Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Some Days I Miss My Dog

I had the sweetest dog in the whole wide world & her name was Tara. She was with me almost 15 years. She was a stray, just a mutt, but aren't those the best kind? I adopted her when someone from the neighborhood I used to live in (in GA) brought her by trying to find a home for her. She was less than a year old (above) & she quickly earned a soft spot in my heart that is still there. I realized after she was gone just how few pics I had of her & I really hate that, cause she was the sweetest dog ever. She was a mix of cocker spaniel & I think, Lab & had the best temperament. She was my watch dog & would bark at anyone who dared come into the yard or to the frontdoor, then as soon as someone talked sweet to her, she would lick them to death. She was my faithful friend, companion, & baby I never had & I don't think there will ever be another dog like her for me.

Sadly, I had to put her down before we moved to Birmingham, in October of 2005. She was just shy of her 15 birthday & really not doing very well. She had severe arthritis & could not climb stairs anymore & the last 3 mos. of her life began acting strange & not herself. She started not wanting to come in the house with me at night when I got home from work. And that was really not like her! I knew her quality of life was gone at that point. So, I knew her time was coming & I had to prepare for it & I couldn't move her in the shape she was in. But, I don't think you really ever prepare yourself for something like that. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I cried for the first week & then things began to get better. I knew I would miss her & time would move on, but sometimes I think about her & wish I could see her running to greet me just one more time & get those doggies kisses she so freely gave me. Talk about unconditional love...those dogs know how to give it!

The first week or so after we moved in this house, I saw a dog right down the street out walking with the owner....and I did a major doubletake. That dog is a dead ringer for my Tara. I finally met the owners & told them about Tara & I still want to show them pictures. They could be twins! I mean identical! I just don't get to see her all that often, I think they keep her in the house most of the time. Tara had a beautiful black glossy coat of fur & furry feet that looked like she was wearing house slippers & she dropped black hair all over the house. Now, the hair...I don't miss that! Between her & the cat, my house was one big furball! I know you who have pets totally understand that. My mom almost disowned me (not really!) when she found out I had a dog in the house. She did not raise me like that. I wasn't planning to have a dog in the house...it just slooooowly happened. Here she is in 2003 in my old GA backyard. She was getting some age on her by then, but still got around pretty well.
How could you not love that face?? By this time, she really had a gray beard. She was my spoiled little girl & I'm so thankful that I had her for as long as I did. She followed me around & was a faithful companion.

So, what do you do when you are petless for the first time in many years....well, you go & play with the neighbor's dog.

Meet Sam...Sam is a fun-loving, let's play all the time Golden Retriever next door (remember Grant from my landscape project...Sam belongs to his family) & he is always ready to come out & see me. So, when I get the urge to pet & hug on a doggie, I go & visit Sam. I took his picture & he wasn't quite sure why I was pointing a camera at him. See, he looks sort of sheepish...like, why are you pointing that thing at me?! Let's do something fun! I want to run & play. You should see this dog...he can jump higher than any dog I've ever seen...his legs are like springs! He has an invisible fence in the frontyard that does the trick in keeping him in & I have seen him soar over their back gate to the frontyard like he's a pole vaulter. I told him to sit while I took his pic & he was a very obedient young man.
Hurry up..I don't want my picture taken anymore! So, I said Sam....go get your ball! Those ears perked up & off he went in the bushes, searching.....and out came the frisbee!
So, I threw the frisbee with him for a bit....he never gets tired...he can go & go & go & will bark at you if you stop! He doesn't always drop it though....he wants to lay down & keep his paw or mouth on it so you have to play tug-o-war, but will eventually give it up.
Good boy, Sam!

There are a few others in the neighborhood too that I love to visit. Like the sister dachsunds down the street named Maggie & Molly. They are such snugglers (especially Molly) & will give lots of kisses. Aren't they adorable in their leopard collars?!

So, I can hear you now....Rhoda, you have to get another dog! But, you see, after all those years of taking care of my precious girl, I am just not ready to commit to it again. I know I could fall in love with a new baby in an instant, but we are going to remain petless for now. I have allergies & after my dog was gone & I found a home for the cat, I have to say, I do not have nearly the troubles I used to have with my allergies. It's a world of difference, so I just don't think it's healthy for me to have an inside dog or cat anymore. My hubby is also highly allergic to cats, so those are out for sure. I've threatened to get a cat that likes to hang outside, since they are so self-sufficient & don't need a lot from you. But, unless that just happens, I probably won't seek it out. There are lots of cats in the neighborhood too & I can always stop & pet them.

