Neverends


I lost my baby 1 year, four months and 23 days ago. But who's counting? I am. Still ... I have lost pets before. But not like this. Not even close. I had to put my lil buddy of 18 years down. My first dog got ran over by a car. That was a real hard one. But nothing compares to this. I can't even get close enough to it in my heart or mind to allow for the process of grieving to occur. Like, I can't allow myself to even process the grief because it is still too much for me to even almost think about. I can't think about it. It's like a monster under my bed that I just have to force out of my conscious thought so it doesn't climb out from down under there and hurt me. I guess that's the problem. I can't get through it because it's so overwhelming and so big that I can't even face it. I feel like I will literally, be physically thrown to the ground by it if I allow it too close. I cannot put a picture up here because I can't bring myself to even look into his eyes. I haven't looked at a picture for about a year, four months and 23 days. I have accidentally stumbled on one or two, flipping through an electronic library of photos, but I look away and hit next immediately. I remember exactly where those are stored, and I never "stumble" across the same one twice. Sometimes I will look at a collection of photos as little tiny thumbnails and any one that has any black in it, I move to a special different folder. That's what color my angel was. He was pure black, except a small white tuft right in the center of his chest. He was absolutely the world's most adorable dog ever. Everyone thought so. Everyone wanted him. Strangers wanted him because he was so frickin cute and friends wanted him because he was even more precious inside than he looked outside. Which was no small feat considering he was about a 45 on the one-to-ten scale of preciousness. But he loved everyone, which probably came naturally because everyone loved and I do mean loved, him. A lot. He was let into restaurants just with the gleam of his little loving eyes. He was let into anyplace I took him and now that I think back, I really don't recall one instance he wasn't able to charm his way in. Ever. But for some reason, he especially loved babies. And babies absolutely and without reserve, just went nuts over him, giggling, smiling, laughing, touching. They were infatuated with each other. It almost was like they were having a conversation that only they could understand. It was a little weird at first because I have no kids. I think the pure light and love inside of him recognized the same in babies. I noticed it one night when a friend brought her 9 month old little girl and the two of them fell in love immediately. He howled and cried like I had never ever seen before, when she and her baby lot out of the car. I thought for a minute that he might jump out the window after them. Then one day in the grocery store (they all loved him there too- to hell with the health inspector) an autistic girl probably about 10 years old had a similar "conversation" with him. Same thing. I thought he was going to jump out of the grocery cart for her, he was so in love. But his absolute love and joy was extended to all he encountered. He was so chill too. Just mellow. But playful. And he liked to entertain people, doing random little "tricks" he knew they might appreciate. I never really taught him anything, other than "comeon baby" which he never really needed, because he was my shadow. But he liked seeing people happy, seeing them smile, so he had a small collection of goofy tricks he taught himself and which he performed on his own accord when visitors came. Just so they would smile, forget their troubles, and experience joy even for a few moments. He was absolutely the best dog anyone could even dream of. The best friend anyone could dream of. Even my big burly biker friends were reduced to baby talk, while gently tickling his appreciative little tummy. Which is why it sucked worse than anything I have ever had to experience when he was taken away to viciously and so violently. I took him for granted. I guess I just assumed he would be there for 18 years, like his predecessor. I just never thought to love him as hard as I could, or as much as he loved me. I never thought to cherish every moment I had with him. I thought we had a long time together left still for all of that. He would have been four that September. Which means we would have been together almost five years; I had him nearly a year before he became "1". I got him right at 8 weeks. A little black furball that fit in the palm of my hand. He weighed around eight pounds when he was full grown, but he was not fragile by any stretch of the imagination. He was the pack leader in the house and all the other dogs loved him as much as everyone else - all the people who knew or didn't even really know him. He just brought out love in every life he touched. He WAS love. I never fully appreciated how special he was or how lucky I was to have shared a piece of time with him. Until it was too late. I woke up on a Thursday morning and I immediately noticed my two little dogs weren't in bed with me which was somewhat odd, but it was summer. July 19th. So I was sleeping with my bedroom door open to cool the house. I called for them and he was always immediately bounding up to kiss me good morning and jump about expressing his joy for the sun coming up on another day. But he wasn't coming that day. I asked my boyfriend "where are the dogs?" as he walked into the bedroom. He knew I was referring to the little dogs. I had just gotten his little sister that March because I thought he needed someone his own size to play with. I also have a border collie and a pit bull/ Labrador mix, and while he was pack leader, he was just too small to play and wrestle with them. He was kind of the forgotten one during playtime. So his little sister and he started an instant love affair of their own. She was only six months that July. He loved