Monday, August 26, 2013

Losing a Pet
Eulogy for Rudy, August 2013



Last Sunday, Rudy spent the day with me.

Most of his days were spent with me.  From the first day I brought him home from the highway corner upon which his brothers and sisters were being given away, Rudy spent every one of his days, with me, when I was home. Those few days I was away, he spent waiting for my return.

Rudy was intended as a gift for my daughter, who was expected for a rare visit for the holidays. I temporarily named him Rudy, short for Rudolph, in honor of the season. He'd snuggled his little nose into my neck the very moment I picked him from the litter, and he stole my heart. As they so often do, plans changed, my daughter stayed home with her boyfriend for the holidays, and Rudy would stay with me.

Perhaps I'd planned it all along.

I began working on the farm full-time prior to Rudy's arrival, and other than the three days a week I spent in Austin at school, he and I shared most minutes of our life with a menagerie of dogs and cats and chickens and ducks and rabbits and goats.  And as soon as he was able to make his voice known, he let the rest of the world know that he'd rather we all be left alone.

Rudy didn't much like strangers.

Rudy didn't like the UPS man, the FedEX man, the postman, the Pastor and her husband, any neighbor, few family members (some were tolerated.) strange animals, grasshoppers, or chickens rooting about in his feed bowl.

Rudy was not particularly fond of rap music. Rudy liked Pink Floyd. Occasionally, Joni Mitchell. And his mama, singing to the cucumbers at watering time.  He never understood why she sang, but he liked it when mama was happy.  He sat beside her morning and evening in the midsummer, and watched those cucumbers do absolutely nothing in response to her songs.

He didn't like cucumbers, either.

Rudy finds the sweet spot, October 2012
Rudy spent his entire night, every night. laying on his front porch, close to slumber, but always with one ear cocked for danger.  One ear up.  One ear down.  Nocturnal wild animal visits would not be tolerated.  Nor would that strange guy, up the road.  Rudy was the best watch dog in all of the countryside.  I'd never felt as safe as when Rudy was on guard.

This summer has been a little crazy.  In fact the entire last year has been a bit of a roller coaster. There has been much change.  Rudy and I have not spent every day together.  In fact, Rudy was cared for most of the summer in the country while I worked and lived in the city, primarily.  And as soon as there was a place for Rudy in the city, he and Jack, previously a city dog, came to live in Austin.

Now, Jack?  He's just fine with Austin.  He was born in Austin.  He's lived in Austin. And he's changed locales and lifestyles with me for over ten years.  He's a gypsy, that Jack.

Rudy didn't adjust to the city as well.  Rudy was stressed.  There were people and cars and sirens and drunks and buses (Rudy REALLY didn't like buses) and kennels, and, well, noise.  Lots of it.  The city proved to be too much for Rudy. Rudy was clearly stressed.

And without going into the dark details of those days, I'm sad to say Rudy did not survive the move. His last day, he would not leave my side. And I will forever be grateful that he and I spent those final hours, as we did for all those days on the farm, together. Side by side.

Rudy teaches his nephew, March 2012
So, today I sit in this coffee shop, creating a small lake of tears and a bit of a scene, remembering the unparalleled devotion of Rudy. I thought waiting a few days would help me have objectivity. Would help me say the things that others who lose pets need to hear. Would help me be pithy and wise.  Nope.  I'm still a wreck. Rudy deserves a more dignified memorial, but he knows how I am; I don't know how dogs' minds really work, but I'll just bet Rudy knew I'd take this pretty hard. He'd come to be comfortable with all of my moods. I could never be cranky, or goofy, or touchy, or messy, or sweaty enough for Rudy to avoid me. Rudy was there for my dark days, and bright. I know he's cheering me on, still, in the special place our animals go to wait for us.

With one ear up.  And one ear down.


"I'll Always Love a Dog Named Beau" 
written and read by Jimmy Stewart.

20 comments:

  1. Oye - I'm so sorry for your loss, Maggie. Dogs - sigh. They are amazing.

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    1. Thank you, Jodi, and thanks for dropping by. Dogs. Are. Awesome.

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  2. My heart is heavy with your loss. I think you gave Rudy one of the most heart touching memorials. Only a dog lover understands the impact they have on our souls. May you find peace in these upcoming days amongst your loss. ~hugs~

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    1. Kristina, thank you so much. I'm holding Jack extra close these days. And the sweet condolences of friends like you.

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  3. Holding your close, my friend.

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    1. Thank you, sweet friend. I feel your hug from here.

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  4. My heart is breaking for you, and my eyes are leaking. :-(

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    1. Thank you so much, Vaughn. There's a new watchdog in doggie heaven.

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  5. You are so blessed to have had a Rudy. I had a Buster. We may love other pets, but these are irreplaceable.

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your condolences, Mary. Here's hoping Buster and Rudy are romping together somewhere dog-fabulous.

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  6. Such a beautiful tribute to a wonderfully devoted companion. Grieving with you & feeling your pain. Love you, dear Maggie.

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing my grief. It certainly lessens the sting. How did you like the reference to you guys? lol I will enjoy seeing all those pics of Rudy's offspring. Miss you!

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  7. I hope Rudy and Kahlua (my lab who passed away several years ago) are romping in doggie heaven together, too. Hugs to you and drinky-poos soon!!

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    1. That is a scene that makes me happy to imagine. Speaking of Kahlua, did you know that Kahlua makes a fabulous camping companion? (YUM!) Looking forward to hugs and drinky-poos!

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  8. My heart goes out to you. I grieve my Murphy daily.

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Carol. I'm thinking of you, too, as you navigate the bittersweet memories and passing of your Murphy.

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  9. For some reason, I hadn't seen the video on this post until tonight. I now have tears streaming down my face and I need to go hug my cats.

    Big hugs to you.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kindness.

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  11. Girl, that darned video. It breaks me up every time. Thank you so much, friend.

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