I see a lot of you have your sweet furbabies...there's Kim & Maggie Mae (who totally melts my heart), Manuela & Maxie, Pat & Molly, Kat & Miss Daisy....& a whole host of more sweet dogs. I get nostalgic sometimes, but I will just enjoy the neighborhood pets & be happy with that for now.

So, don't tell me to get another dog....OK! LOL

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Tammy518 said...

Rhoda, I'm so sorry that you lost such a precious baby. We lost our Sassy at age 11 in April of 2005. Losing her was one of the hardest things I've ever had to face, and I'm tearing up now, thinking of her and your sweet Tara.

You mentioned wishing you could see Tara running again -- you will, when you meet her in Heaven. That's what really got me through when Sassy died, and thinking over her strong and healthy again. Have you read the Rainbow Bridge poem? If not, you really need to look it up on the Internet. It's about precious furbabies waiting at the Rainbow Bridge for their human family members to come meet them and go on into Heaven.

On a more cheerful note, our life has been taken over by another baby -- this time one crazy pug named Lucy. She is not quite two years old yet and she really keeps us hopping! It's hard to put your heart out there again, but I couldn't imagine not having Lucy.

All your neighbor doggies are so sweet! Thanks for sharing their pics.

Julie said...

Life without animals...WHAT IS THAT??? ha ha...

I have often said that when I die, I have 1 bone to pick with God and that is ...if they are "man's best friend" how come they don't live as long as the man???

I have had so many wonderful animals in my life it would take forever to share them all..but the current Corgi we now have (the one who lives indoors with us) is the smartest dog I have ever seen!

DiddleDaddleDesigns said...

Rhoda, thanks for sharing this story. I know there are many of us who can relate. We really do get attached to these furry creatures just like they were human. They love us even when we bother them. I have two cats and the older one especially would prefer to be left alone most of the time. I love her just the same. I know she loves me too even though she sometimes has a weird way of showing it :).

Tonja said...

Oh sweet memories you have. My fox terrier, Scooter, is 11 years old. I don't know how I could enjoy life without him. Beautiful pics!

Funny you should mention Cahaba Heights in your previous post. I took Alex to B'ham for a dr. appt on Mon, and afterwards he wanted to see the Harry Potter movie. So we went to the Summit, so I could be entertained as well. As we were leaving to start home, my DIL called and said, "since you are at the Summit, take this road and this one and go to the shop, Lamb's Ear." So we did, and I saw all those shops you were talking about. Oh, how my junking genes were kicking in! I could spend a week just exploring all those neat shops! Did find Lamb's Ear. Are you familiar with it? Lovely little shop. I'm going to do a post on the treasure I found there.

Blessings,
Tonja

Deb said...

Wonderful post & pictures Rhoda. As a dog lover - this post was a favourite :-}

Nicki said...

what a sweet post!! sorry about your dog.....we lost a dog last year who was actually a golden, those pictures of sam made me think of him!! loved reading about all your neighborhood buddies!! =)

Sandy McTier said...

Oh! you know you want to!
I was so there for the longest time and as you know just added to additions to our family. We've had to get rid of so many pets due to military moves overseas and my kids asked me how long we were keeping these dogs, this time? How sad huh? Well, I told them they are ours to keep no matter where we move to!
Wonderful post. Love the pics of the neighborhood dogs and your precious dog that you lost.

Have a blessed day.

Suzanne said...

Rhoda~ you had me crying at the beginning of your post about Tara. Pets are sooo much a part of our lives, and so special. We have a min. shnauzer (8 yrs. old) and my hubby says after he is gone (our dog, not my husband!), we won't get another dog, because there will never be another dog like Roscoe.
It's nice that you can visit and play with the neighbors dogs!
Please stop by my blog sometime this week, I'm having a "gift-away".

Jen said...

It is so amazing how a dog or a cat can enter our lives and leave such a lasting mark. Your story brought back such wonderful memories of a puppy I received when I was five, also a mutt, named Patches. He lived until I was 17 and was missed so terribly when he was gone! Now my children have a puppy of their own that they are growing up with: a rambunctious beagle named Snoopy. I loved all of the pictures you have shared. It is great that you have neighbors with pets you can visit when you feel the desire to spend time with a furry friend.

Susan Ramey Cleveland said...

Rhoda, I was so sad reading your story of your sweet doggie Tara. She was so pretty. We almost lost our Sophie this past spring. She came down with hemolytic anemia very quickly and was almost gone by the time we knew she was sick. It has been a long pull, but she's back in good health. She's only 5 years old, so we're hoping to have her for many years to come. I hope that you do someday have another sweet fur baby in your life. There's nothing like the love, fun, and companionship they give.
Did you know that the pet clinic on Hwy. 280, I think it's Riverview, has a chaplain now? I read about him in the newspaper. He believes, as I do, that animals have souls, and that we'll see our lost ones again.