being the big brother , showing her all the fun stuff to do and encouraging her to be as happy and as full of love as he was. She adored him, and he, her, from minute one. He was proud of her and immediately took it upon himself to look after her all the time. They slept curled up in a ball entwined with each other almost indistinguishable as to where one ended and the other began. She looked up to him and he watched over her. They played and played and played happily for those four months. My boyfriend knew which dogs were out of place: Chugs and his little sister. He nervously stated he didn't know and walked out the other door into the back yard. I immediately felt panic overcome me because the dogs were never far. Never not coming into say good morning, and rarely even out of bed before me. I got up and I saw the gate open. My heart went into fits of AFIB instantly. My collie could and would push the gate open if it wasn't latched. I told myself it had probably just happened and the dogs were just out in the front yard. I have a small gate that encloses the back, and a bigger gate that keeps the big dogs in the yard after they clear the three foot picket fence. The problem was, the bigger gate had about 8" clearance from the driveway, which was enough for the little dogs to fit under. We had been over this ad nauseam. The little gate had to be latched at all times because the collie would push it open if it wasn't. That allowed the small dogs access to the big gate with the clearance they could fit under. So I ran out into the street I think I might have been half naked but my thoughts were on one thing: get the dogs back. I screamed and screamed, knowing Chugs would come running as fast as he could. He loved me. More than I deserved. I kept screaming for them. They didn't come. My boyfriend told me to put some clothes on. I almost hit him right then. Who cared what I was wearing? Nothing mattered but the dogs! But instead I went in and already sobbing, I quickly dressed barely able to see through my tears or think in my panic and I decided to collar and leash the pit bull and take her out. I figured her scent would carry or maybe she could follow their scent and reunite us all more quickly. We went out and she started to go into the vacant lot across the street. I gently redirected her because I knew they wouldn't have ventured that way. The weeds were about twice as tall as them and full of stickers. I figured them to be on a sidewalk or a neatly manicured lawn of one of the neighbors. We headed up the street and around the block to the sheepdog's house. He was out of his yard a lot and he always came over across the field to visit my dogs. It seemed logical. We circled the block and then went around the opposite block. They couldn't be too far as small as they were and being they had never been out of the yard, everything would be a new fascinating thing to smell, look at, chew on, or play with. I figured they had to be close. After making my rounds in both directions with no luck, the dread started to set in. I had to go to work and I was hysterical and I was late already. I told my boyfriend to "FIND THEM!" and I got dressed and started to work. I was was an absolute mess, and I got no further than about three minutes from the house when something overwhelmed me and I started sobbing in a primal manner from the depths of my soul. Long almost howling moans of emotion literally flooding out of me in the form of tears. In hindsight, as overwhelming as that single moment was, I believe that was the moment Chugs passed. I think he felt my presence leaving him and the area and "giving up" and he couldn't hold on any longer. I think when I left, he let his hope slip away. But it hit me like a semi truck and I started the utterly uncontrollable, primal screaming sobs. I called my boss and barely able to spit word out between my sobs, I told him I couldn't give up on my dogs. He said I certainly didn't sound in any shape to come to work. I turned around and felt some comfort in my heading back home to find my buddy and his sister. I drove around completely inconsolable and crying without any ability or care to control myself, asking anyone I saw about the dogs. I was without any sense of self consciousness, pride, shame or concern how manic or crazy or hysterical I appeared. I asked and asked, my whole face swollen and red, my eyes almost cried shut, but pleading with every fiber of my being for them to tell me what I needed to hear. But no one saw them. I decided someone might have them in their home, for safe keeping. I went home to try to figure something out. I called all five shelters. I went to kinkos and printed 300 flyers offering $500 for their return. I had to make it enough that someone might rat out their neighbor who might have found the dogs and decided to keep them. After all, I was well aware how much people were drawn to Chugs and I had no doubt that whoever found them might have reservations about returning them. So I got a picture and printed out the flyer and went to kinkos. I was going to pass each and every one out on every door I could, working my way out from my house in a circle of distribution that was to get bigger and bigger until all 300 were gone. I live in a semi rural area with most lots being an acre, so I figured 300 would hopefully be sufficient. It gave me a focus on something other than the dread that had consumed my morning and I had a brief few hours of hope. I had a plan. I got home from the first round of my flyer posting and my boyfriend walked in with Chugs' Little sister!! OMG, OMG, OMG!!! There really IS reason to keep hope alive! But I asked where Chugs was immediately because the two were basically inseparable. She stuck to his side like white on rice. It didn't make any sense. He told me a neighbor up the street had walked out and found her huddled on his front porch early in the morning, around 5:00 a.m. His wife apparently barricaded herself in her bedroom professing that Jesus