Rest in Peace, My Sweet Rose

rose-in-the-roses2

The end came sooner than we expected but her pain is over. Rose, our beloved greyhound, is running once again with no fear. She’s undoubtedly making friends with other special pets, maybe even cats now. I’m sure she’s met up with SunnyBunny (our other greyhound who went on a few years before)…and this time, maybe it’s Sunny taking charge, instead of always the other way around (for now).

The picture above was one of those “signs”. Several people who had lost pets told me I’d know when it was time to let Rose go. I was uncertain. I didn’t want to let her go too soon and I was terrified of keeping her too long and letting her suffer needlessly. Rose often liked to lay in the yard in the sun, but never in this particular spot. I’d let her out to piddle yesterday and an hour later she was restless, laying down was painful, walking was a 3-legged affair, and yet she was back and forth. I let her out again and went with her to make sure she wasn’t too disoriented from the pain meds. Rose looked at me and hobbled over to this spot of grass right beside my blooming rose bushes (I do nothing to these bushes…they just bloom several times a year). After lying down, she closed her eyes. I thought “crap, I need the camera”. The little digital’s battery won’t hold a charge and I hadn’t gotten a new one so I took my big, awkward jewelry shooting one and tried to remember what setting was “outdoor.” Fumbled everything to auto settings and hoped for the best as I tried to see through the glare of the sun and the tears in my eyes to snap some pics. “Please don’t move yet” and “Please let these turn out” were my silent cries to Rose and the camera gods.

And it hit me that this was her way of telling me it was time. Rose in the rose bushes. I hope I can find someone who might do a watercolor from the photo sometime (and fill in my pitiful rose bushes as well).

Indulge me for a bit longer, I’m feeling a little lost without my “foot warmer” of the last almost 8 years. Rose came into our lives as a rescue greyhound, right off the track after a lackluster racing career. She must have known that a life of leisure was waiting at the Liddy house. Her track name was “Antonia Rose” and her kennel name was “Rose”. We knew she was meant to be ours when we got a call that a smaller, timid, not quite 3 year old blue brindle was available and her name was Rose. My daughter’s middle name is Rose and she is my “Wild Irish Rose” and in honor of the Irish roots, we made St. Patrick’s Day Rose’s official birthday (all we knew before that was “March”).

Rose was allegedly Emma’s dog, but working from home and being the one who didn’t mind stinky dog food and less than sweet greyhound breath, I became the one that Rose stuck to like Velcro. My husband was the walker, so Rose looked to him for exercise. But she had an uncanny knack for communicating her other needs by just standing, staring intently (or nudging if I was particularly clueless that day). We didn’t have a good place for a doggie door so many times a day I let her out and in, in and out. Some days it was the only chance I got to leave my desk. I could tell time by her (well, dinner time and in the last couple months, medication time).

She was always affectionate and in the last couple months, even more so. Like she knew we needed that from her. Leaning into one of us when we were standing. Burrowing between knees when we sat and always placing that front paw on a hand when we were on the floor with her. I’ll miss that as much as the always startling feel of her slobbery rough tongue on my feet under the desk.

Someone posted this poem on a forum to comfort another member who’s dog had crossed the Rainbow Bridge. I read it with tears streaming down then, knowing that it wouldn’t be long before it was Rose’s turn. It breaks my heart as much to read now as it did then…partly because Rose wasn’t really old or frail, just struck down a couple years earlier with this nasty osteosarcoma in her shoulder.

When you think of me, master
Know that I’m not the same,
Not the frail, old body
That I too fast became

Smile back on your mornings
My young paws wet with dew
Think not of the pained version
Of the pup you once knew

Please remember our good times
Our fond romps in the park
Not the day I lay dying
And my world became dark

And at times when you’re grieving
In those moments of hurt
Do replace tears with memories
Of when I was alert

Please remember my soft eyes
And my sweet, loving lick
Not the hazy, lost moments
After I became sick

When sad times are upon you
And your tears start to flow
Know I’m not the confused dog
That you grew to know

Master, when you lie dreaming
Let your dreams be not blue
Dare not dream of the frail dog
Whose earth years seemed so few

May your dream paint you rainbows
And bright bridges of gold
And show you, my dear master,
That I’m no longer old

May your rest bring you wisdom
May you wake without care
Grieving not for my loss but
Knowing I am still there

I’ll be in puppy kisses
And in walks in the park
And right there beside you
On your bed in the dark

And those times you are smelling
A sweet, dew-covered rose
Eyes closed, feel the soft brush
Of a little, wet nose.

Whether you are in sunshine
Or alone in the dark
When the gentle wind whispers
You just might hear my bark

If at times you might feel
Gentle taps on your knee
Please don’t let this alarm you
It’s most probably me

Though you no longer see me
Nor can you touch my soft hair
In a way that you know not
I will always be there

Please do know I’ve not left you
We were paired from the start
I will be with you always
Cuddled deep in your heart

Love spans all horizons so
Let your sad heart not harden
I romp and I’m whole again,
In a bright rainbow garden

One fine day you will join me
We’ll run fast a green field
When you come to the gateway
And, like I, you are healed

‘Til that joyous reunion
When I lick your sweet face
Know I’m playing in rainbows
And I’m saving your place

So tonight as you lie back
Settled down in your bed
Know I’m not gone, dear master….
I’ve just gone on ahead.

Author: Dorrin M. Birch, M.D.

Thank you, Rose, for the unconditional love you brought to us for almost 8 years. Thanks also to Dr. Mackenzie and the staff at the Foothills Animal Hospital for the care and comfort Rose (and her family) received. And thanks to the Arizona Adopt-A-Greyhound group for bringing us together.

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8 responses to “Rest in Peace, My Sweet Rose

  • Sondra

    Lisa, (((HUGS))) I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful post, brought tears to my eyes!

  • Shawn

    Much love to you and your family Lisa.
    May Rose run, and play and be waiting for you on the other side. No longer in pain, happy and free. Hope the days ahead ease your pain to know you my friend are love by many.

  • angieland

    What a lovely tribute to your lost family member. My heartfelt condolences.

  • Deb Batten

    Oh Lisa – I have been dreading this post, just knowing that I wouldn’t have all the right things to say.
    I know there will be a gap, in the physical, for all of you. There will also be wonderful memories that, for a while at least, will bring tears.
    Eventually they will ease & you will able to remember Rose with a smile – & realise what a truly beautiful legacy she has left you in that photo of Rose amongst the roses.

  • joolzbylisa

    You all have said exactly the right things. Thank you for caring.

  • Suz

    Hugs my friend – beautifully written post, I am a bit teary right now.

  • Kaye Husko

    What a beautiful post Lisa, hugs and much love sent out your way.

  • Carol Gates

    My Dear Lisa, I talked to you already on the phone about your Rose; reading the above made me cry again for you and cry for the many beloved pet dogs that were in my life and had to be put down. My heart goes out to you and yours but what a great dog Rose was and how wonderful for her to have had such a loving family.

    Love,
    Aunt Carol

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