Nathan's Uncle said...

Now that's my kind of post! A fitting tribute to an angel in fur. I for one know everything Rhoda wrote about Tara is true.

I still remember when I stayed at Rhoda's once back in the 1990s. The first morning Tara came running in the bedroom and jumped up in bed with me, a proper welcome. I remember she had the sweetest eyes. I'm a dog lover, but Tara was special, and I always looked forward to seeing her every time I went through Atlanta.

I can't believe how it worked out that I got to tell her goodbye. The week before Rhoda had to send Tara back to Heaven, I just happened to be heading up to my cabin in the mountains. Rhoda was not at home, but she left the garage open so I could go in. When I opened the door, Tara barked, but then she saw it was me and she was her same sweet self. I could see how she had aged and how difficult it was for her to get around. I stroked her soft fur and told her goodbye. I left with tears in my eyes, but I was grateful that I got to tell her goodbye.

We miss you Tara . . .

Love, Cousin Howie

P.S. Rhoda, I have a great picture of Tara with me in your living room in Marietta, of course we are both much younger with less gray in our beards. When I find it, I'll scan it and send it to you.

extra good mom said...

Rhoda, I completely understand your feelings of loss and not wanting to get another dog. It took me about 5 years, maybe more, to get another dog after my beloved Boston Terrier had to be put down. There is a children's book called "Dog Heaven" and there's also "Cat Heaven" that is so comforting. Just don't read it in the store. I used to work at Barnes and Noble and cried like a baby at the customer service desk when that book came in on special order. But then I had about 10 people order it! My stepmom and dad have a standard poodle that does not cause an allergic reaction and he's great. So, you might think about that breed - if you ever want to get another dog. Sometime way down the road, perhaps. PS - this is my first comment to yu and I have to mention that I feel like a stalker. I check your site every day and get a little thrill when there's something new! I'm not weird, just a beginning blogger that LOVES your site and decorating! Hugs, Lisa
www.extragoodlife.blogspot.com

Rosemary said...

What a sweet dog that you had.
I know what you mean. I am petless too for the first time. My last cat died a year ago. I pet the neighbors dogs too. My daughter has 4 cats at her house. So I play with them.
I must admit, that it is a lot less work now, but you do miss them.
Thanks for sharing with us.
Rosemary

Simply Me Art said...

Rhoda, So sorry about Tara. I do know your feeling, I have had to put an animal down and it hurts so much. I'm sure when you are ready you will add another four legged friend to your home.Sometimes I think we need longer to get over something. I have three Loves and it is in my mind that someday I will have to say goodbye. I tell them almost daily that they will be with me forever! Hugs, keep getting those doggy fixes from those Gorgeous Neighborhood dogs that will help. Jamie

PAT said...

This is a sweet post, Rhoda! I remember Tara. She was beautiful and I know how much you loved her.

Great photos of your "neighbors"! Pets are known to lower blood pressure, so a visit with these wonderful animals is good for you!

Pat

RealEstateGirl said...

Awwww, your dog was so precious! It is like losing a member of the family, isn't it?!

But I love that you can love on the neighborhood dogs. We have a neighbor dog like that...he likes to come and play but then goes home to his "mama and daddy"... kinda like having grandkids!

daisy cottage said...

Rhoda I remember when you went through that heartbreaking time with Tara. Such a beautiful dog she was and oh what a sweet, sweet face. I know you loved her so very much. ((hugs)) She was SO incredibly blessed to have spent her life with you.
xo,
Kim

Betty said...

Rhoda, I sympathize with you. We had Bandit, a Shitzu, for 12 years and he developed a heart condition so the vet said. We were living in Thomaston at the time. We gave him the first dose of medicine and he died in my husband's arms shortly thereafter. We brought him 160 miles to the farm that afternoon and buried him. I knew one day we would leave Thomaston and I didn't want to leave him there. He needed to be at home.

I haven't gotten a dog since....just can't bring myself to get one...although we had collies when our girls were growing up. Edward would like to get one now....maybe.......

Thanks for coming to see me.....Betty

cityfarmer said...

lots of sad pet stories this week...

Anonymous said...

Hi Rhoda,
I so enjoyed looking at your sweet dog's pictures and your neighbors too. I realized a few years ago while scrapbooking a few pages of our pets past and present that I had so few pictures of my sweet mutt, Suzette. Like your Tara she was my sweet baby. I'm disappointed that I didn't take more pictures of her.