delivered the dog to her and was refusing to surrender her. My thought was "just great! If this is the reaction SHE elicits, I cannot even imagine what the person with Chugs is going to do!" I thought about changing the reward, upping it, but I had already passed out about 100 flyers and I couldn't start all over. They day was wearing on and it was already afternoon. I just didn't have time to get back to the copy shop to redo another 300 and start over. I held onto Chugs sister like she was my secret life line to him, that she would bring him forth. But I had to get back out on my mission so I eventually secured her inside and headed back out to pass out more flyers to more front doors. Well, about that time, my neighbor across the street pulled into his drive and got out of his car. My boyfriend immediately asked if he had seen the dog. He advised he hadn't. But he then proceeded to tell us that a pack of coyotes were going crazy in the street in the middle of the night. Right in front of the house -my house. They were so crazy, he had to go out with his gun to scare them off. I screamed, knowing instantly what happened to my Chugs. I went back in and got my Pitt again. This time I actually let her lead. Like I should have done first thing that morning. Once again, she went across the street, and wandered straight down the path of far too tall weeds for Chugs to have been playing in. She kept going almost to the end of the lot. I stopped her. I couldn't go one sep further. I was frozen in horror and disbelief, but knowing it was all too real and all too true at the same time. I was looking at a small black patch of fur in the far corner of the lot. I turned around, drowning in my resignation and went back home. I told my boyfriend that Cinnamon, the Pitt had lead me straight down the trail of destruction to his little body. I asked him to please retrieve Chugs' body because I simply couldn't. It was the most horrible thing I have ever experienced. Epic fail. I cannot begin to express the guilt and the pain just thinking about what must have been going through his mind while the savage coyotes were tearing his little body to shreds and killing him. The dog that was the very embodiment of nothing but unadulterated love. Died a horrific, painful, violent death in total fear, I am certain as scared as he was, he was confused. He had never known nothing like evil such as this and probably was trying to even comprehend what it was. But no doubt, his little eyes were not smiling so much that morning. I believe he sacrificed his own life to save his sisters life; to allow for her escape. He saved her life at the expense of his own. She was diagnosed with a collapsed lung a few months later, and I have had that repaired, but the vet told me it was trauma such as a bite, without doubt, that caused that. She barely escaped with her life. She has some strange sinus issue that no one has been able to accurately figure out, and is going in for MRI next week. But to think of Chugs laying in that field, grasping onto life in the cold darkness of early morning, hanging on, waiting for me to find him. But I didn't. Not until it was too late. He died alone, in that field, suffering slowly until all of his will to live had drained out of him and he could fight to hang on no longer. He was scared and hurt. I was asleep. He died there. Never having known anything in his life except the love that everyone wanted to so freely give him "just cuz". Just because that's all he had to give them. It was all he knew. He was the friendliest, most loving creature I have ever known. So now I walk through my life with visions of that horrific attack and the horrendous suffering he endured, due to my gate not being sufficiently closed. The guilt is almost as difficult to endure as the loss. Just It's like an invisible jail cell that I walk around through my life carrying with me. It's my inescapable-the cell-of pain. No one sees it, but it encases me every moment of every day that breath fills my lungs. I can't crawl out of it. It's locked. I have adapted over time, to function fairly well from behind the invisible bars that hold me frozen in my grief. No one really knows or can probably fathom what this has done to me. But moreover what it did to him leaves me speechless, breathless still at times. Thoughtless, really. I can't think. The big dogs stood at the big gate for weeks on end, just barking and howling night after night, I think calling those f*^%ers back. They all witnessed it - all three of them heard him crying out as he was being attacked, shredded and being killed. They all smelled it as it happened. I know they all felt it. The coyotes didn't even eat him. I mean, I am glad on one hand, but on the other hand, it may have been different if they were starving and trying to survive. But they did it for NO REASON other than hate. I guess. He was only eight pounds. Three years, almost four. Full of love and life. Such a happy soul. Just joyous about being alive. "Pura Vida". He used to throw me a love fest every day, wiggling and squirming unable to contain his joy when I got home. I hope one day I can face it and accept it, but I am not real optimistic. I bought a half dozen picture frames for him about two weeks after his death. I will attach those. They still have the generic photos from the store because I cannot even bring myself to look into his smiling eyes. One year, four months, 23 days later. I cry all the time for him. I don't know if I deserve to ever stop suffering. I didn't leave the gate open, but still it was my gate, my yard, my dog, my responsibility to have double checked it. Triple checked it. To have made sure my dogs were safe and that nothing like this happened. Ever. My love for Chugs will never end. I'm starting to know my grief and guilt will never end either.
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GrievingHannah
Your story touched me.  I was vicariously by your side when you discovered Chugs' little body.

