work in progress goes on the nice list we are sure of that. This time of year we all think of loved ones human and animal who are no longer with us. Bitter sweet. Have a wonderful Wednesday and give Rose a big hug from us.
Best wishes Molly

Remington said...

Awesome post, my friend.... Isn't it great to have friends like that....

KSO said...

I can't believe Christmas is sooo soon! I hope you and Rose are getting excited

Raelyn said...

Daisy, Bella & Roxy....
Thank-you for the comment!!
"It's always difficult to say good-bye to a loved pet, but that's part of being owned by them.". I like that!! ;op

Raelyn said...

Molly....
Thank-you for the comment!!
"Work in progress goes on the nice list.". Thank-you!! ;)
"This time of year we all think of loved ones human and animal who are no longer with us. Bitter sweet.". That's right!! ;op

Raelyn said...

Remington....
Thank-you for the comment!!
Yeah, it is great.... ;op

Raelyn said...

KSO....
Thank-you for the comment!!
I just finished my Christmas shopping yesterday, and bought a card for these special friends of mine!! Although I'm not looking forward to this see this joyous season end, I am ready!! And, yes. I'm excited!! ;op

Sherri said...

Wow - how did you explain how I feel so well? I lost my Golden Retriever in the summer of 2007. He was the first dog that I really bonded with and the first dog I ever bought a Christmas present for. To this day, I still miss him. Last summer, I was so sad around the anniversary of his passing, that it seemed like it happened just yesterday. I have learned to honor the sadness...I don't distract myself from it, or scold myself for feeling it. It's HOW I feel. This has helped - it passes quickly and I can return to the "now". :) Merry Christmas.

RYKER said...

You found yourself another true treasure.

Fizz said...

You never have to forget loved ones past, they will always be with you, in your heart. Make new memories of a different Christmas with Rosie. She has come into your life to help fill that gap left by Shadow. There are many of my friends who have passed over the Rainbow Bridge this year, I still grieve for my King, but I know one day it will be my turn to cross and he will be there waiting for me.

Have a great time this Christmas with your Beautifully Unique Rose. X

Raelyn said...

Sherri....
Thank-you for commenting!!
I am so sorry about the loss of your beautiful Golden Retriever.
"I have learned to honor the sadness...I don't distract myself from it, or scold myself for feeling it. It's HOW I feel.". Very good!! ;)
I actually like it whenever Shadow comes to mind. Although some dog owners cannot handle being reminded of their deceased pets, I do. Why? Because thinking about Shadow reminds me that I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever forget her!! But. Christmastime is bittersweet.... ;-]
--Hugs my Friend!!--
And Merry Christmas!! ;op

Raelyn said...

RYKER....
Thank-you for commenting!!
"You found yourself another true treasure.". Oh, I concur!! ;op

Raelyn said...

Fizz....
Thanks for commenting!!
"You never have to forget loved ones past, they will always be with you, in your heart.". That's right!! ;)
Have a great time this Christmas, yourself, Friend!! ;op

chicamom85 said...

What a nice story, I am so glad you found that ornament. It was meant to be, just like Rose was meant to be for you. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas

Anne and Sasha

Raelyn said...

Anne and Sasha....
Thanks for commenting!!
"It (the Beagle ornament) was meant to be, just like Rose was meant to be for you.". So true!! ;)
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, as well!! ;op

Alison said...

Saying goodbye to a loving pet is one of the hardest things us animal lovers will ever have to do. I'm so glad you found that ornament, it was definitely meant to be!

Raelyn said...

Alison....
Thank-you for the comment!!
"It was definitely meant to be.". You are the second Blogging Friend who said that!! Finding my Beagle ornament was "meant to be". Neat!! ;)
"Saying goodbye to a loving pet is one of the hardest things us animal lovers will ever have to do.". Yep. ;op