It was years before I got another dog. Now I have three Chihuahua's and they are my life. So never say never, if can happen......lol.

Hugs,
Judy (in McDonough)

DebraK from ~the Bunnies Bungalow~ said...

I remember when you'd mention your Tara on GI. My daughter's name is Tara.

Pets are the best, especially dogs. I was thinking of my pet today too & was surprised to see this post about your pet, we were thinking of the same thing! I can so relate to all your feelings....My dear Kira, a llhasa apso, was laid down 5yrs ago & I still think of her all the time. It was devastating to me at the time & only this year did I have enough nerve to travel on the same road as the vet's office where she was put down. I just couldn't bring myself to go on that road & I'd drive out of the way to avoid it. She was 14 at the time & was having seisures. Cushings disease was suspected but we never did know for sure. One night she had a pretty bad one & that was it. I could not bear to watch her suffer. I had a site for her at the "rainbow bridge" web site. It was so very hard....I loved that dog....


Now you have a new wonderful friend in Sam. He looks so friendly & fun. I can tell you enjoy his company. He looks like he is smiling at you! Molly & Maggie are cute, love those collars too!


I probably won't get another dog either because of all the responsibility & worry, but I do love them all.

Jen @ The Cottage Nest said...

What a sweet pup you had. It's so hard to lose one. When our last golden died at the age of 14 1/2 I was devasted. I had been saying for years that I would take a long break from dog ownership when she was gone. I lasted 4 months. Loved the pictures of all of your doggy friends.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

It's so sweet to hear all of your wonderful comments about your own experiences with pets. I think we all understand how it feels to love & lose one & when it happens, you don't forget it easily. Dogs have a special way of wriggling their way into our hearts & there is just nothing like 'em!

Thank you all SO much for telling me about your furbabies. I loved hearing your stories too!

xo,
Rhoda

Lynne said...

I can't imagine a house without dogs. I don't know what I'll do when Maggie and Teddy leave us.

When Teddy was diagnosed with his heart condition in December 05, we were told that he probably wouldn't live another 6 months. Luckily, the predictions were wrong. He's still with us and doing fairly well.

It's so nice that you have neighborhood dogs that you can love on.

Andi said...

What a wonderful post about your beautiful Tara. She was such a beauty with her shiny black coat.

I'm so glad you have visiting neighbor doggies to play with now.

Betty said...

Rhoda,
I tagged you for the Eight Random Things About Me....Hope you will participate....it's listed on my post today....Betty

Sandy said...

Love the photos!
We are so in love with our dog, Haggis. We're crazy in love.
Sandy :)

Robin said...

Hi! I'm new here and LOVE your blog! I totally know your feeling of loosing your sweet dog, we lost our first dog on our six year wedding anniversary very unexpectedly....it was devastating! I thought I could never love another one again. We did however continue to have dogs and have enjoyed every moment....except the hair! I look at it as such a small price to pay for the "return" that I get back!

Bonnie said...

Hi Rhoda.......I remember Tara too & the difficult time you had putting her to sleep. It hurts sometimes to do the best thing for them. You know we think Duke (our boxer) died in his sleep after 9 yrs of being with us. Macy (our new BullMastiff ) is the sweetest most docile dog we have ever had & we are just crazy about her.......she even looks like Duke!
I am so sorry about Tara.....glad you find joy in the dogs in the neighborhood & yes, we understand!
Bonnie

"Maggie" said...

I can completely relate to your sadness. We had to put our lab Blue down last year and we forever miss him. We rode behind a small SUV a few days ago that had a dog that looked so much like ours I wanted to stop them but couldn't. It's a sadness that just never goes away. We too have a neighborhood dog named "Maggie" and it is also a lab. We get some comfort playing with her and watching her.
http://www.designerm.com/2005/2006_03_01_archive.html

Adriann said...

I know how you feel when you lose a beloved animal. My cat was hit by a car over 10 years ago and I never wanted to get another animal. I didn't want to deal with the pain of bonding with an animal and then losing it. It was very hard. DS keeps asking for a puppy, I guess I'll eventually have to get another animal for him.

Glad you can enjoy the neighbor's dogs.

Blessings!

justabeachkat said...

You KNOW how crazy we are for our Miss Daisy! She's definitely the sweetest and "bestest" dog we've ever had. In less than 4 months she's wrapped herself around our hearts. It's amazing the love she gives and the love we feel for her.

I loved this post Rhoda. What a beautiful tribute to your sweet Tara! You can just see in the photos her "sweetness".