I lost my Hannah on February 3, 2014, at 11:30 A.M.  My grief will continue for the rest of my life, but they have eased with time.  I am working on the guilt, trying to remind myself that I am an imperfect human being.

I feel guilty about several aspects of her life and euthanasia.  In 2006, Hannah herniated a disc in her lower back and was paralyzed.  My vet met us on a Saturday morning and made preparations for me to drive to Pittsburgh to a clinic that is known for this kind of surgery.  I was so upset, sobbing as we drove home to prepare for my 150-mile drive.  I quickly made up my mind to drive a certain route without looking at a map or calculating distances.  In the end, I chose the longer of the two routes, and the extra hour might have made the difference in her permanent disabilities in her hind legs.  They were there for me to see for eight more years.  Oh the guilt!

It has taken a lot of time and self-forgiveness for me to get in a better place, but still, at times, my stupid decision gnaws at me, as does the medical treatments Hannah received near the end of her life.  I should have been a better advocate for her...I accepted my vet's prognosis as if it were gospel.  It was not.  And by the time I realized that she was dying, it was too late. 

To deal with this guilt, I have to remind myself that I would never do anything to hurt my Hannah.  I never cared about how much money we spent on her care...her two surgeries for paralysis cost us $10000...I don't regret a dime.  But I was not perfect at the end of her life.  I have to forgive myself, and I'm working my way toward it by continually asking that important question.

As for you...would you have intentionally left the gate open?  Of course not.  You are an imperfect human being, just like me.  Please keep asking yourself that question.  It helped me.

I am sorry for your loss.  The grief will never end, I know, but much of my grief has been channeled into rescuing and caring for Mack.  The grace and redemption I gain from caring for Mack helps me deal with my grief and guilt.  I'm not suggesting you rescue a dog and your troubles will end.  But when you care for another innocent and vulnerable soul whose life has not been filled with hope and happiness, you have to shift your focus on how bad you feel to taking care of another dog who needs you.  This happened when my wife and I rescued Mack.  I'll be honest...Mack is not as special as my dear, beautiful Hannah, but Mack is indeed special, and he needs me.  So I just don't have the time and energy to dwell on my grief and guilt.  In this way, Mack saved me.

I hope my experiences help you.  I understand what you're going through. Please read the quote in blue below...it gives me the perspective to stay out of that deep, dark emotional abyss that I was in for three months after Hannah died.
Lee (Mack's and Hannah's and Heidi's and Janie's dad)

Fragile Circle

"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.
Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way.
We cherish memory as the only certain immortality,
never fully understanding the necessary plan."

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Neverends
Thank you for the warm thoughts and support. It means a lot to know other people care and can empathize. I just take one day at a time which is progress from where I was. I would only hope my path crossed his again sometime, somewhere. He was truly special beyond words. I haven't ever considered forgiveness so thank you for that
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loft2111
I am so sorry for your loss.  I read your post as a book, it was so touching and I felt the loss of your Chugs within me.  Please don't blame yourself, you can't do that to yourself.  We have all lost for many reasons.  I didn't take my LM to the vet when he was acting weird, I didn't put him through an MRI....all of our loses come with guilt so you are not alone. Your guilt is from a space in a gate, mine is from not taking him to a specialist, others may be the same or different.  No one on these forums will say that they are guilt free, we all battle with it in one sense or another.  Don't be so hard on yourself, your loss is definitely traumatic, I can't even deal with seeing my Little Man's body after he was euthanized, the image is haunting.  You sound like a amazing mom you gave him all the love you could and that's all that mattered to him.
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Leahbeahis
I'm so sorry you lost Chugs. You could've taken the words right out of my mouth about the guilt you feel. I was always diligent in caring for Lucy. I tried to prevent anything bad from happening to her. When I noticed her starting to age, I became paranoid and saw many specialists and vets to ensure that Lucy would live a good quality of life for as long as possible. My husband and I moved into a new house one month before Lucy died. We hadn't had a chance to install the dog gate yet for where she would stay while we were out, so we attached her to a leash. I have always used harnesses because I know the risk of using collars, but she hated wearing a harness, and whenever we would be gone, all she ever did was lay in her bed and wait for us to come home. That night when we came home, we didn't hear Lucy howling for us, we knew something was wrong. Lucy had gotten herself all tangled in the dining chairs. The chairs had somehow fallen over (she was a 5lb Chihuahua) and we found her hanging from one of them. The guilt I feel is horrendous. It's awful the way poor Chugs went, life is harsh. We don't get to choose what happens to our loved ones in the end. We can't always protect our babies 100%. I don't think we will ever live without the guilt, but we can logically understand that it wasn't our fault. You would never intentionally let anything bad happen to Chugs. Chugs is so lucky to have had you to care for him, and to experience the love that you shared. I enjoyed reading about Chugs, you write beautifully. Please share more if you want to. Again, I'm so sorry you lost Chugs in an awful way and so early in his life. It's a challenge to push those images out of your mind, I understand. Know that you gave him everything a dog could've ever wanted.
~ Leah
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Neverends
Thank you Loft and Leah. The guilt is kind of like that boyfriend that everyone keeps telling me is no good for me, but yet I keep hanging onto. I have had my spirituality rocked as well, which is a subject for another place. Lol. But God -I mean, REALLY? It was so absolutely pointless. What was the point? I understand survival and those Coyotes had babies to feed and the cycle of nature, etc ... But this had no point other than everything evil and bad. Why would a loving God allow this to an innocent animal? who was nothing but love? I am so sorry for your looses. I guess its inherent with loving someone who is not going to live as long us, or really, it's inherant with loving someone at all. Loss is part of love. I can't imagine Leah what that would have been like finding your lil preciousness the way you did!! And lLoft the "cudda, shudda" haunts are the ones that seem to linger for me anyway, the longest. I wish we could all get together and have one big group hug. I think everyone here could use a big fat hug . But I will work through my guilt, I hope, and lose it like a bad boyfriend. And the pain and sorrow, I feel I deserve to endure the rest of my days. I am seeking some spiritual counseling which I probably should have done a LONG time ago. So slowly the answers will come. Maybe. God bless you, God bless us all, and our beloved furry friends. I sure hope we all get to share (time, space, love, ourselves) with them again sometime, somewhere, somehow. xoxoxo
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Dalidog
Neverends, I read your post and it touched my heart.  The pain you feel is so evident.  We all have guilt feelings when our babies leave us, whatever the circumstances.  Today is 11 weeks for me and the guilt and pain I feel is as it was the first day.  My baby had a seizure and was gone...after being sick less than a week (that I knew of) and after getting a shot and meds from the vet who said she was going to be okay.  I felt sooo guilty for not knowing she was sick, leaving her.  I still wonder did she think I didn't care because I wasn't concerned???  I cry and have panic attacks from the guilt, I don't see how it will ever end.  The doctor put me on meds.  I have been a nervous wreck.  No Thanksgiving, and no Christmas at my house.  Everything I think is about my baby.  Took me a while to be able to look at her pictures.  Now I do, but not too long because I start sobbing.  She was my life for 12 1/2 years, always healthy and then BAMMM.  I feel selfish for not paying closer attention.  We all have some guilt.  I didn't have to make the hard decision many do and they feel guilty too.  There is no around it.  I try not to let the sadness and grief consume me, but it has turned me into a different person.  I used to enjoy life, look forward to the holidays, be happy...  NOW, every day is another day without my Dali, another day to mourn her.  I am sure I will do that the rest of my life.  I know our babies gave us unconditional love and wouldn't want us to be unhappy.  I know this, but I can't help it.  I try every day now to think of the happy times, the fun times...like the times you talk about above.  Your baby would want that for you too.  They gave us love and happiness and that's what they want us to be now.  I am struggling with that.  But the grief is worth it..  We will see them again, when the time is right.  Hugs to you and your baby..  till you meet again