Hugs!
Kat

Sheila said...

Our pets are a huge part of our families, and obviously Tara was no exception. Of course you miss her, and she can never be replaced. The fun you have with the neighbourhood puppies is a bonus, for them and you.!
Lovely photos..!

Decorating Queen said...

Hello Rhoda,
I enjoyed reading your post this morning with my morning coffee. We have a black lab named "Max" he is part of our family. I like to say he is my third son. LOL! He is so gently and kind and the way you described your dog they both have the same character. Must be the lab. Cute pics of the other dogs. I will post a pic of Max on my blog so that you can see him when you visit. Have a great day! Nicole

Mrs. G said...

I'm glad you have Sam & The Girls to visit with when you miss your Tara :)

Sam looks like a big ol' sweetie...I wish I could give him a Squeeze!

The Decorated House said...

Your Tara was such a sweetheart. And of course I love that pic of her backyard. Now that other cute black dog or the golden would be very tempting. But no more dogs for me. I can't take going through losing one again. But at least we can treasure our memories of them.
Donna

SarahWhite said...

Rhoda...I went to a yard sale at those little doxie's house last year, maybe 2 years ago? They were just tiny squishy munchkins...but I've never forgotton them. Talked about them for weeks afterwards to my family. And the golden...I've seen him before too. Funny. I seem to remember dogs from neighborhoods. Seriously...you need a dog. How about a shedless Yorkie? And yes...your Tara was precious. :)

Lallee said...

Rhoda, Tara was a beautiful dog. Our pets just never live long enough, do they? I'm glad to see you have some cute, friendly, and stylish fur friends in Alabama.

Mary said...

You should continue enjoying your neighbors' pets Rhoda, especially with allergies! Your little Tara was lovely and you gave her a wonderful home for a long time - her life would not have been the same without you loving & caring for her all that time.

We had our cat for 21 years and lived in a constant state of vacuuming and carpet cleaning, especially in the later years. I dislike it when you walk into a house and can smell animals - and no matter how clean one is you always can! Also the fur thing was awful (Tiny was a long haired Maine Coon)and my black pants were always a mess. So, no more animals for us - especially as we travel often and it's so hard to leave them.

ang baylis said...

Hi~
I found your blog through another blog and I'm glad I stopped by to read this!

Oh my... We had to put our Golden Retriever down a couple of years ago and it was definitely one of the most difficult days! I was just telling my husband THIS MORNING (who is a Veterinarian) that I think I am almost ready for another one! I LOVE Golden Retrievers and your post made me want another one now!
We are recent empty nesters and have sort of enjoyed the freedom we have now, but something is still "missing" in our home without Emmie.

Thanks for sharing these sweet memories!
I think for now I will find a friend's dog to play with!

-Angie

willzmom said...

I know what you mean. We lost our sweet golden retriever after about 11 years and I said then I would never get another dog, it hurt SO bad. Then I had a baby and we were petless until last year when he told me he wanted a dog. We now have Rex, a mixed breed who is all kinds of crazy, but he's a sweet boy and once again I'm HOOKED! Enjoy the dog next door-it's just like being a grandparent or aunt-love them and then they go home!haha

Felicia said...

Thank you so much for honoring Tara by sharing her story with us. She was lucky to have you in her life. I enjoyed meeting your neighborhood dogs as well :)

Naturegirl said...

I truly felt your emotion as you wrote about your ~Tara~ ..our fur friends are always in our hearts even though they have passed on.

I have recently lost one of my babies
but relize it was Freddis' time. I am blessed to have my two girls with me Paisley and Babie and you have all those neighbourhood buds to pet and play with! Beatuiful post! hugs NG

Gretchen said...

I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your furrbaby. Nothing can ever replace the unconditional love they give. Do you know about the Rainbow Bridge?

I would never suggest getting a new one. Sometimes, when you lose one, there could be no replacement.

I just lost my beloved Adonis two weeks ago. He was my best friend. I can't even look at his photo without crying. I miss him more than I can ever say.

Allison said...

Your dog was so cute! It's wonderful that you had so much time with her. We've had our pets a very long time as well, and I know it will be very tough when their time comes. It's nice though that you have neighbor dogs to visit and give love to. I understand about not wanting to commit again for a while. Tara sounds like a real sweetie and it's hard to think of having another one that would be different.

allie
www.mycozyhome.typepad.com

Sadie Olive said...

It always breaks my heart to hear about animals who have passed. :( I can imagine how hard a loss it must be. I have a cat that I have had for 12 years now, and I am so scared of the day I lose her.

As long as you get your puppy love in somewhere, that's all that matters. :)