Dali, as much a daughter as any human...  pure love
Until we meet again

http://rainbowsbridge.com/residents/DALI003/Resident.htm

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Mistysmama
Your story moved me deeply. Poor sweet Chugs. I can hardly even begin to imagine the suffering you went through. I was devastated when my Misty passed, from Cancer, but can't imagine how it would have affected me if she had been taken by Coyotes.

You have been very brave, holding this all to yourself for so long.
It is two and a half years since my girl left, and I still have grieving-times. Even though I had wonderful experiences which showed me she lives on in Spirit, and is waiting for me there. I still miss her so very much....here....in my life, in our home. I think the sense of loss is always there.

There are so many 'what ifs'....so many self-accusations we all have when they are gone. I know. My dog passed relatively naturally and thankfully with some peace at the end, but still I racked my brains about how I maybe could have done better for her.....

I do not mean to sound blasphemous, but I did not worry about "God" or what God might be up to. The one all-pervading thing was my love for my girl, and nothing else had a look-in. Sorry God -not even you.

She showed me she passed over and was out of pain, restored okay, and still loved me very very much. She had let go and forgotten about her last illness, and the means of her passing. My experiences were very real.

I am almost certain it will be that way for Chugs too.
Please do send him your love. Your heartfelt hugs, your joy through your tears. Though I know it's little consolation in the sorrow you feel, it is true. They live on and still love us very much.
Hold the love like a little light. It is all you have, or will ever have, to find your way home.

Misty's Blog..a Dogfight with Cancer http://www.mistysblog69.blogspot.co.uk

Misty's life after death: http://www.dog2spirit.com
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Neverends
Dali thank you so much for helping ease my guilt. I really almost feel it's what I deserve I suffer with the rest of my life. But you are right, they always wanted only for us to be happy. As for you, your vet although I am sure meaning well, sounds like the one who may have misguided the medical decisions. How else can we respond to expert medical advice of which we have no knowledge, other than with blind faith? Without 8 years of higher education, you certainly couldn't know what that doctor may have known or should have maybe known. That's what I pay my vets for. I feel so sad for you and everyone with sick pups. Like Misty OMG I Cant tell y'all what a difference just reading youralls encouraging and heartfelt words has made. It must be agonizing dealing with illness that one feels so powerless over. I would enjoy hearing about your experiences, Misty that let you know her spirit is alive and well. I haven't had a single dream where my baby was even an "extra" in the plot. But I truly hope that peace finds its way into both of your - all of our - hearts one day. I'm going to put a pic of Chugs' sister up, and his lil urn. The card says "in heaven, the windows are always down". Chugs LOVED riding in the car smiling at everyone out the open window. Now I hope he is looking through the window from the sky, down at least just enough to know I loved him and to know I'm so sorry. So so so sorry.
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Neverends
Here is his lil urn and his sweet little sister
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Dalidog
Thanks for posting, the pictures are touching. 
I hope you are doing okay.  I would never use the word "better" because there is no better...just okay as we have the rest of our journey on earth without our furbabies.  I hope you baby comes to you in some form to comfort you.  Recognize the signs, and find some peace and comfort until you meet them again.
HUgs

Dali, as much a daughter as any human...  pure love
Until we meet again

http://rainbowsbridge.com/residents/DALI003/Resident.htm

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loft2111
What a beautiful urn and saying, he's watching over you and with you.  His sister is adorable, that face! Take care of yourself, we are all here for you.
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